In the wake of the coronavirus lockdown, the travel industry has had to rapidly enforce new rules which are likely to transform the holiday experience. While many of these are related to things such as inflight service and new methods of checking-in, others put the responsibility into the hands of the passenger.
This means that passengers must plan ahead, and ensure they have packed certain must-haves.
In many cases, failure to bring certain items could result in passengers being turned away from their flight.
“Obviously, the number one thing that travellers need to pack these days is a face mask,” Alana Gomez, spokesperson for flight-comparison site www.jetcost.co.uk told Express.co.uk.
Most UK airlines are now enforcing the mandatory use of face masks while on board. Some are also including very specific rules such as the type of mask that is allowed, or how frequently it is changed.
For example, budget carrier Jet2 states: “Face masks need to cover your mouth and nose and should be either a protective or medical-style mask, or a fitted face covering.
“Coverings such as scarves, snoods, balaclavas or any similar items aren’t acceptable for travel.”
Meanwhile, British Airways says passengers must bring enough masks to change them “every four hours”.
Across the board, failure to do so could mean airlines turn travellers away at the gate.
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However, as Alana points out, it isn’t just onboard the flight that masks are so crucial.
“Whether it’s one re-usable one or several surgical masks, this is absolutely essential, not only as you will be required to wear them on the plane but also there may be local laws in place that means you have to put your mask on wherever you travel to, such as when at resort buffets or within shops around the local town,” she said.
Along with face masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19, a huge focus is being drawn to hand hygiene.
Though soap and water is the recommended way to wash off germs, this may not always be to hand when travelling.
“You will also want to take some hand sanitiser,” advises Alana.
However, when it comes to travel, keeping this on your person comes with some other implications.
“Bear in mind it will have to be less than 100ml if taken in hand luggage,” the expert warns.
Disinfecting wipes and tissues are also recommended for wiping surfaces both on the plane and at your destination, such as in the hotel.
Yet, when it comes to the new rules, it isn’t just about packing that holidaymakers need to take into consideration ahead of travel.
“One of the main things in the travel experience that will change is that things may take a little longer, but it’s important to remain patient as everything being done is in the name of safety,” said Alana.
This is why passengers must ensure they leave a little extra time than normal for the airport experience.
“Expect to have your temperature taken at some point, and be asked to wear a mask for the duration of your journey, including inside the airport,” she continued.
“Upon arrival in a foreign country, you may be asked to take a COVID-19 test or have your temperature checked once more.
“On your return, you will be required to fill out a Passenger Locator Form and you may find that you have to quarantine upon returning home – only a small number of countries are asking travellers to isolate upon arriving in the country.”
Rules vary from destination to destination, though, and that is why it is crucial travellers do their research before they head to the airport.
“Different nations will have different rules and regulations, so it’s absolutely vital you find out what these are before you travel,” explained Alana.
Check the government travel site frequently before your holiday as the rules are ever-changing.
Given the rapid nature in which these regulations have changed in recent weeks, with both Spain and Belgium suddenly axed from UK corridors, the expert also suggests planning for any eventuality.
“It’s important to stress that you check your destination and government information right up until the minute you travel, as the rules change more-or-less every day,” she concluded.
“It is sensible to have a plan B in case you do have to quarantine, either when you arrive or when you return; plan for the worst-case scenario!”
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