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The HfP chat thread – Wednesday 4th August

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Comments (314)

  • Muhammad Abdullah says:

    Regarding CTM, how do their references start for the PLF? I’m gonna buy Randox for Glasgow cos its cheaper but I might need to claim I had CTM.

    • Blenz101 says:

      So you are going to lie on the PLF and use a test not valid for the country you are attempting to enter? Yikes…

    • Sam G says:

      I don’t know where I saw it but I read that Scottish based border agents are asking to see the CTM confirmations and if not present making you buy on the spot. So if your Randox isn’t refundable you’d be out of pocket

    • Harry T says:

      This does not sound like a wise course of action.

    • SteveKicks says:

      I successfully used a randox reference arriving into Edinburgh airport last week, you don’t need to worry

      • Blenz101 says:

        It has been reported on here by others that border agents are spot checking and asking to see the CTM booking confirmations refusing to accept tests booked with unapproved providers.

        Muhammad has already said he feels he gets singled out over white people in relation to room upgrades so he may not have your luck when it comes to these thing. Plus he is also planning to lie on the locator form with a made up reference number so in the event he is checked he would have something to worry about.

        I’ve got stacks of PCR test results from the past 18 months, in many cases provided in Word format or at least an editable PDF. I can cover off a good chunk of Europe and the US. Could save everyone even more time and money by sharing the format of those I guess ….

        • Muhammad Abdullah says:

          It wasn’t “reported” here as a first hand account, someone said they read it on TripAdvisor

          • Blenz101 says:

            Well that doesn’t make it any less true. Fine to play dumb and book the wrong test and hope you aren’t made to buy another, although sad that you do actually know better. What is wrong is to solicit details that will allow you to fraudulently complete the form. ​

            Perhaps the tests are priced at a level to discourage people taking unnecessary trips. If Scotland wanted to be welcoming at this time it could easily offer free tests on arrival.

          • BP says:

            I read it on Tripadvisor. I wouldn’t lie on the form as that’ll lead to serious trouble if you get found out. Plead ignorance if caught and pay up for the CTM test if you need to.

            If the government really cared it would be trivial to only accept CTM references on PLFs with arrival into a Scottish airport.

      • Muhammad Abdullah says:

        Yes, I’m sure it won’t be an issue. It’s a total scam it costs so much in Scotland. And I thought the SNP cared deeply about people from overseas.

        • Muhammad Abdullah says:

          I’m going to use Express Medicals, my wife’s cousin runs it.

        • AJA says:

          I’m sorry but deliberately buying the wrong test in order to get around rules purely because the official test “costs so much in Scotland” is just wrong. Don’t do it. Either that or don’t travel. I have no sympathy if you get caught. Yours is one of the most entitled posts I’ve read in a while. It’s pathetic.

        • ChrisC says:

          They do care about people from overseas and they also care about the residents of Scotland. Even the ones who didn’t vote for them.

          I’d rather they designate a specific supplier and closely monitor that supplier than a government that allows basically anyone to advertise a testing service with no monitoring that they are even sending out proper tests let alone doing the tests to the required standards.

          I’ve noticed a nasty trend the last few weeks of people deliberatly advocating breaking the law by lying on their PLFs.

          If you aren’t prepared to follow the law here then just stay away.

          • Muhammad Abdullah says:

            We aren’t all as rich as you ChrisC who can afford £88 for a day 2, Green Test. It’s appalling you don’t realise this has been all about money since the beginning. One giant big scam.

          • ChrisC says:

            You know nothing about my financial situation.

            It has nothing to do with you or the fact YOU deliberately want to break the law.

            If you can afford to fly you can afford the tests.

          • Muhammad Abdullah says:

            I had to go back to Islamabad to be at my mothers side for her final moments- airqud fi salam. The flights were very expensive even though I flew on a separate tickets booked from a Green Country. I live in England, so NHS England get my data anyway, and they will be getting my data from Expert Medicals. Perhaps if I lived in Scotland it would be different?

