Travel rules for flying in the UK: How to stay safe from coronavirus in the air and at the airport

After almost two years of restrictions and what seems like a never-ending lockdown, things are finally starting to look up.

The thought of packing a suitcase and travelling to the airport to catch some sun is one which I’m sure we all crave. However if you’re jetting off this year, being surrounded by strangers in a confined space for hours might seem like a scary idea.

Coming into contact with shared facilities, such as the toilets, could mean you risk catching and spreading the virus through touching a contaminated surface, but in a bid to reassure worried passengers, airlines have introduced safety protocols to ensure the risk of contracting covid remains a low risk.

Some of these protocols include social distancing, reducing food and drink services and ensuring face coverings are worn on board. In addition to these, some airports have also implemented touch-free check in and body temperature cameras.

To help, we’ve gathered the best tips from ‘Which?’ to ensure you can relax whilst going on holiday.

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Choose an airline whose coronavirus protocols you trust


Health and safety protocols will vary depending on which airline you fly with.

‘Which?’ reports that Ryanair won’t automatically seat you with your household, unless you pay for pre-selected seats. This is despite EU Covid-19 guidance calling on airlines to limit passengers’ contact with strangers and modify the seat allocation process accordingly.

Ryanair denied any suggestion that it has intentionally split up groups travelling together, stating that its seating policy ‘remains unchanged’ during the pandemic.

So if you are able to select a seat, it’s said that you should choose one by the window as it attracts less germs than the aisle seat, which people touch as they walk past or when getting in and out of their seat row.


The government is advising passengers to check as much luggage into the hold as possible in order to limit movement within the cabin. Ryanair, however, is encouraging customers to bring carry-on bags.

A spokesperson for Ryanair said hold luggage would ‘significantly increase the risk of COVID-19 ’ as it has to pass through eight different sets of hands, from check-in to the boarding gate.

Before booking, please check your airlines rules before you book.

Take your own cleaning products

It’s been reported that Ryanair are relying on just one clean per day as the chemicals they use are said to provide 24 hours of protection.

However virologist at University College London, Greg Towers, says: “More cleaning equals less risk. I don’t know what cleaning Ryanair is doing, but I doubt there’s a way of preventing the virus getting on door handles or killing it with some previous cleaning protocol”.

Due to situations such as this, Dr Wilson-Howarth advises carrying alcohol wipes to clean the tray table and high-risk areas including the toilet door handle.

And just in case the hand sanitiser dispensers aren’t contactless, it’s also best to bring your own.

Temperature checks

While some airports are trialling body temperature cameras to screen people as they move through the airport, the EASA has warned there’s little evidence of their effectiveness.

According to the Office for National Statistics, up to 80% of people who test positive for coronavirus don’t display symptoms meaning their temperature may read as normal despite having the virus.

For the 20% that aren’t asymptomatic, it can take between four and seven days to develop a fever after exposure. Therefore, these trials are reportedly no longer continuing.

Still, there’s no harm in checking your own temperature just in case you do have a fever as if you do, you may be denied boarding. ‘Which?’ recommend taking out comprehensive travel insurance to protect against this scenario.

Switch on the overhead fan

Airlines’ hospital-grade high-efficiency particulate air filtration systems (HEPA) on planes is said to remove 99.9% of impurities, including bacteria and viruses, renewing cabin air every two to three minutes.

Professor Sally Bloomfield, at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, suggests switching on the overhead fan as it can enables you to breathe air directly from above rather than that of the people seated around you, thus reducing the risk of catching the airborne virus.

Travel at quieter times – if possible

If you’re flexible, it’s best to fly at the quieter times as there will obviously be less people and therefore a lower risk.

Flights are normally at their quietest on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Other options are to travel very early in the morning or late at night when flights are often not so full.

Wear a mask over your nose and mouth – and bring spares

Those with certain medical conditions are exempt as well as children though the cut-off age varies by airline.

When you bring your own covering, bear in mind that European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control advises that medical masks should be worn when a minimum distance of 1.5 metres from others can’t be guaranteed.

According to WHO, you should not use the mask when it becomes damp, nor should you reuse it.

Throw it away immediately when you remove it to eat or drink and replace with a fresh one afterwards. Additionally, make sure they cover the face from the bridge of the nose to the chin.

A mask which does not fit correctly can result in the person constantly touching their mask and face to fix it – potentially leading to an increase in transmission.


