Blog Updated 28 October 2020: Do I need to quarantine at my final destination if I transit through an airport? With airports and airlines resuming operations after the lockdown, which airports are open to transit passengers during the COVID-19 pandemic? Most airports are starting to open, however, is anyone else confused about the UK self-quarantine on arrival policy? Well, with all the changes, it’s not surprising. First, there were talks about creating airbridges, which were later scrapped. The UK government has now announced a list of countries, where you won’t need to quarantine on arrival – so called the travel corridor.
Airport Transit and Quarantine?
There are now a limited number of countries you can visit without quarantine and that are exempt from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advice of essential travel only. Visit our blog; “Which countries can you visit without UK quarantine?” for details.
Although countries are starting to open up, we’re still amid a global COVID-19 pandemic. Some airports are still closed to transiting passengers (e.g. Singapore is still restricting passengers transiting through the airport)… and if you’re transiting through a few hubs, you will need to self-quarantine on arrival into the UK (e.g. arriving from Doha – a major transit hub). We’ve outlined which airports you can airport transit from without quarantine on arrival and which ones are accepting transit passengers in this article.
Visit our page on which countries are OK for UK travellers, for a detailed look at what’s happening with the quarantine rules.
What Are Transit Stops?
A transit stop is where passengers can get on or off, and it can apply to coaches, ferries, trains or flights. If your journey involves a transit stop be sure to check if you need to self-quarantine on arrival. In the UK, if the transit country is not on the list, you will need to self-isolate on your return especially if new passengers get on, or you get off and on again.
Open to transiting passengers. All passengers transiting through Abu Dhabi airport will require a PCR test. It is mandatory to have a COVID-19 PCR test before you fly with Etihad Airways from anywhere outside of Abu Dhabi. Your test must be carried out at an approved medical facility a maximum of 96 hours before your arrival time in Abu Dhabi.
Quarantine required on arrival into the UK. UAE is not one of countries on the “safe” list, which means you must self-quarantine for 14 days on arrival into the UK, even if you transit through the airport.
Open to transiting passengers. However, the 14 day self-quarantine apply on arrival into the UK.
We travelled through the airport recently and it was quiet and felt closed. The British Airways lounge was closed but you can access other lounges with your Priority Pass.
Entry into Thailand is restricted. The airport remains closed to transiting passengers.
If you do get to travel into the UK from Thailand, you now won’t have to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival into the UK.
It has relaxed some rules around international passenger flights to operate into Thailand for certain categories including, Thai nationals, foreigners with work permits, students and families of Thai nationals. However, the country remains closed to visitors.
Open to transiting passengers. Quarantine required on arrival into the UK.
Qatar Airways is one of the only airlines still flying across the world. Although Doha is closed to visitors, the airport remains open to transiting passengers. Qatar is not one of the countries on the “safe” list, which means you must self-quarantine for 14 days on arrival into the UK. Even if you’re only transiting through the airport.
We travelled on Qatar Airways through Doha airport earlier in the year, to read about what travelling at the height of the pandemic check out our blog: Qatar Airways Business Class KL to Doha during coronavirus
Open to transiting passengers. All transit passengers must obtain a negative COVID-19 certificate before arriving in Dubai.
Quarantine required on arrival into the UK. Dubai is also open to visitors, however, you need a negative PCR certificate issued by the local government approved laboratory. The UAE government has specified designated laboratories on this list.
UAE is not one of the countries on the “safe” list, which means you must self-quarantine for 14 days on arrival into the UK. Even if you’re only transiting through the airport.
Frankfurt / Munich
Open to transiting passengers. No quarantine required on arrival into the UK. However, if you’re travelling to Germany from the UK you’re required to quarantine for 14 days.
Open to transit passengers with through tickets only, and your transit must be less than 24 hours. Entry into Hong Kong remains closed to visitors. All transiting passengers are required to undergo a temperature check
No quarantine restrictions upon entry into the UK.
Open to transiting passengers.
Turkey was recently removed from UK’s travel corridor list, so you’ll be expected to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival into the UK after transiting through Istanbul.
Open to transit passengers, but you’ll have to quarantine for 14 days on arrival into the UK.
Open to transiting passengers. You can transit via Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) as long as you remain airside. Transiting between the two Kuala Lumpur terminals (KLIA and KLIA 2) if you need to go to airside and not have a one through ticket. No quarantine required on arrival into the UK.
London or the UK
Open to transiting passengers. Check out the changes Heathrow Airport made during the coronavirus pandemic.
A list of countries exempt from the 14-day quarantine are in this post. If you’re transiting airside you won’t need to self-isolate as you are only transiting via the UK. However, you are still expected to complete a passenger locator form.
There are 2 types of transiting:
- ‘airside’ – you do not pass through UK border control before you leave on your connecting journey
- ‘landside’ – you do pass through UK border control, but come back through it and leave the UK within a short amount of time (usually 24 hours)
For landside transits, you must complete a passenger locator form which the UK border controls may request upon entry into the UK. If you’re arriving from a country not on the UK travel corridor list, you’ll be expect to quarantine for the duration of your stopover/layover (e.g. in hotels or if you’re visiting relatives). You are allowed to travel to and back from the airport.
All arrivals from passengers that transit from countries not on the UK travel corridor will be expected to self-quarantine on arrival into the UK.
Open to transiting passengers. The UK recently updated the guidance meaning you’ll need to quarantine for 14 days on arrival into the UK from Spain.
Restrictions apply for transiting passengers. Open to transit passengers on Singapore Airlines and SilkAir flights on specific routes including Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, and London (Heathrow) to any destination to the Singapore airline network. Other countries that are OK include Australia; China; Hong Kong; Japan; New Zealand; South Korea and Taiwan.
Passengers are kept apart at Changi Airport – for transiting or non-transit. This is to ensure the health and safety of all passengers and staff. Ground staff at Changi Airport will issue passengers with wristbands indicating your designated transit areas. You should not remove the wristbands throughout the time you’re in the transit holding area.
For the latest cities approved for transit flights through Singapore, you can visit the Singapore Airlines website.
If you arrive into the UK from Singapore, you won’t need to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival.
Do Your Research
While we’ve made every effort to ensure we’ve presented accurate information, the situation is changing continually. If you flying and having part of your journey through airport transit be sure to check if you need to quarantine.
We therefore recommend you check directly your home and destination government websites before travelling. For more detailed information about travel to the UK during the COVID pandemic visit: https://www.gov.uk/uk-border-control
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