            Anyway, it was all fine, no issue with non-CTM test today. Have a nice evening everyone.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Either stick your Randox number on and plead innocence if stopped or buy a CTM test

      Fraud is absolutely the wrong course to be taking

      • Dave1985 says:

        “ If you can afford to fly you can afford the tests.”

        Wise words ChrisC. Wise words.

        • Rob says:

          Oddly, given how cheap flights are this Summer, this is not necessarily true.

          • Dave1985 says:

            Either way. Everyone seems to has a sob story these days. If you can’t afford it, don’t go. Pretty basic stuff.

  • Jonathan says:

    Has anyone had any recent BA flight bookings to RAK lately ?

    I’m due to fly there on the 16/09, their borders are open to those who are fully vaccinated or can present a negative PCR test on arrival, I’ve had my second vaccine today !

    The reason I’m asking this is because BA have cancelled all flights there for now, I’ve already been messed around by them, having my original departure cancelled, then being forced to move the departure date two days earlier (the return date is unchanged). Given that my flight hasn’t (as of yet) been cancelled again, I’m a bit unsure is what will happen

    Anyone who’s been in a similar position, please talk about what’s happened with yourselves below, thanks !

    • Sam G says:

      BA haven’t been flying there. They’d have been offering a reroute either a) via Madrid (overnight connection) b) a refund or c) rebooking to another date (now +1 year from the date of your cancelled flights)

      Your EU 261 right is for a reroute in comparable conditions so you could buy your own ticket e.g. Easyjet if they’re flying on your original date & if it’s more expensive then DON’T take a refund and instead go for a reimbursement from BA via MCOL or CEDR.

      What I’m not sure about is if you fly earlier then if BA are on the hook for your duty of care for those two nights (as this wasn’t a delay?)

      Considering COVID cases there are on the up and curfews extended etc I doubt BA will resume flights by then TBH and it’d probably be advisable to have a airline and/or destination plan B – most people will prefer to stay within the EU in “safer” destinations with better/perceived better healthcare infrastructure

    • ChrisW says:

      You’re mad going to a third world country in the middle of a pandemic.

      • Rob says:

        If Morocco is what now classes as ‘third world’ then all the world’s problems are over.

  • Vin says:

    Got ‘pinged’ to self isolate upon return trip from Malta !
    As my NHS Track n Trace was switched off for the duration of the holiday I assume it was the PLF because the dates match.
    Double vacc’d and green list country so no requirement for pre-departure test on way out. Rapid antigen negative the day before return. Day 2 PCR after return – negative. PCR after being pinged and daily lateral flow tests since then have been negative too.

    So potential sources of the contact may have been
    – Malta airport (sat in lounge but 2m away from everyone else, queue at Schengen border for 20min).
    – Sat in first row of CE MLA- LHR so potentially someone in the 3 rows behind (?) or crew in galley (I’m told geo-locators cannot identify if there is a wall between people).
    – Galleries T5 for several hours but tucked away at far end away from tarmac , no one within 2m apart from bar staff
    – Moved to Galleries First for half an hour – was very crowded!
    – Sat first row CE on LHR-MAN so either someone in next 3 rows or crew in galley. The flight had several children (who are not tested for travel) and the returning Olympic Taekwondo team (all of whom looked too young to be double vacc’d and were returning from a city with rising Covid rates and very low vaccination uptake). The LHR-MAN flight was also a feeder for other international arrivals into LHR.
    – 45 min wait in MAN T3 waiting for bags to be unloaded in a confined space.

    Irritating and inconveniencing as it is, it probably shows that the PLF is doing what it was designed for – so traveller beware ! 🙂

    • Harry T says:

      Doesn’t matter if you’re double vaccinated from August 16th 😊

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Just 12 more days of nonsense.

        What happens if you’re contacted on the 15th … 10 days or 1?

    • Sean says:

      I’m a little confused by your list of potential sources of contact – how would the PLF know anything other that the flights you were on? If you had track and trace switched off, how did you get “pinged”?

