Airport Transit And COVID: Do I Need To Quarantine?

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.

Abu Dhabi

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.

Amsterdam

Quiet check-in desks during the coronavirus pandemic at Schipol Airport, Amsterdam

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.

Bangkok

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.

Doha

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

qatar airways planes
Qatar Airways planes parked at Hamad International Airport

Dubai

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.

Hong Kong

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.

Istanbul

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.

Paris

Open to transit passengers, but you’ll have to quarantine for 14 days on arrival into the UK.

Kuala Lumpur

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.

The UK’s government on self-isolating with transit stops

Madrid

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.

Singapore

Singapore Changi Airport

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.

The table below shows the permitted transit routes

If you arrive into the UK from Singapore, you won’t need to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival.

Starting airports with permission to transit through Singapore Airport – updated 4 September 2020

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

Got some useful intel that would help us improve this page? Please drop us a comment below.

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22 Comments

  1. AvatarTim Reply

    Thanks for the article – I’ve been searching specifically for transit information. Was this article last updated on 17th Sept? Thanks

    1. Avatar1K Post author Reply

      Hey Tim, yeah, but we do try to keep this blog post updated with the latest info. The situation changes daily so we do encourage you to triple check the latest rules. Where are you planning on transiting to? I can have a look at the latest guidance for you if helpful.

  2. AvatarHolly Randall Reply

    Hi

    I need to get to Tanzania and may have to go via Doha airport but I’m confused as to whether I must quarantine AT the airport which is what I’m reading, because the Uk is a “risk” country…

    Help?!

    1. Avatar1K Post author Reply

      Hi Holly,

      If you’re travelling from the UK to Tanzania via Doha, you won’t have to quarantine at Doha Airport. Doha Hamad International Airport is open for transit passengers. Qatar remains closed to international travellers, which means you can’t have a stop-over as you can’t leave the airport, your ticket must check you in all the way through to Tanzania. When you return to the UK via Doha, you’ll be expected to quarantine for 14 days, as Qatar is not exempt from UK’s quarantine list.

      When you arrive into Tanzania, you’ll be subjected to medical screening and you must complete a “Traveler Surveillance Form” and present it to the Port Health Authorities on arrival.

      I hope this helps? Let us know if you have more questions. Our advice would be to call your airline to double-check as well, in case some of the rules may have changed. They seem to be changing daily at the moment.

  3. AvatarKristi zyber Reply

    If I fly from Peru to Turkey and I have a layover in London Heathrow do I need to provid a pcr test? Thanks in advance.

    1. Avatar1K Post author Reply

      Hi Kristi, there are currently no restrictions for arrivals from the UK (London Heathrow) to Turkey.

      All passengers travelling into Turkey should follow the rules:
      – All passengers are required to wear masks at the airport and during the flights.
      – All passengers must complete the passenger information form when arriving to Turkey.
      – All passengers will undergo a medical examination and those showing symptoms will have tests performed.
      – Passengers with a positive test result will take medical treatment.

      However, you need to check the rules for travellers from Peru as PCR tests may be required with results conducted at least 72 hours before travel. I would call the airline to confirm, as you may be required to show this before check-in if you have one ticket from Peru to Turkey.

  4. AvatarAtif Khawaja Reply

    Hello,

    I am traveling from Canada to Pakistan and transiting in London, UK for 11 hours. What do I need to check or what I need to do in order to make sure the travel goes as planned?

    1. Avatar1K Post author Reply

      It’s best to check with your airline to confirm.
      The current requirements for entry to Pakistan are that you must complete an International Passenger Health Declaration Form which must be presented before departure to Pakistan. As you’re transiting through London, you may have to provide a medical certificate with a negative Coronavirus (COVID-19) RT-PCR test result. The test must have been taken at most 96 hours before departure. This won’t be required if you’re travelling direct from Canada. Do you have a through ticket (I.e. you’re not leaving the airport in London?)

