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#962612 by David
06 Nov 2021, 12:45
Now that the skies are reopening up again for VS, would those that have travelled recently or about to travel post the new procedures that we will all have to go through.

I realise that these will continue to change before hopefully going away all together, but it would be useful for those of us about to start flying again if we can find out test procedures, new check in issues, extra time required and arrival issues into the US, Caribbean, South Africa etc.

I’m sure there will be plenty of near misses with incorrect paperwork etc and also many tips to make everyone’s travel easier and safer.

Many thanks in advance

David.
#962613 by mitchja
06 Nov 2021, 15:47
Essentially there are a couple of extra steps now. This applies to fully vaccinated passengers.

It's probably a little early to say for sure how things will work for US flights but I would say things should be similar to other destinations.

1) Pre-departure testing (generally required no more than 3 days before departure).

Do check which type of test is acceptable as this does vary for different destinations.

For example Barbados will only accept a full PCR test with swabs from your mouth and nose administered by a professional.

USA will accept a PCR, antigen flow lateral or a LAMP test administered by a professional of performed yourself at home BUT home testing MUST be supervised remotely via a video link.

I'm doing a drive-thru flow lateral test for my US trip as I've read a few negative reviews about some of the supervised home testing companies keeping you waiting for hours in some cases for an available person to monitor you take the test even after making an appointment.

I've booked Express Test drive-thru for mine (£50). I also used them for my previous PCR test (£80) for Barbados simply because they where the closest to where I live. Very good all round service for the first test last month with PCR results back within 24 hours. They state flow lateral results are returned within 40 minutes. I'll find out for sure tomorrow when I go for my test ready for Wednesday.

Do make sure you enter your passport number when booking your test appointment as this is required for International travel. The test centres require you to take you passport with you as well for the pre-departure test.

There are discount codes knocking around for Express Test plus they are also on Top Cashback now as well (not sure about Quidco?)

Many other test providers are available though at various locations around the UK including all airports.

Again though; check which type of test is required for your destination.

2) UK Airport Check-in

I can only write what I experienced at MAN. Other airports may be slightly different.

An agent checks your pre-departure negative test certificate and vaccination status before letting you check-in properly.

Once they are happy they attach a red security sticker to your passport allowing you to check-in normally. That took no more than a few minutes at MAN but bear in mind that was 1 single daily VS flight. The rest of check-in exactly as normal apart from the agent asking you to briefly remove your mask to check your ID.

From Monday check-in is going to be busier so do allow extra time and have you test certificates and vaccination status ready for checking. I printed mine out.

Do remember that the NHS app requires a data connection to work so if you don't plan on using data roaming outside the UK, you will need paper copies of your vaccination status to show once you leave the UK. This can be downloaded via the NHS app saved somewhere offline or printed out.

iOS 15.1 now allows your NHS vaccination status passes to be added to Apple Wallet which show passes without a data connection.


3) Passenger Locator Form

48 hours before arriving back into the UK (based on your flight arrival time into the UK so you need to take any time difference into account), you need to fill in your passenger locator form (PLF). This is an online form which can be found here.

I found this to be very hit and miss and it took be 3 or 4 attempts to fill it in and submit it. Part of this requires you to scan your vaccination status QR codes. I found this to be a real pain as it's kept timing out on me. I managed it eventually.

Another section of the PLF requires the reference number for your return to UK day 2 COVID-19 test. This needs to be purchased before you fill the PLF form in and most companies will deliver it on or around the day you return home. Cheaper flow lateral tests can now be done of this test if you are fully vaccinated.

They issue you the reference number as soon as the purchase is complete so make a note of that and take it with you to enter into the PLF.

Again many companies sell these now. I'm using Chronomics which was £23.50 for a antigen flow lateral home test kit.

4) Departure Airport Check-In

Flying back from Barbados there was a pre-check in agent again and I was required to show my passenger locator form and vaccination status. (I was also asked to show my departure negative COVID result but this is no longer required now)

I saw passengers struggle here as they had no data connection to open their NHS app to show their vaccination status.

Nothing extra was required for arriving through UK immigration on landing at MAN. E-gates where in operation and working.