      • Blair says:

        Yes i was thinking the same. Though I enjoyed the detail of the story so…(shrugs)

        • Vin says:

          Good questions @Blair and @Sean – to which I have no answer but happy to take guesses 🙂.
          I don’t know if the PLF links with the Day 2 test of someone on either flight who later tested positive . Would be interesting to know if any/everyone on that flight got pinged.

          • Anna says:

            This seems to be happening an awful lot!
            Does self-isolation just stop on the 16th or do you have to finish it once started?

            I am currently having a cafe con leche stop in Teide National Park.

            Tenerife is busy mainly with Spanish families who are having staycations – it’s not so bad if you have the Canaries & Balearics! Los Cristianos was positively civilised the other day 😂

    • Rachel Robinson says:

      You were in a lounge in Malta? Explain yourself! 😂😂

      • Dave1985 says:

        “ I am currently having a cafe con leche stop in Teide National Park”

        Enjoy your trip! Good to see people showing some initiative and finding places they can visit and enjoy rather than getting hot and bothered on the internet about places they can’t go to!

        Enjoy!

        🇬🇧

      • Whitespace says:

        Lounge still there, open for Priority Pass holders (but advised to pre-book).

        • stevenhp1987 says:

          Yup,

          Was there a few weeks ago. Pre-booked but it was completely empty inside.

          Smaller offering than normal.

          Pre-packed sandwiches etc. The one improvement is the “Tapas Salad” (or similar name) which is a salad with cured hams!

          Assisted Buffet and “table service” (you go up the buffet, point at what you want then they bring it over to you).

    • Simon says:

      Vin, are you sitting on the naughty step for the next 10 days? Do NOT leave your home !

    • Travel Strong says:

      Have you been contacted by a human and told to self isolate, or ‘pinged’ on the app?

      • Vin says:

        @TravelStrong – the App didn’t ‘ping’, instead OH and I received a text message from Track n Trace . That’s what makes the whole affair confusing and why I’m pointing fingers at the PLF – although I now take on board (😄) the fact that it would only locate me on a flight and not the airport

        • TGLoyalty says:

          The T&T app is anonymous they don’t use that for calls/texts to isolate.

          It’s from your flight.

          • Mr. AC says:

            +1 It’s the flight. 4 flights to the UK in 2021, 4 times contacted by Track and Trace. 5th flight 2 days ago – waiting and expecting it again. Someone is bound to test positive, it was a 777…

        • John says:

          Using the app is voluntary and self-isolating when the app tells you to is also voluntary. The PLF mandatory and so is self isolating when you are contacted by T&T (which stands for TEST and trace not track)

        • David says:

          I have just been told to isolate after a flight from Malta too – I also don’t have the App installed on my phone.

          • Sandgrounder says:

            I was nailed after coming back from KEF, as discussed on here there doesn’t appear to be a published rule such as 2 seats in any direction for the US (unless anyone as found one) so it’s possibly the whole plane. Roll on the 16th, (or the 12th for me, heading north of the border), I didn’t get jabbed for nothing. I’ll happily get a PCR if I’ve been exposed and will top it up with extra lateral flows, but 10 days blanket isolation is over the top given our current population antibody levels.

          • David says:

            There was hardly anyone on my flight and I was on the front row – no one behind for 2 rows – I think its the whole plane.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            @David well that’s overkill when 70% of adults have been double jabbed.

          • Tracey says:

            I wonder if you can head to Wales from 7 August if you are pinged? Their no isolation for the double vaxxed starts then.

    • Whitespace says:

      If this was the MLA-LHR flight on 30 July, then this stacks up with the experience of my group. Advised by text message on 3 August to isolate until 9 Aug.
      No additional flights that day and no working NHS CV19 App in play. Only PLF for MLA-LHR flight.

      Oh, and the amusement of the two people in the Border Force line who thought they were exempt from getting a test before returning from Majorca as they’d had a vaccine. Added an extra 30 mins due to the solo BF officer.

