While the UK Government is today expected to reveal several air bridge exemptions to its controversial quarantine policy, those entering the UK are today still required to quarantine for 14-day after arrival. Simple Flying recently flew into the United Kingdom; here’s what we experienced.
Passengers are expected to complete an online form for the United Kingdom’s visa and immigration service. This form can only be completed in the 48 hours before a passenger’s planned arrival. On this form, passengers are required to give all sorts of details, including:
- Passport details
- Travel details
- Self-isolation details
- Details of exemptions from quarantine if they apply
Following the completion of this form, passengers are provided with a PDF version of the answers. Nowhere does it say that you need a copy of this form, but you should keep it handy for your arrival at the airport of entry to the United Kingdom.
On the aircraft
On the aircraft, no special precautions are taken that specifically refer to the United Kingdom’s quarantine requirements. However, just before we started our descent, the first officer read a script from Public Health England. This detailed the basic rules surrounding the quarantine.
It also asked passengers to contact a member of the crew should they experience any symptoms of COVID-19 on the plane. Per the UK’s rules on mask-wearing, passengers were told to wear a mask for the duration of the flight.
Arriving at Stansted
On this occasion, we were flying into London Stansted, London’s low-cost gateway. We disembarked the aircraft and walked through the rain to the terminal. As soon as we walked into the terminal building, we were met by two members of the UK border enforcement team.
Both were asking each passenger if they had filled out the UK’s quarantine form. If the answer was no, passengers were given a slip of paper with a QR code for the form mentioned above.
There was no further mention of this form until passengers arrived in the immigration hall. After walking up a set of stairs, passengers were met by two additional members of the enforcement team.
These border enforcement agents wouldn’t let passengers past without proof that the quarantine from had been filled in. Unfortunately, as we had not printed the form due to lack of instruction to do so, we needed to produce a PDF on our phones.
This involved finding the relevant email, clicking through to find your form, realizing that you needed to reset your password because the automatically generated one didn’t copy across, and finally creating the PDF. Hassle that you don’t want when arriving in London at half-past ten at night. In hindsight, it would’ve been easier to fill in the form again.
Only once evidence of the form had been produced were people able to join the queue to pass the border. The e-gates were closed, meaning that passengers had to use a manned gate.
This was the best part of the experience, as a lovely member of the border force team who double-checked the details on the form, and reminded me that I was not to leave the house before heading to the airport for my return journey. At the time of writing, we were yet to be contacted to check we were complying with the UK’s quarantine regulations.
Have you quarantined in the United Kingdom? Let us know your experience in the comments.