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The HfP chat thread – Wednesday 28th July

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We are running this daily chat thread on Head for Points during the coronavirus outbreak.

Historically, the daily ‘Bits’ articles were the de facto repository for random comments and questions.  With the news flow being lighter, we are running fewer ‘Bits’ articles.

The comments under this article are where you should post questions about travel and, indeed, anything else on your mind.  At this tricky time, and given that many of you are at home, we want the HfP community to have a place to chat.

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Comments (468)

  • Rupert One says:

    Can anyone point me in the direction of the LEGAL definition of “fully vaccinated?” In terms of the single dose J & J vaccine. This is for a US visitor coming to Heathrow after 2 Aug.

    • Sukes says:

      In NI fully vaccinated ‘means that you have had your final dose of an approved vaccine at least 14 days before the date you arrive’. I’ve not seen any written detail but I would assume this 14D period will also apply to US/EU vaccinated visitors.

      • JanM says:

        Note that in France, it’s 28 days for the J&J vaccine. In case they were doing travelling within Europe…

      • Rupert One says:

        Thanks everyone. Yes, there is my conundrum. I cannot find any legal definition of fully vaccinated. It becomes more complex as the rules for visitors from the US changed today hence the “14 day rule” tends to apply to NHS applied vaccines, not FDA approved jabs administered abroad. Unless I’m missing something!

      • Lady London says:

        I have seen 4 weeks for Moderna, rather than as for Pfizer 2 weeks after 2nd dose, very recently as time delay to be considered fully vaccinated.

        It was in something about US/EU requirements (sorry I have forgotten the source)

        • Lady London says:

          *sorry for Janssen (johnson) was the 4 week requirement

        • Rupert One says:

          Thanks again everyone. So it appears that there is no legal definition of the time element of fully vaccinated for the thousands of overseas visitors likely to be arriving in less than a week at Heathrow. @ Harry T. It may be a spurious question but would it be opinion, recommendation or fact? Important as the consequences are serious when at the Border Agency booth.

      • Sukes says:

        If you want legal wording have a look at statutory instrument 865 which states ‘has completed a course of doses of an authorised vaccine with the final dose having been received before the start of the period beginning with the 14th day before the date of their arrival in England’ etc. The statutory instrument with regard to US/EU visitors has yet to be led but I assume will have the same legal wording. See https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2021/865/made

        • Rupert One says:

          But that is for NHS administered vaccines not foreign healthcare vaccinators.s 3 b.

    • Harry T says:

      There is no legal definition of fully vaccinated, so the question is essentially spurious. All that matters is whether the country you’re traveling to considers you to be fully vaccinated – that varies between countries and for different vaccines. You have to do your own research in the context of your unique travel plans.

    • Lyn says:

      The CDC guidelines for fully vaccinated in the US are two weeks after either
      – the 2nd vaccine for 2 dose vaccines like Pfizer
      – the 1st vaccine of a single dose vaccine like J&J

      • TGLoyalty says:

        But what’s important is what the U.K. defines as fully vaccinated.

        Will have to wait for their definition

  • aviosnewbie says:

    Child passport: how early before its expiry can I renew a child passport? The gov.uk website isn’t very clear on this point. Also, anyone knows how long are they currently taking to renew and if the Post Office docs check service is good? thank you!

    • Oli says:

      I recently renewed a child passport 4 months before expiry. It took 10 days to receive the new passport.
      Not sure why you’d need Post Office check? It’s very basic information that they are asking in the application process

    • Chris Heyes says:

      aviosnewbie, astonished why would anyone “do” a post office check that’s the ultimate waste, apply on line it’s easy if you make a mistake ie photo ect
      online will say try again photo unsuccessful (to light, to dark, shadow ect)
      It’s so easy to do a 74 year old can do it (did lol)

      • Nick says:

        You can renew a passport any time after it’s been issued, there’s no minimum time period. Entirely possible to do only 1 month after you got the last one (no reason why you ever would of course). Typical reasons for doing it early might be to lock in the child rate, or because one is full and has no more room for stamps.

    • ChrisC says:

      Renewal really isn’t a thing now as a new passport is a new passport especialy now previously unexpired time from the old passport isn’t included in a new passport.

  • Anon says:

    To those who have travelled recently, to what extent are all the various restrictions, quarantine requirements, test requirements and vaccination requirements actually being enforced both in the UK and elsewhere?

    Who’s doing the enforcement most ridgidly, is it the airlines or the immigration officials?

    My sense is that a lot of these temporary ‘rules’ only really exist on paper and you can easily skirt them but I’d be interested to know people’s experiences.

    • Yuff says:

      Everything being enforced much more than last year, especially airlines.
      If you haven’t got everything correct and all the boxes ticked you are unlikely to be able to board.
      My wife got through check in at Stansted ( Ryanair) end of March and was denied boarding at the gate, albeit Spain was hard to get in to in March, she eventually was allowed to board after they had closed the doors and taken her bag off.
      The airline checks are very much implemented

      • Babyg says:

        I dont agree Yuff… its far more relaxed now, no checks of documents at borders is one example, and i have not been phoned/rung since i travelled back from an amber country on Saturday…

        • Mrs_Fussy says:

          In my personal experience 2 weeks ago, a family coming back with us from Antigua wasn’t allowed to board as their PLF wasn’t in order and they couldn’t complete it in time. We flew off without them.

    • Oli says:

      At border control in Heathrow they stopped a guy who traveled in my flight because he had said in his PLF that he was exempt from Covid test because he was an elite sportsman. Not sure what happened to him afterwards

    • SteveKicks says:

      I arrived into Edinburgh last night, the border agent just had a quick look at the flight number in the PLF on my phone, nothing thorough at all.