    • Allan says:

      What date was the flight?

    • MJ says:

      You don’t need to assume look in the covid 19 app under Settings -> Other data. That will show you your exposure date

      • Marie says:

        We were test and traced after a flight back from mallorca. We sat in different seats to PLF – agent not interested when I objected , but only 3 of 4 of us contacted so either their error or not whole plane. I hope it’s not whole plane- hoping to fit Croatia and Azores in before autumn .If it is whole plane I may as well cancel as statistically T and T seems inevitable.

        • Yorkieflyer says:

          If your content with a negative pcr and double jabbed, why bother waiting for the magical 0001 on the 16th august, even assuming that that relaxation applies to international arrivals

  • Lottie says:

    has anyone had any experience of the 5 day isolation in Italy? I know there are heavy fines, and it says no supermarket shopping but no one delivers to our isolated property. Whilst we can take plenty of bits with us i am worried about water/drinks and wondered about stopping from the airport to the property.

    • Save East Coast Rewards says:

      Don’t trust one persons experience over another for this as each area of Italy approach this differently. I’ve not had a visit from anyone, but others have.
      The stupid thing about these rules is they apply to anyone who enters Italy who has been in the UK in the last 14 days, but the quarantine is only 5 days.
      Recently I flew in from the UK, was staying at home in Italy for 4 days, then had to go to Spain for 3 days. In theory I’d have to do another 5 days quarantine in Italy because I had entered the country after being in the UK in the last 14 days. That meant if I followed the rules to the letter I’d have to isolate a total of 9 days in Italy. On the other hand flying Italy-Spain doesn’t even require a test but you do need to get a test to fly back to Italy both from Spain and the UK.
      If you pass a motorway service station on the way I’d say that’s the safest bet to get some supplies. They seem to sell a lot of grocery items (and lots of wine) for some reason. Although strictly speaking you shouldn’t be stopping there either you can say you needed fuel for the car and needed something to drink (which could be classed as a health reason).
      If you need to go to the supermarket just remember that theres a very small risk that someone they send to check up on you happens to be shopping at the time and then later recognises you so it’s probably best not to use the one closest to where you’re staying (but that’s being very cautious).

      • Lottie says:

        Thank you, i’ve heard that too, we are in Puglia which has always had different reporting rules than anywhere else. I thought that the petrol station may be the best bet, so will give that a go. Whilst i’m worried about being thirsty, i’m more worried about calling the health line when we arrive as from past experience no one speaks English and my Italian is not good enough for a telephone conversation!

        • Save East Coast Rewards says:

          My Italian is still terrible, in this scenario I would try and get an Italian friend on the line to act as an interpreter (if your phone/network allows multiple people on a call) or get them to call on your behalf (don’t get them to pretend to be you, in case they call you back and wonder how you suddenly lost the ability to speak Italian!)

          If you’re only over for a short while you may want to see if some of the exceptions apply to you.

    • john says:

      Italian tap water is fine to drink, although they like to ignore this and sell you water in restaurants!

      • Save East Coast Rewards says:

        True, I think the tap water in Bologna is better than London water but I still prefer bottled and most people I know here do too (except for the one with a filter tap)

      • Ls says:

        I’m not sure they were referring to water when they said ‘drinks’

  • WaynedP says:

    Not sure if reported elsewhere on HfP, but there’s talk on mylondon.news that mandatory hotel quarantine requirements will be removed for passengers returning to UK via a red list hub country (like Turkey & UAE) provided they remain within the airside area of the transit hub airport.

    If true, might this reduce need for quarantine hotels to the extent that mandatory UK hotel quarantine capacity becomes unnecessary and expensive to maintain ?

    Am longing for the removal of this particular millstone and despite having three paid, pending tickets to JNB between BA & VS, am considering purchasing yet another originating Paris or similar instead of UK and spend 10 days isolating in French gîte on return rather than CTM Travel hotel cell.

