Flying in the New Normal I: British Airways Short-Haul

By Valery Collins | August 4, 2020

When British Airways (BA) announced they would start operating scheduled flights in July 2020 I booked a flight to Verona in Italy.  Then, on June 8, the UK government imposed a two-week quarantine on all arrivals in the UK.  This prompted a legal challenge from British Airways.  On July 10 a list of 75 quarantine-free destinations was published and international travel was a reality.

A Constantly Changing Situation

Check-in Area in Terminal 5 at London Heathrow | © Valery Collins

BA cancelled my first flight.  I rebooked Gatwick to Verona but it was changed and I departed from Heathrow.  But the BA website is very easy to use and I was able to re-organise my trip.  I had booked the inbound and outbound flights separately.  When BA cancelled my outbound flight they did not cancel my inbound flight.  Rather than wait and see I changed it – just £20 thanks to their flexible re-booking policy.

The list of quarantine-free countries is not definitive and Spain and Luxembourg are no longer on this list.  But five other countries have been added.  Anyone returning from Spain and Luxembourg now has to quarantine for two weeks.  Although a reduction of this period to 10 days is under consideration.

Border Restrictions at Destinations Still Apply

Boarding Gate in Terminal 5 at London Heathrow | © Valery Collins

The UK government abandoned the creation of air bridges – a reciprocal agreement allowing the citizens of two countries to travel between them without restrictions.  Travellers should check this before booking.  The BA website detailed the restrictions for my flight to Italy.    These are a temperature check before checking in, a health declaration form to sign and hand in at the boarding gate, and one very small item of hand luggage.  It had to fit under the seat in front as the overhead lockers were out of use. A restriction imposed by the Italian government.  This did not apply to Club Class passengers.

COVID-19 Safeguards on BA Flights

Face coverings are mandatory on all BA flights throughout the journey except when a passenger is eating or drinking.  BA have suspended their onboard trolley service.   Instead they are offering their passengers complimentary soft drinks and small snacks.   Club Class passengers are given a boxed meal.  This is to reduce interaction between passengers and cabin crew.

Passengers should remain in their seats throughout the flight and must not queue for the toilet.  BA is now flying at full capacity and utilizing the middle seats.

Terminal 5 at London Heathrow | © Valery Collins

Returning to the UK

All arrivals in the UK must complete an online form within 48 hours of starting a journey.  This includes passengers returning from destinations on the quarantine-free list.  Failure to complete the online Public Health Passenger Locator Form is punishable by a fine of up to £100.  But, we can travel now.

Keen to find out more about flying in the “New Normal?” – Travel Radar will be releasing regular Trip Reviews as services resume! Let us know your thoughts and own experiences below in the comments!

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