Disclaimer
Do read and make sure you understand all the requirements for travel to and from your destination carefully though as any incorrect requirements may lead to being denied boarding. Check regularly for any updates as requirements do and are changing all the time.
#962615 by Murraymint
06 Nov 2021, 16:14
A detailed summary James. I would concur and also strongly suggest that you print everything as well as have it electronically. On our return from Boston to Cyprus via LHR, admittedly on BA, even though we had uploaded Certificates, negative tests and PLF, the check in desk still wanted to see all the paperwork.
Even if you have WiFi or roaming, it’s still good to have backup. I saw many people struggling between different screens, handing over their phones, then getting it passed back as the screen had locked etc. etc.
#962616 by Seyre1972
06 Nov 2021, 16:55
James - Another thank you for a super clear write-up.

For clarity around the 3 days prior to flight for those whom are full vaccinated (those whom are not have different criteria) - this was on the US State Travel website

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel ... ation.html

3 days prior example

The test must be administered no more than three calendar days before the date of the international flight to the United States.
* So, if a traveler is departing for the United States at 10 PM on January 19, they would have to present a negative test result for a test that was taken any time after 12:01 AM on January 16.

So I fly 4th December 1545 hrs - My test is booked for 1st December @ 1000 hrs

I'm having the Rapid Antigen test (as approved by CDC as an indicative test) if that is + then I would take a LAMP test - which is a definite test. LAMP tests are the speedy 2-3 hrs for results whereas PCR take 48 hrs usually.
#962622 by flyingfox
06 Nov 2021, 23:15
There is a useful flow chart here on travelling to the US. The Attestation form on the VS website is not the most upto date version, the link through the above flowchart to an updated form here is 5 pages in total compared with 2 on the old version. Will be interested to hear from those filling in the form via VS web form if it has been updated.
#962623 by ColOrd
06 Nov 2021, 23:27
Section 2, Item 3, refers to being tested in the US.

Does each item apply to the same item from section 1? IE you only attest 1&1 or 3&3 etc?
#962626 by Leon
07 Nov 2021, 10:20
Re Section 2, Item 3, refers to being tested in the US.

I think they missed out the important phrase - "I attest that such person is
excepted from the requirement to present Proof of Being Fully Vaccinated Against COVID-19"

The key phrase in Section 2 is in the first question - " (sign the form to complete the Attestation)". If you answer yes to those then you go straight to sign the form - no other questions are relevant.

Section 2 questions 2 through 5 are for non-fully vaccinated individuals

HTH

Leon
#962631 by ColOrd
07 Nov 2021, 10:38
Excellent thank you, it’s all as clear as mud!!
#962633 by mitchja
07 Nov 2021, 11:31
Leon wrote:Re Section 2, Item 3, refers to being tested in the US.

I think they missed out the important phrase - "I attest that such person is
excepted from the requirement to present Proof of Being Fully Vaccinated Against COVID-19"

The key phrase in Section 2 is in the first question - " (sign the form to complete the Attestation)". If you answer yes to those then you go straight to sign the form - no other questions are relevant.

Section 2 questions 2 through 5 are for non-fully vaccinated individuals

HTH

Leon


Maybe that's the reason why VS have condensed their version down?

My Express Test negative COVID-19 result has just come back here - 39 minutes after taking the drive-thru test :)

I'll see if I can fill the Attestation form at T-72 hours which is from 13:10 this afternoon.
#962636 by ColOrd
07 Nov 2021, 11:55
Is the attestation online or do you need to print it? I feel like I’m gonna have half a forest with us for two people!
#962637 by Murraymint
07 Nov 2021, 12:01
ColOrd wrote:Is the attestation online or do you need to print it? I feel like I’m gonna have half a forest with us for two people!


I would recommend printing it as a backup.
#962641 by Normyboy
07 Nov 2021, 12:57
I’m getting really confused by the Attestation forms. If I use the Virgin one then that is completed and submitted online however the CDC one presumably needs to be printed off, completed by pen and then handed in at check-in? Have a got that right please?
#962642 by Leon
07 Nov 2021, 13:39
I'd take paper copies of everything you can!!!
#962643 by Leon
07 Nov 2021, 13:53
BTW The Virgin 2 page attestation form is from June, so I suspect the recent rule changes mean that the CDC one is the one that will be needed from midnight tonight. Perhaps VS will change their form overnight?
#962644 by mitchja
07 Nov 2021, 14:22
Just submitted my Attestation form here all online.

Not much to fill in. Once it's found your booking after entering the departure airport, PNR and your name the following is displayed:

Screenshot 2021-11-07 at 13.15.09.png
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On clicking one of the 2 options, ticking the box and entering your full name and clicking submit, you get this:

Screenshot 2021-11-07 at 13.16.08.png
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That's all there is to it.