    • Sam G says:

      Was in some other news outlets a couple of days ago, so there may be an announcement this week in the travel updates.

      Doesn’t especially make sense though as in the case of the UAE/Qatar their vaccination is high and cases pretty low (not sure on specific variants) – the red listing was because of their nature as a transfer hub. So they may as well put them on Amber at the same time.

      • Rob says:

        Based on discussions we have had with ME airlines this week, it appears to be true.

    • Blair says:

      It’s becoming something of a non-issue for those visiting UAE/Qatar anyway as so many EU states are allowing entry test free and quarantine free. Granted not everyone has the means or interest but anecdotally no one in my cabin on Emirates was heading back to the UK directly post-Dubai.

      • Blair says:

        Having said that, on principle the system is ludicrous and I’ll go to my grave still complaining about it.

        • Yorkieflyer says:

          I think there is a mixture of Countdown and Bullseye played in the Cabinet room that informs the traffic lights

          • WaynedP says:

            That sophisticated, you reckon ?

            What bemuses me greatly is how a PM who once foolishly but apparently genuinely extolled having one’s cake and eating it regarding Brexit appears now to abdicate complete control to those who would follow a diametrically opposite path regarding vaccination program success – pay billions to achieve effective, nationwide double vax status, but simultaneously eschew the most prominent benefits which that protection offers citizens.

            Can’t fathom the logic myself.

    • Blenz101 says:

      This was originally floated by the Telegraph last week and seems to have been picked up by a number of local news sites.

      The problem is that is makes zero sense. The ME hubs were red listed because of their hub status and with no regard to the vaccination status or case numbers among the local population. Some politics and protectionism was also no doubt in the mix.

      There is a very good case for letting vaccinated citizens/residents fly direct between these locations. It must be costing London alone a fortune and the risk is minimal.

      I don’t see the case for creating huge amounts of hub airport demand bringing passengers in from Asia where vaccination rates are low and cases are often rising.

      But as we always say, when has anything the government has ever imposed made much sense. …

    • Sam G says:

      JNB however I suspect will be on the red list forever more so planning to get back into EU would be prudent. Are BA flying out of LHR? Perhaps you could connect here on your return to Paris so you can use one of the tickets. Red list airside transit is OK

      • Blenz101 says:

        Just travel via Ireland from South Africa. If vaccinated can enter Ireland without any restrictions. You are then in the CTA and can make your way over to the UK as a domestic passenger.

        • WaynedP says:

          But will still have to declare having been in a red list country, and could tolerate a 10-day isolation in the French paysage. Mind you, Ireland would rank as a close contender too for kicking my heels around for ten days before returning to the UK.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Declare to who last Irish flight I had disembarked right into the baggage hall

          • Blenz101 says:

            There is no passenger locator form to complete when travelling within the CTA. If you travel from Ireland > UK you are effectively treated as a domestic passenger.

          • WaynedP says:

            Would have to complete Irish PLF before would be allowed on a plane at JNB, stating I’ve been in a so-called “designated state”. But (unlike UK) I would not be subject to mandatory hotel quarantine in Ireland because I can prove I’m double vaccinated (and as long as my PCR test taken within 72 hours of entering Ireland remains negative).

            Would have to self isolate for up to 14 days somewhere in Ireland, but can be released on day ten with a negative PCR test. Would then stay another day before returning to UK and be able to truthfully state that I haven’t been in a red-list country in last 10 days.

            Why can’t UK cabinet ministers be similarly sensible (sigh) ?

            Am ethically bound to do the right thing, so trying to dodge around the rules is not an option for me.

        • Sam G says:

          You should still complete a PLF if you’ve been anywhere except the CTA in the previous 10 days. Can’t see how anyone would know if you did or didn’t, it wouldn’t be checked at any point and the UK wouldn’t know where you’ve been or even that you’d arrived back. Just watch out for jealous neighbours / ex lovers / village gossips dobbing you in !