  5. AvatarSabrina Reply

    Hi, I’m travelling to Barbados from Marseille, France in 10 days and have an overnight layover in London, I arrive in Heathrow from Marseille but my flight for Barbados leave from Gatwick the next day. I will have to leave the airport to spend the night at a airport hotel then go to Gatwick airport to take my flight for Barbados. Am i allowed to do this?

    1. Avatar1K Post author Reply

      Hi Sabrina, as you’re leaving the airport and flying from Gatwick you’re considered as an arrival from the UK. The Barbadian authorities will also ask your travel history. The UK has been designated as a high risk country, which means you need the following before arrival
      – a negative PCR COVID-19 test 72 hours before arrival. Failing to show this may mean you are refused boarding and can’t enter the country
      – you will also need to quarantine for 7 days and undergo a health screening on arrival. During your quarantine you’ll be required to do another PCR test 4-5 days after the first

      – you can quarantine at a government facility (free) or your own villa/hotel under strict quarantine
      Hope this helps – if in doubt please call your airline carrier and embassy to confirm the rules.
      Visit the Barbados government website for details of entry to
      Barbados https://www.visitbarbados.org/covid-19-travel-guidelines-2020

  6. AvatarSabrina Reply

    Thank you so much for your help! I’m only transiting in BB, my final destination is Bequia, but this time I won’t leave the airport. So as a in transit passenger, I need a negative test which I will need to enter Bequia as well.

  7. AvatarDiana Reply

    Hi I need to get to Spain from Poland with a stopover in Manchester. As the flight is with Ryanair I will have to go back through security I believe. Is this possible?

    1. Avatar1K Post author Reply

      Hello Diana,
      As you’re arriving from Poland (which is not on the UK travel corridor) and you’re going through border controls, you’re expected to quarantine for the entire duration of your stopover (e.g if you have a long layover and heading to a hotel or if you’re visiting friends, you’re expected to remain there until your next flight). You’ll also be expected to complete a UK passenger locator form. If you have booked separately with two airlines where there are no transfer agreements in place, then you will need to reclaim your baggage and check-in at the relevant terminal at Manchester airport. Are you passing border controls and coming back through again? or do you have a longer layover?

  8. AvatarStewart Reply

    I am transiting through Nairobi and Amsterdam. There is no information that I can find if I need a negative Covid test result for transiting through Nairobi. Kenyan Airways is also not available for the information. Does anyone have information to help with this question?

    I know I will have to quarantine, but just not sure about requirements for transiting.
    Thanks

  9. AvatarMichael Reply

    Hello,
    if I come from Moscow to Hithrow and then I will go as the transfer passanger directly to my next flight to Frankfurt? Must I to the quaratine too?

    thank in advance,
    Michael

  10. AvatarMichala Masarykova Reply

    Hello, I’ll be flying from Istanbul (after having spent around a month in Turkey) to Marrakech with an overnight layover at Stansted airport (late evening arrival from Istanbul and early morning departure from London). Given that people travelling from Turkey need to self-quaranteen, would this apply to me as well even though I wouldn’t be staying in the UK? Will I be able to leave the airport and stay in a hotel next to the airport before flying to Marrakesh the next morning or would I have to spend the night at the airport?

    Many thanks for your advice.

    Michala

    1. Avatar1K Post author Reply

      Hi Michala, you’re meant to self-quarantine for the entire time you’re in the UK. You are OK to go to the hotel but according to the rules, you’ll have to remain in your room until your next flight. Hope this helps.

  11. AvatarDominika Reply

    Hello, I’m flying from Prague to Lisbon with transit in London Stansted. I recon it is not mandatory to self-quarantine since I’m only transiting. However Stansted doesn’t have the option to stay in the international transit area like bigger airports do, so I would officially have to cross the UK border. Would that be a problem or is it fine if I show them my connecting flight ticket? Thank you in advance. Dominika

    1. Avatar1K Post author Reply

      Hi Dominika, technically you should complete a passenger locator form before you arrive into the UK. As you’re transiting, you should be OK to move through the airport pass the border controls and check-in again to catch your next flight. If you’re staying in the UK for longer, then expect to self-quarantine while you’re in the UK. Hope this helps.

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