NEWS: US removes 14 day quarantine, BA A380 routes, More countries likely to be on quarantine list, Where are Virgin flying?

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US removes 14-day quarantine for travellers

Travellers from the UK are still not able to enter the US if they have spent any time in the last 14 days in Europe or the UK. The irony of this when the US has a far, far worse rate of infection than the UK appears to be completely lost on them. I know many readers will not want to visit the US right now, but for those with family there or that have a trip booked for later on, they may be wondering if we will ever be allowed back. The US has quietly been removing travel restrictions which gives a glimmer of hope to those looking to travel. First, they removed the blanket ban on travel abroad for Americans (let’s face it they are safer out of the country in most places!).  Now they have removed the requirement to quarantine when entering the USA. To be fair it was a bit of a farce anyway since it wasn’t actually enforced. It is however a step in the right direction towards reopening the borders in a controlled way.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) previously recommended travellers quarantine for 14 days after visiting overseas destinations but that changed last week.


BA A380 routes

Last week I wrote about BA continuing to service their A380s which would suggest they are not planning to retire them just yet. BA has this week filed more routes with the A380 for winter 20/21. 

The planned A380 routes now are:

London Heathrow – Johannesburg 1 daily
London Heathrow – Los Angeles 1 daily
London Heathrow – Miami 1 daily
London Heathrow – San Francisco eff 01FEB21 1 daily

Obviously nothing is certain as a lot will depend on the demand for travel returning by the time these are due to start.

HT: Routes online


More countries likely to be on quarantine list this week

Booking a holiday is something of a lottery at the moment. As I have said, I am keeping my plans very fluid with several backups in mind or even booked. One of the countries I have been keeping a close eye on is Switzerland. At the beginning of the pandemic, Switzerland did pretty well and got COVID under control quickly and normal life began to resume. Sadly it probably resumed a bit too much since nightclubs were open and people were commenting that you would not know that there had been a pandemic there in many respects. 

I had a trip booked to Switzerland in two weeks’ time and as the media begin to speculate that Switzerland is about to go off the FCO and travel corridor lists, BA has today cancelled my flight. My guess would be this is not a coincidence. 

Previously I wrote about how to spot which country may be next off the list for safe travel. The government appears to be using two methods – the 7 and 14-day cases per 100,000. I had been monitoring Swizterland on this site for its 7-day rate and although it has only been rising gradually, today it went well over the nominal 20 cases per 100,000 where they normally take action. The next most likely candidate is the Czech Republic though this is not yet over the threshold. Although Italy has seen a rise in cases in the recent few days, it is still nowhere near the 20 limit (currently at 9 vs the UK on 11 on the source I am using).


Where are Virgin flying in September and October?


Virgin are gradually expanding their list of routes for September and October 2020. Some of these are still speculative as they involve what is known as a non “gateway” airport for the US. Only certain airports are allowed to accept international flights in the US. Personally I am surprised they are not offering more Caribbean flights since there are still a number of islands that are on the UK travel corridor list and have stable cases. Currently, they are due to restart their other Caribbean flights in the winter schedule which starts on 25 October. These include Antigua, Grenada, Havana, and Tobago. Obviously it will depend on what travel restrictions are in place at either end which will affect the demand. 

