Airport Transit and COVID: Do I need to quarantine?

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. Visit our page on which countries are OK for UK travellers, and where is open to UK passengers.

Although countries are starting to open up, we’re still amid a global COVID-19 pandemic, so many airports are still closed to transit passengers (e.g. Singapore is still restricting passengers transiting through the airport)… and if you do transit through a few popular hubs, you will need to self-quarantine on arrival in the UK (e.g. arriving from Doha – a major transit hub). We’ve outlined which airports you can transit from without quarantine on arrival and which ones are accepting transit passengers.

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

Open to transiting passengers. No quarantine restrictions upon arrival into the UK.

Bangkok

Entry into Thailand is still restricted. The airport is still closed to transiting passengers, which will remain until at least 31 August.

You’re required 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.

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.

Dubai

Open to transiting passengers. All transit passengers are required to 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.

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.

Hong Kong

Open to transit passengers with through tickets. Entry into Hong Kong remains closed to visitors. No quarantine restrictions upon entry into the UK.

Istanbul

Open to transiting passengers. No quarantine required 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. You are not allowed to transit 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

Open to transiting passengers. A list of countries exempt from the 14 day quarantine is listed in a separate post.

Madrid

Open to transiting passengers. The UK recently updated the guidance meaning you’ll need to quarantine on arrival into the UK.

Singapore

Singapore Changi Airport

Restrictions apply for transiting passengers. Open to transit passengers on Singapore Airlines and SilkAir flights from Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, and London (Heathrow) to any destination to the Singapore airline network. Australia; China; Hong Kong; Japan; New Zealand; South Korea and Taiwan are also permitted.

Transit and non-transit passengers will be kept apart at Changi Airport. 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.

Cities approved by Singapore government to transit through Changi International Airport

Paris

Open to transiting passengers. No quarantine required on arrival into the UK.

Do your research

While we’ve made every effort to ensure we’ve presented accurate information, the situation is changing continually. 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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