Please check whether the country you’re flying to requires a certain type of mask for entry as its being reported that passengers are being denied boarding for not having the correct face mask.

Travelers entering Italy, for example, are required to wear a surgical or FFP2 mask. This information can be hard to find online so before flying, check with your airline or pack several different types of mask, including a surgical or FFP2 mask, so that you’re covered.

Avoid touching everything

According to The New England Journal of Medicine, coronavirus can live on stainless steel and plastic surfaces for up to 72 hours.

Measures are already in place to make airports as touch-free as possible with passengers being asked to self-scan passports and use ‘bag drop’ and eGate facilities to keep contact to a minimum.

To keep the new system as stress-free as possible, it may be worth downloading the airline app before you travel as it means you can check in online and download your boarding pass to your phone.

A great tip is also to download newspapers, books and magazines to read rather than buying them in airport shops and bring your own empty refillable water bottle which you can fill it up once you’ve past security.

GP and travel health writer, Dr Jane Wilson-Howarth, warns that airport ATMs are likely to be a ‘highly contaminated’ surface and recommends that you bring enough cash for your journey and use contactless payment where possible.

What are the high-risk contamination zones at the airport?

  • ATM Machine
  • Passport check-in desk
  • Shop payment terminal
  • Children’s play area
  • Staircase rails
  • Security check tray area

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Louisville airport seeing longer lines as travel increases | News

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — As more people fill the Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport for summer travel, more time needs to be set aside to make those plane flights.

In recent weeks, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoint lines have been backed up to the escalators.

The airport is already at 90% of its attendance in 2019, which was a record-breaking year. Lines develop at the ticket counters and rental car locations, where prices have also increased.

Airport officials said travelers won’t be able to show up and rush to a gate, recommending flyers arrive around two hours early.

“If you’ve traveled in the last year, you were able to pull into the front spot and go. That’s not going to happen necessarily right now,” said Natalie Chaudoin, director of public relations for the airport. “That makes it all the more important that people give themselves plenty of time to get to the airport and once they are there to get checked through security and to their gate.”

The addition of Spirit and Breeze airlines has increased the amount of travelers at the airport.

Chaudoin recommends flyers download airlines’ apps for notifications on delays.

Travelers are eager to take trips with an increasing amount of destinations offered in Louisville.

“I can’t wait to get out of Louisville to have a little R&R (rest and relaxation),” said Sheila Slum, who was traveling to Texas on Monday. “I don’t care if it’s just sitting watching a river go by and having a drink. I don’t care.”

Copyright 2021 WDRB Media. All Rights Reserved.

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business trip

Star Alliance, SITA, NEC Unite to Expand Airport Biometric Tech

The Star Alliance has signed an agreement with airline IT provider SITA and technology firm NEC Corp. to expand the use of airport biometric processing technology.

With the agreement, frequent-flyer program members of any Star Alliance airline eventually will be able to access biometric touchpoints at participating airports. SITA’s Smart Path system currently is available in more than 460 airports around the world, and adding NEC to the partnership means they can work on biometric projects together. For example, NEC could integrate its NEC I:Delight platform, which is able to recognize travelers even if they are wearing masks.

“We can scale and extend this solution far beyond our original estimation to a number of other participating airports and airlines,” NEC SVP and chief experience officer Raffie Beroukhim said in a video announcement of the agreement.

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Tampa International Airport rebounding quickly with summer travel

Leisure travel is booming at Tampa International Airport as airlines announce new routes and increase the number of departures.

“I haven’t seen anything like this in the 8 years that I’ve been at the airport, this many announcements in such a short period of time,” said Emily Nipps, a spokesperson for TPA.

The airport announced a brand new route last week; Alaska Airlines to Portland. American Airlines also announced new routes to Los Angeles, Nashville, and Raleigh-Durham, along with brand new Breeze Airways starting up flights to Norfolk, VA.

“We’re definitely seeing a big boom and it really says a lot about the Tampa Bay region and how desirable it is to visit here, we’re seeing people that are moving here after the pandemic and that’s really what we’re seeing right now with the airline routes,” Nipps said.

The days of airports looking like ghost towns because of the pandemic are over.

“We are telling people to make sure that they get to the airport two hours early, that sounds very early for Tampa International Airport but right now we are seeing unusual peaks in the day where people are having a hard time getting through TSA checkpoints quickly and people are actually missing flights,” Nipps said.