London Heathrow – Atlanta eff 15SEP20 3 weekly 787-9 (4 weekly from 11OCT20)
London Heathrow – Bridgetown 1 weekly 787-9 (3 weekly from 13OCT20)
London Heathrow – Delhi 3 weekly 787-9 (4 weekly from 01OCT20)
London Heathrow – Hong Kong 3 weekly 787-9 (4 weekly from 18OCT20)
London Heathrow – Johannesburg eff 17OCT20 1 daily 787-9
London Heathrow – Lagos eff 24SEP20 4 weekly A350-1000XWB
London Heathrow – Los Angeles 1 daily 787-9/A350-1000XWB
London Heathrow – Miami 3 weekly 787-9 (2 weekly 01OCT20 – 17OCT20)
London Heathrow – Montego Bay eff 02OCT20 2 weekly 787-9
London Heathrow – Mumbai eff 16SEP20 4 weekly 787-9
London Heathrow – New York JFK 10 weekly 787-9/A350-1000XWB (14 weekly from 19SEP20, 17 weekly from 26SEP20, 21 weekly from 12OCT20)
London Heathrow – Orlando eff 06OCT20 4 weekly 787-9
London Heathrow – Shanghai Pu Dong 2 weekly 787-9
London Heathrow – Tel Aviv eff 06SEP20 3 weekly 787-9 (4 weekly from 01OCT20, 1 daily from 12OCT20)
Manchester – Orlando eff 06OCT20 4 weekly 787-9

HT: Routes online

14 Comments on "NEWS: US removes 14 day quarantine, BA A380 routes, More countries likely to be on quarantine list, Where are Virgin flying?"

  1. The UK itself is now at 22.5 per 100,000 which is above our own cut-off but nevertheless at the lower end compared to many other countries in Europe. It is possible however that if rates continue to rise we might be required to quarantine when visiting lower infection countries such as Italy.

    Ironically, Ireland has a higher rate of infection than the UK but although visitors from Great are required to quarantine on arrival this has not as yet been reciprocated.

    • I agree that it is wrong to say that countries at 20 should be off the list when the government originally said the air corridors would be for countries at similar or lower levels as the UK which Switzerland would qualify as! Ireland is also very odd to give quarantine to a country that is better than they are now! At the end of the day 20 per 100,000 is a pretty low rate. Only 0.02% of a population have it. 99.98% covid free feels pretty safe statistically.

  2. We (living near Zürich) wanted to visit London beginning of September…
    LX is using A330’s for one connection ZRH – LHR on the weekend and we could even have gotten First seats (with Business service of course). I did not book it in the end.
    I was following the numbers as well and Switzerland just hit the same level Austria did before it was removed.
    Crazy times.

    • Such a shame when they did so well at the beginning. It is interesting that most of the countries that have had a resurgence have reopened nightclubs. The UK has not. Although cases have risen a little here they are believed to be fairly stable now.

  3. I find this blog extremely helpful since COVID-19 hit. It helped me plan my two holidays in July and August and I am looking forward to using your information to book somewhere (probably Portugal) for September. Keep up the good work!

  4. I really can’t validate the information of the removal of the 14 day quarantine for travels to the US. I checked official embassy pages. Where can you read on that please?

  5. David Ovenstone | 25 August 2020 at 11:27 am |

    As Switzerland is already on the Scottish quarantine list as of last week, the UK seems likely to follow.

  6. Sandra Laing | 25 August 2020 at 4:38 pm |

    Whats happening in Sweden. My hotel’s wont refund as they Sweden is open for business. However the amount of times BA have changed my flights in 3 weeks time I’m doubtful about going.

  7. Curious Forge | 26 August 2020 at 10:23 am |

    I’m baffled. Who is it that’s flying between the UK and USA when those of us from Europe (apart from those with US citizenship and one of a handful of very specific visas or reasons) are, as far as this article and I know, are still, effectively, banned ? Yet, the main airlines seem to be running (indeed promoting even) the routes ?

    Up until recently the US Govt was actively discouraging its own from flying USA to Europe, so those flights running through April/May, I presumed, were about bringing Americans home. Okay, a few diplomats and those on essential business would’ve needed flights in between, but I saw three United tails at LHR T2 gates recently and while in FRA a few weeks’ ago I saw at least four or five United flights going to their main hub locations ! That’s a lot of (potentially) essential people !

    Up until the shutdown we used to fly UK to USA (and back) quite often. One of us had some (non-essential in International terms, but essential enough in terms of one’s job) work things over there and we tended to also go for anything from a few days’ break to a week or two as vacation trips. But since the drawbridge went up in March, all that was, we thought, denied. Probably until 2021.