      Departing from Malta; the check in desk staff just asked if I had filled in a PLF, and asked to see a test result or vaccine certificate. They then gave me a tiny piece of paper to say my documents had been checked, and nothing was looked at again.

      Felt like it would be very easy to skirt rules (e.g. my pre departure test was never checked, could have very easily avoided doing that)

      • SteveKicks says:

        This was with Ryanair. Several people had lost the piece of paper by the boarding gate, the staff just gave them a brief telling off before waving them through without any further checks.

    • Harry T says:

      No one cares. Ryanair checked my pre flight documents but border control just let me swipe through the eGates at Edinburgh.

      • fivebobbill says:

        I’m just back from Majorca and I could have shown the Ryanair girl at Palma airport a copy of The Beano!

    • Lyn says:

      In my, admittedly extremely limited, experience, the airlines are very strict and immigration tends to make the assumption that the airlines have done their job.

      This may not be so surprising, since the airlines have to bear the cost of returning passengers who aren’t allowed in.

      • meta says:

        I was not asked for anything other than passport at the borders both in the UK and Croatia. I practically had to shove vaccination certificate to border official in Croatia. He seemed disinterested and just scanned passport. At Heathrow all e-gates were open, so no problem.

        I also flew BA and used Verifly and uploaded all documents there before online check-in, both outbound and inbound. Didn’t need to show anything at check-in as they had it in the system.

        I wish all airlines used it or
        something similar as it just simplifies the process. Also on the inbound the verification process was almost immediate as I guess my vaccination certificate was already known to them. You scan QR code on the PLF, so that’s done instantly and the longest to verify was my pre-departure test which took 2 minutes tops. So all in all it took 3-4 minutes tops for the green light.

        • Pete M says:

          I have travelled 1-2 times every month since about March. It’s a real mix – airlines generally much more concerned than local officials as they are scared of passengers being returned at their expense and being fined. Particularly the case returning to the UK. My experience is BA, TAP and easyJet generally reasonable and willing to have exemptions, etc. explained to them. Ryanair do not care and if they decide they don’t like your documentation they will leave you behind. But there’s been a major climb-down in the last few weeks and everyone is a lot more relaxed.

      • Sukes says:

        The UK Gov is also recently making the airlines legally responsible for some aspects. Eg The Health Protection (Coronavirus, International Travel and Operator Liability) (England) (Amendment) (No. 6) Regulations 2021 that came into force on 19 July. This includes art 17a which places on operators the legal ‘Requirement to ensure passengers possess evidence of vaccination’ with regard to certain UK vaccinated arrivals.

  • RTS says:

    Are the US letting us UK’ers in now?

    • marcw says:

      nope.

    • Youllnever says:

      I believe it’s the other way round.

    • Blenz101 says:

      I’m a UKer and have been welcomed in by being an expat.

      You just need to spend sometime outside of U.K./Europe/China etc.

      It’s where you have been not your passport which makes a difference right now.

      • IanM says:

        Sure, but who is going to have a two week break in Mexico just to have another in the USA?

        • Yorkie Aid says:

          It depends how long you’re going for. I know loads of people who did this for their winter in Florida last year.

          • mutley says:

            Further to my question yesterday, the US corporation I work for has asked me to hold fire on travelling to 3rd country prior to entering the states. Perhaps they know there will be an announcement shortly regarding entry…. Labor Day weekend?

          • sloth says:

            unlikely they know anymore than we do…they probably just don’t want to have to pay for you to have a 2 week holiday in Barbados

          • mutley says:

            It was Mexico, but hey there’s still Hope! 🙂

          • sloth says:

            certainly not knocking you, I would do the same given the chance, but ultimately in my experience once employers see that you are ‘getting too much’ they suddenly no longer see the need to send you…

          • Lady London says:

            Oh “bother”, Mutley. And Barbados was looking so good…!

      • ChrisC says:

        US ban is based on Schengen not Europe.

        There are at least 4 non EU members who are part of Schengen (so banned from direct entry into the US) and at least 4 members of Schengen who aren’t members of the EU (so eligible for direct entey into the us)

  • r* says:

    Does anyone think I wouldnt be okay with the following –

    * Do Prenetics ‘return to uk’ antigen test (the one where you upload a photo) on a Thursday.
    * Use that test result to enter portugal on a Friday
    * Use the same test result to return to the uk on Sunday?

    Originally I thought I would be okay as portugal requirements say an antigen test can be used and doesnt say it needs a passport number – but now Im not sure because its basically a self administered test, albeit externally verified and has no barcode (tho again portugal doesnt say there needs to be)

    Thr UK side should be okay as its 3 days + day of arrival.

  • Clubx says:

    Does Clubcard Pay work with ernie?

  • SG says:

    Has anyone travel to Antigua recently and can confirm that rapid antigen are not accepted?
    What people here recommend as a reliable test at home PCR test?(Appologies if this has been answered before)

    • Mrs_Fussy says:

      Yes, we did and 100% not accepted. They/Antigua require an in person PCR. We used express test at Heathrow. Also the immigration queues are long so if travelling with kids I would recommend using a fast track service ( we used Signature and negotiated price down to 40 Usd per adults ( kids are free )

      • SG says:

        Many thanks,can I please ask how much the Heathrow express cost and how fast was processed?We are arriving at Heathrow the night before flying out so I have considered it but don’t want to risk it if not reliable!

  • Joints&Piles says:

    1: Curve Rewards has 10% back at IHG

    2: Anyone bought/renewed an Expert Flyer subscription lately? None of my fee-free forex cards are working. Payment seems to time out.

    • Sam G says:

      I had the same issue, I couldn’t get any British card to work had to pay with a Singaporean one !

    • BP says:

      No 10% here.

    • Liam says:

      To question 2, yes, but I used an American credit card. Have you at least tried in a different browser?

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