After being pushed back several times because of the pandemic, international routes are making their return. Flights from TPA to London and Zurich are supposed to begin in the first half of July. Then Lufthansa’s flight to Frankfurt is scheduled to return at the end of September.  Airport managers say there is a big economic benefit to our region when the flights to and from Europe are in service.

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Travel Rebound: 2 Million People Pass US Airport | Chicago News

In this May 28, 2021 file photo, travelers are waiting for their luggage at the Baggage Carousel at Miami International Airport in Miami. (AP Photo / Wilfredo Lee, File)

Dallas (AP) — The aviation industry’s recovery from a pandemic has gone through a milestone as more than two million people passed the US airport security checkpoint on Friday for the first time since early March 2020.

The Transportation Security Administration announced on Saturday that 2.03 million travelers were screened at airport checkpoints on Friday. It is the first time in 15 months that the number of security screenings has exceeded 2 million in one day.

Airlines bookings have increased since around February as more Americans have been vaccinated against COVID-19 and travel restrictions such as forced quarantine have begun to be relaxed, at least in the United States.

Recovery is not complete. According to the TSA, Friday’s congestion was only 74% of the volume compared to the same day in 2019. However, according to TSA, 2.03 million travelers were 1.5 million more than on the same day last year.

The 2 million mark represents a significant turnaround for the travel industry, which was hit by the pandemic. In April 2020, less than 100,000 people boarded a plane in the United States, and Boeing’s CEO predicted that at least one major US airline would go bankrupt.

Most airlines are still losing money. Southwest Airlines had a modest first-quarter profit, thanks to its $ 64 billion share of the federal pandemic bailout to the industry, but other companies are expected to follow suit later this year.

The fear of large-scale layoffs has increased. United Airlines, which lost $ 7 billion last fall and threatened to dismiss 13,000 workers, told employees this week that it would be safe to work without federal funding in October.

This is because airlines like United are willing to save the peak summer season. Overseas travel and business trips are still in serious decline, according to airline officials, but domestic leisure travel is almost back to pre-pandemic levels.

The airline plans to bring employees back from voluntary leave and hire a few pilots and other workers later this year.

Hotel operators say they saw bookings improve as vaccination rates increased.

Mike Gaslight, Hilton’s senior vice president, said the company’s hotel was 93% full on Memorial Day weekend. He said the company was “very optimistic” about the increase in leisure trips in the summer and business trips this fall.

“Vaccine distribution, relaxation of travel restrictions, consumer confidence, all of which drive our business occupancy and improvement,” says Gaslight.

Prior to the pandemic, TSA screened an average of 2 to 2.5 million travelers per day. The lowest amount of screening during the pandemic was on April 13, 2020, when only 87,534 people were screened at the airport security checkpoint.

By mid-last month, the average daily amount of TSA screening was about 65% of pre-pandemic levels.

As the summer travel season approaches, the TSA expects the number of travelers to approach and in some cases exceeds pre-pandemic levels at certain airports, so there is enough time to accommodate the increased screening time at the airport. We advise passengers to arrive at.

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TSA at Southwest Florida International Airport is ready for increasing passenger volumes | News, Sports, Jobs

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is ready for the continued surge in travelers at Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) and across the country. Acrylic barriers and upgraded technology now reduce or eliminate physical contact between passengers and TSA staff.

But as you prepare to fly after what could be a year or more for many, the TSA offers serious tips for navigating the airport checkpoint. The first is to arrive early, two hours early. Remember that the doors to your plane are shut 15 to 20 minutes before the posted flight time and you might arrive just when there is a crowd to check a bag or go through security. TSA staff are screening record numbers of passengers at RSW, even higher than before the start of the pandemic

“The health and safety of our work force and the traveling public  remain our  critical  mission,” said  Robert McLaughlin, who took over as the Federal Security  Director  with the  Transportation Security Administration  at RSW after returning from a five-year TSA assignment in North Africa and the Middle East. “I am impressed with the professionalism of our TSA employees and the remarkable teamwork with Lee County Port Authority and the Lee County Port Authority Police.”

The TSA has installed the latest checkpoint technology – CT 300s – as well as CATs or credential authentication technology, both of which reduce touchpoints. The CTs or computed tomography equipment uses complex algorithms to search for threats, allows TSA officers to rotate the images, and therefore reduces the need to open bags. Passengers screened in the lanes with this new equipment do not need to remove their 3-1-1 bag or their electronics.