    No one needs to ‘corrupt’ themselves here, but if someone could, as subtly as they feel comfortable with, indicate how one gets onto these flights and more importantly how one gets through border control at the other end ! (I’d presumed, maybe wrongly, that you’d have to prove you’d been 14 days outside of Europe before getting the manifest clear to get your seat on the ‘plane. Or something like that. US Border Control is usually, rightly, pretty strict) But there’s clearly been a lot of traffic back and forth since March. Virgin Atlantic (the clue’s in the second part of their name) once again seem to be offering flights to the US (and I tend to see them more as a leisure carrier). I feel like there’s something we’re (but maybe not others ?) missing here !

    For the record, as Brits, we were in the US in late March and flew back a while after the US imposed their ban on entry for Europeans. Despite passing thru’ NYC (at the time seriously in the throes of awful infection rates) and having been elsewhere in the US before, no one at either end questioned us, temp checked us or (then) even required us to mask up. Then grounded for 4 months or so in between, we took a trip to Germany a few weeks ago and found Heathrow eerily quiet, yet Frankfurt near normally busy. Got to say Germany, at the time, felt safer than here. While there we were offered a free Covid test at the airport even. ALL the hand gel dispensers worked, everywhere we went. Everyone wore masks.

    Returning here we found no questions asked (but the flight in was from ‘green’ Germany), many empty anti-bac dispensers in the terminal (just as end of March), media items last week on a very impressive looking testing facility ready to go at LHR, but only further media reports on Switzerland and potentially others going onto 14 day quarantine. Seemingly no apparent ‘interest’ from the Government in testing as an alternative (so far) and only (I may have missed others) Portugal coming ‘off’ the list.

    I hope I’m not being political, or dismissing the seriousness of Covid’s impact on so many’s well-being. But am I right to be thinking there’s something else going on here, under the ‘official’ veneer ? I’d be interested to know !!


    • The US relaxed the rules for Europe a few weeks ago so now most but not all Visa holders can enter the US from Europe. This is mainly for business purposes. Also Americans are allowed in some European countries such as Croatia and the U.K. so a lot of the traffic will be coming from the US. The only way round it without a visa is to visit a non banned country such as Mexico first for 14 days and then you can enter the US. It’s not down to passport but where you have come from or visited

      • Curious Forge | 26 August 2020 at 6:47 pm |

        Thank you very much for the reply Michele.

        The Visa restriction still looks pretty restricted (H1-B is a common, specialist in your field, temporary work permit for example. Might be applicable for a shorter term business employment in the US. It’s not on the 25th August revised list. That still looks pretty….restricted !)

        I see what you mean about 14 day’s pre-entry quarantine in Mexico – I’ve heard others discuss this – but then again the traveller would need to do another 14 days once re-entering the UK. For some this might work, but the typical leisure traveller (and most work travellers I can think of) this option seems mostly unfeasible. It’s a ‘lost month’ (although remote working might be possible in Mexico and of course once back here, each end, but the hotel costs would be steep for the 2 weeks in Cancun ! Maybe not……
        So it made me wonder whether Virgin know something I don’t, starting LHR-MCO in October ? Not a lot of diplomats or NATO employees in central Florida. Granted they might welcome medical help with additional Covid specialists though !

        I guess the answer to most travel restriction problems would/will be alleviated by testing. Once we get confidence in that it won’t matter so much where you’ve been, just what your current infection status is. Yet I read today that Germany’s thinking of cutting back its free at the airport service since it’s clogging up the labs ! And, almost a week on, I’ve not heard anything positive about the Collinson/Swissport/LHR initiative. Menawhile, Gatwick’s letting 600 people go……….!

        • I think Virgin are gambling on a US government change. However that doesn’t mean they won’t still cancel it. Signs are US government is softening its approach but I doubt many people will be tempted to go even if it is allowed.

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