What To Expect Flying Into Spain During The COVID-19 Pandemic

Many countries have implemented special procedures for arriving passengers as a result of the current COVID-19 pandemic. Spain is no exception, as the nation has launched an online system to track health declarations of those arriving in the country from abroad.

Spain, Health Declaration, International Arrivals
What exactly is the process for flying to Spain during the COVID-19 pandemic? Photo: Aena

A year ago, the last thing you’d think about when traveling was likely whether or not it was necessary to fill out a health declaration. However, in the post-pandemic world, such forms have become routine as authorities aim to contain imported cases of the sometimes deadly virus. We previously touched on the process of entering the United Kingdom.

Before travel

Before traveling to Spain, passengers are required to complete an online health declaration. The form can be started at any time. However, questions specific to COVID-19 can only be answered within 48 hours of your travel time.

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The form covers many generic things, such as the passenger’s identity, where you are traveling from, and where you will stay once you have arrived in Spain. As mentioned, there is a separate section where passengers are asked to confirm that to their knowledge that they are not at risk of having COVID-19.

While the government’s website states that forms can be started at any time, Simple Flying was unable to add the COVID-19 answers to the form within 48 hours of travel. As such, it was necessary to start the form from scratch.

Spain, Health Declaration, International Arrivals
Completing the form produces a QR code. Photo: Simple Flying

Arrival in Spain

In this specific instance, Simple Flying flew to Bilbao, a smaller regional airport on the north coast of Spain. Our flight had originated within the Schengen zone. However, the aircraft arrived at a non-Schengen gate.

This was to contain passengers upon arrival. No ID check was required, as is frequently the case when traveling within Schengen. However, we were required to present a QR code generated on completion of the form mentioned earlier. Paper forms were available for those who hadn’t completed them in advance.

Unfortunately, two flights from outside Spain arrived at once, with minimal processing capacity. As such, we were held in a compact line at a boarding gate for some 10-20 minutes as one of the last off of the second flight to arrive.

Spain, Health Declaration, International Arrivals
The capacity to process all the arrivals was limited. Photo: Aena

Once you reach the front of the queue, you hand your QR code to be scanned and retained before proceeding onwards to a temperature check. Passengers are guided to walk down a specific corridor painted on the floor, and should not be too close to those in front or behind. While airport authorities were checking that the forms had been completed correctly, the temperature check was being monitored by nurses.

Once you have passed the temperature check, you are free to continue your journey onwards with no further checks.

Have you flown into Spain since the QR code system was brought in? How did you find the process? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!