In the lanes with CAT machines, passengers are separated from TSA officers by acrylic barriers and can insert their own ID or passport. Boarding passes are not needed in those lanes. The equipment verifies passengers’ identity and confirms in real time that they are flying that day.

Face masks for both employees and passengers are required throughout all domestic transportation modes, including airport security screening checkpoints and throughout the airport. Since the implementation of the federal face mask mandate for travelers on February 2nd and the subsequent extension into September, masks are required regardless of any local or state easing of restrictions. Those who refuse to wear a mask face fines from the TSA and from the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) if the infraction occurs while flying. The TSA continues to work closely with all transportation partners to enable the highest security standards within a travel environment that helps reduce the spread of COVID-19. 

Travelers should follow these six tips for getting through the TSA checkpoint as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Tip 1: Wear a face mask. You must. Face masks must be worn in the airport, on the plane and on all public conveyances and at stations, ports, or similar transportation hubs regardless of state and local laws. 

Tip 2: Leave prohibited items at home. To reduce the likelihood of physical contact with TSA officers at the checkpoint, verify if items are prohibited by using the “What Can I Bring?” page on Also empty your pockets of your wallet, coins, phone and other permitted items into your own carry-on, not into the trays in the checkpoint. That will reduce touchpoints as well.

Tip 3: Prepare for the security checkpoint. Have a valid ID card readily available. Follow the liquids rule of 3.4 ounces or less, with the exception of hand sanitizer, which has a temporary 12-ounce limit in carry-on baggage.

Tip 4: No guns at checkpoints ever. Airline passengers can fly with firearms only in checked baggage. All firearms must be properly packed and declared at check-in. Contact your airline for additional guidance.  And know what the laws are on both sides of your trip.

Tip 5: Help is always available. Get live assistance by tweeting your questions and comments to @AskTSA or via Facebook Messenger, weekdays from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. EST and weekends/holidays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. EST. You can also call the TSA Contact Center at 866-289-9673.

Tip 6: Enroll now in TSA PreCheck. “Travel with Ease” by enrolling in TSA PreCheck and avoid removing shoes, belts, liquids, food, laptops and light jackets. Most new enrollees receive a known traveler number within five days, and membership lasts for five years.   

TSA is committed to supporting a healthy and secure environment for our employees, airport personnel and airline passengers. For additional information about TSA procedures during COVID-19 as part of our “Stay Healthy. Stay Secure” campaign, visit

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Muhammad Ali International Airport sees increase in passengers

Across the country, travel capacity is about 75% with several airports still working to fully prepare for the uptick in travelers.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Travel capacity is reaching 2019 numbers in Kentuckiana and officials at the Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport are projecting a bright future.

Across the country, travel capacity is about 75% with several airports still working to fully prepare for the up-tick in travelers.

“I think we’re going to go through a little bit of an awakening as we work to bring the system back up to full capacity,” said Reed Yadon, aviation expert and WHAS11 meteorologist.

Yadon is an aviation expert and said the pandemics effect on air travel is worse than 9/11.

“The system has been shut down for well over a year now and bringing this big travel industry back to full capacity again in rapid fashion is going to put some strain on it. There’s no doubt about it,” Yadon said.

TSA reported this month there will be staffing shortages in 131 of the country’s largest airports. Although SDF has not seen a shortage in TSA workers they are still hiring and looking to fill positions throughout the airport.

Airport officials recommend arriving at the airport 1.5 hrs. before your flight due to traffic.

Other things you need to keep in mind:

  • Charge your phone and electronics
  • Check-in early, if possible, online or in person
  • Make sure items in your carry-on bag abide by TSA rules
  • Bring snacks—as some food areas within airports are not open
  • Some airlines and airports are requiring masks
  • Be patient

“Just everybody give and take a little bit. I think it’s going to take a lot of that. Just be courteous and remember ‘Thank you’ goes along way,” Yadon said.

►Make it easy to keep up-to-date with more stories like this. Download the WHAS11 News app now. For Apple or Android users. 

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Richmond International Airport prepares for increase in summer travel

“When the pandemic hit, when we saw that 300 or so passengers, that was devastating to us,” Miller said. “We’ve seen an increase now to about a high of 5,000 passengers a day. A little bit different from what we’re accustomed to seeing, but definitely some increase.”

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