For the paper version, you actually only need to select/tick one numbered part from section 1 and section 2. If you are fully vaxxed and have your negative test you just tick number 1 in section 1 and also number 1 in section 2; nothing else needed just sign and date the form.

Filling the online version is by far the easiest option.
#962645 by JamesR29
07 Nov 2021, 14:22
Long time lurker first time poster here.

We flew out to Jamaica this week and this is our experience of the check in procedures.

Before you fly to Jamaica you need to fill out a travel authorisation and customs form on the visit Jamaica website 7 days before you travel. You also need a PCR or Anitgen test 3 days before you travel. We used GPDQ at Bournemouth airport which was £89 each for a PCR test and got our results and fit to fly certificate back within 15 hours.

At the airport we checked in on the normal self serve machines and joined the queue for bag drop. Before the bag drop a Virgin staff member checked your fit to fly certificate, travel authorisation and passport all tallyed together. Bag drop was then straight forward and you got given a pack with masks, and sanitizer for the flight.

No more questions through the airport or on the flight, all seemed normal other than mask wearing.

Arrival in Jamaica before you land fill out a customs form that cabin crew give out, it is the same info that you do on the travel authorisation but all the agents want to see this form. In the airport you have a temperature check, asked if you are well and hand sanitizer. Masks are mandatory and strictly enforced. There were no other covid checks after this, just normal immigration checks.

Cant do return info yet as we are on holiday. I would strongly recommend having paper copies of everything as it seemed simpler and quicker than loading on your phone. Also check in and bag drop took a little longer than usual due to the extra check, but we were in Heathrow at 5.30am and it was quiet. Took us 20mins from arrival to being through security and into departures

Hope this helps
#962678 by flyingfox
08 Nov 2021, 16:49
Update from VS Trade on entering the US;

Essential information to enter the USA

Effective 8 November 2021, a new international air policy applies to the United States, which means that foreign nationals entering the United States must be fully vaccinated. Limited exemptionsapply. Please ensure customers check the CDCwebsite for the pre-departure and arrival rules which apply to them and arrive prepared at the airport.

Fully vaccinated customers:*
- FDA-approved Covid-19 test (including PCR, LAMP or antigen e.g. lateral flow) within 3 days before departure. Self-tests must be video observed**
- Passenger Disclosure and Attestation form here and can be printed here
- Accepted proof of fully vaccinated status e.g. NHS COVID Pass or original CDC vaccination card

*These pre-departure rules also apply to unvaccinated under 18s travelling with a fully vaccinated parent or legal guardian. Unvaccinated non-US citizens and non-US immigrants under 18 will also need to complete a Covid-19 test 3-5 days after arrival in the US.

Not fully vaccinated (or non-eligible) customers:
- FDA-approved Covid-19 test (including PCR, LAMP or antigen e.g. lateral flow) within 1 day before departure. Self-tests must be video observed**
- Passenger Disclosure and Attestation form, printed and taken to the airport.
US citizens, Lawful Permanent Residents and US immigrants can use this version and non-US citizens and non-US immigrants use thisversion. Alternatively, they will be directed to complete a form during check in at the airport.

Non-US citizens and non-US immigrants only:
- 7 full days of self-quarantine upon arrival (children under 18 exempt)
- FDA-approved Covid-19 test 3-5 days after arrival in the US
**If customers have recovered from a documented COVID-19 case within the past 90 days (regardless of vaccination status) they may use official evidence of this as an alternative to the pre-departure test.

Quarantine and arrival requirements
Quarantine, mask wearing, venue access based on vaccination status, and other requirements may be enforced and can vary depending on the state you’re travelling to. Customers should check the requirements of the local state they're arriving in before they travel.

For State recommendations or requirements, please visit State & Territorial Health Department Websites or Travel and Tourism Informationhereand here

Unvaccinated foreign nationals (aged 2 and over) must take a Covid-19 test 3-5 days after arrival in the US. Unvaccinated adult foreign nationals (aged 18 and above) must also self-quarantine for 7 days in the place they are staying (e.g. hotel).


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Updated entry
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#962695 by ColOrd
09 Nov 2021, 18:54
I had a thought today, and probably just as I am being paranoid about my upcoming holiday.

I am due to be Boosted on the 28th November, flying 24th Dec, so the 14 day "rule" is okay etc but on my record will be three Covid Shots, 1,2 and the Booster. Since they aren't as far as I know doing Boosters in the US are they going to query it and question why I have had a third? I am sure other people will be in this situation!
#962696 by vji6697
09 Nov 2021, 19:12
ColOrd wrote: but on my record will be three Covid Shots, 1,2 and the Booster. Since they aren't as far as I know doing Boosters in the US are they going to query it and question why I have had a third? I am sure other people will be in this situation!


I wouldn't worry too much about this as the NHS app is unable to show the booster at the moment and there seems to be no clear roadmap as to when that will appear. The advice being, if your destination wants proof of a booster, then your GP can write a letter. For the US, you can just use the travel passport in the NHS App. I know as my Dad had his booster a month ago and when I checked his app, it was not there, so a quick bit of googling showed why
#962697 by ColOrd
09 Nov 2021, 19:13
Ahhh cool thanks!
#962698 by jilly
09 Nov 2021, 19:25
The booster doesn't show with the first two vaccines, however it can be found under 'consultations and events' with the date it was given.

Jill
#962722 by paulreg
11 Nov 2021, 12:13
My family and I have a booking to Florida next month on VS and I have few questions on the additional requirements the USA has now that borders have reopened.

1. Does VS need the vaccination proof, negative tests uploaded to their website or just printed copies etc taken to airport on departure date?
2. I note that Lateral Flow is accepted by USA which is cheaper than PCR. Any reasons why one might want a PCR?
3. Regarding testing 3 days before is it possible to do video online using Lateral flow at home? Does one need to post back lateral flow or do they validate on video at home?
4. All passengers are UK Citizens bar one who has a visa. Does Visa info need to be loaded at Online check in or just shown at airport?
5. Finally do children under 18 need to do an additional lateral flow test 3 days after arrival in the USA if they travelling with their vaccinated parents? If so any recommendations on where to get done in Orlando please and do these need to be uploaded anywhere?
Thanks
#962723 by mitchja
11 Nov 2021, 15:13
1. Either. As of yesterday (10th Nov) VS where still not yet accepting any online uploads.

2. PCR tests are general thought to be more accurate, however, because they involve a throat swab they can sometimes produce false negatives if you have consumed certain drinks/food immediately before taking the swab.

Given the choice I would always go for the cheaper and quicker lateral flow tests.

3. Yes, several companies now offer this as an option. You take a photo of your completed lateral flow cartridge test along with you ID, upload them and the results are checked from that.

4. I can’t answer that one sorry

5. Yes, they need the same negative test results as fully vaccinated adults (see Flyingfox’s quote a bit further up this threats)


Having arrived in the USA yesterday (currently enjoying the sunshine in Fort Lauderdale) everything on arrival into the US is exactly the same as it’s always been. That includes if you have an onward connection.

An announcement was made on the flight just before arrival into JFK saying you will need to carry your test results and vax status along with you passports, however, I found only the usual passport check was required.

(I do have Global Entry though - that’s exactly the same process as always as well)
#962779 by mitchja
15 Nov 2021, 16:02
Just a little bit of info for people returning home/travelling to the UK on a connecting flight.

I’m heading back home FLL>JFK on DL connecting to VS JFK>MAN (same ticket).

I was not able to complete online check-in yesterday either via the DL app or their website. A message kept popping up saying I needed to see a DL agent to confirm my travel documents.

I was not able to upload anything either using the online DL FlyReady system either.

The VS app / website just kept sending me to DL (which is understandable as DL are first carrier so check-in needs to be done with DL).

The DL check-in agent at FLL was initially a little unsure how to proceed with my booking as I was his first Pax travelling to the U.K. since the changes but got there very easily after asking to see my vax status and my passenger locator form (which again the hotel I say in very kindly printed my PLF out for me). Both boarding passes issued and I was good to go.

Bags checked al the way to MAN. Everything else exactly the same so far. The TSAPre Lane worked very well as usual here.

FLL now has a nice new DL SkyClub lounge now in T2. A massive improvement on the previous lounge that used to be here.

Have all your paperwork ready for inspection at the gate prior to boarding as well as I got a red light and a beep as I was boarding the DL flight to JFK. All quickly and efficiently checked though (again I had everything printed).

My DL flight arrived into T4 at JFK for a change (DL use either T4 or T2 and there seems absolutely no logic to which flights use which terminal as my departure JFK>FLL flight departed T2). T2 is still as grim as ever BTW. There where rumours flying around that T2 would not reopen after COVID but that’s clearly not the case.

This all meant a short(ish) walk to the JFK Clubhouse. On arrival at the JFK Clubhouse I was again asked to show my PLF and my vax status paperwork. The agents also replaced my DL issued boarding pass with a VS one.
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