          • WaynedP says:

            JNB entry and exit stamps in my UK passport would rightly reveal my itinerary to any UK Border Force official.

            Probably very small chance of being manually checked if using e-gates from a DUB flight, but I wouldn’t personally try to circumvent the regulations regardless of my opinion of them.

          • Sam G says:

            You don’t go near the e-gates – you get routed from the aircraft directly to the baggage hall. Again, not saying it’s the correct thing to do but there is really no way to be caught unless someone reports you, which is why the rules are quite silly where there are such easy loopholes open

      • WaynedP says:

        No direct BA passenger flights to JNB at the moment sadly. Although hoovering up a clutch of status boosting TPs by flying QR ex-Europe is an option.

    • Dave1985 says:

      The beano is probably a more reliable source than my.london

      Anything above a double figure IQ is good enough to get a gig there based on some of the rubbish “articles” they publish. “I went on the central line for the first time since March and it was soooo different”

      • WaynedP says:

        Ha ha, thanks, Dave1985 – that made me chuckle, but also wonder why your bonhomie seems to have evaporated today. Your cup usually runneth over.

        • Dave1985 says:

          Currently sat in the great British sun and putting my feet up!

          What a time to be alive!

          🇬🇧

  • Ben says:

    Random question:
    Anyone knows of great luxury hotel deals for a week in Europe (green/amber list, am double vaccinated, for a couple)?
    Any specific country / region where 5* resorts/hotels are this summer much cheaper than usual? eg Greece, Spain, Croatia, Mauritius etc…

    • Rob says:

      From what I’ve seen, people are not moving on price and are preferring to suffer lower occupancy, which also helps with distancing at meal times. St Regis Mallorca is still a reassuringly expensive €900+ per night for a standard room for example, although discounts kick in if you stay for a week. With virtually every room category showing for late August they are clearly nowhere near full.

      Best bet is often a resort where you can buy points eg 7Pines which is hugely discounted if you buy Hyatt points (which are currently on offer again) – https://www.headforpoints.com/2021/06/12/7pines-hotel-ibiza-hyatt/

      Secret Escapes is worth a dig around too, as is BA Holidays – you might find hotels quietly banging out rooms on the cheap as long as they are packaged, which disguises the discount.

    • Anna says:

      Canaries are dirt cheap. A week at the place where I’m staying is c £500 at the moment as opposed to over £1k at normal peak times.
      You know Mauritius isn’t in Europe, right?!

  • Zara says:

    Hiya – has anyone stayed at the CP gerrards cross with any first hand feedback for spire and their lounge? TIA

  • George K says:

    Just done a one-nighter at the Shangri-La at the Shard in order to use the £500 spend/£100 off Amex offer. Managed to get a £503 rate via FHR (cheapest I could find all summer), with the usual $100 credit – and perhaps more importantly 4pm checkout – so this was decent value. An unexpected bonus is that there’s a double-points promo going at the moment, which awarded 1700+ GC points for the stay. Considering I’m Jade, I plan on cashing them in for a future meal at Ting at 10GC=$1.25, which would be another good return on the total £403 spent.

    Hotel is excellent. Was upgraded to the deluxe room which was big enough for a family with a toddler in tow. View of Tower Bridge made sunrise a view to behold, and London Bridge station underneath provided a mesmerising spectacle for a train-addicted 2-year-old.

    Word of warning: You now need to book the Skypool in advance. Can’t just rock up. You’re allowed to pre-book one slot before checking in (essential for short stays), but after check-in you can get more visits via the front desk. Plenty of people arguing the toss with the pool attendants who were just trying to enforce this new rule, but I couldn’t fault it.

    • WaynedP says:

      What a lovely family memory to be able to enjoy. One to look back on when your toddler celebrates a 21st birthday one day.

      Am considering dinner at Ting on level 35 to acknowledge our own 21 yo daughter’s 1st class graduation. Time really does fly.

      • George K says:

        Thank you! I can recommend Ting based also on a previous anniversary dinner there. Book early enough and you’re almost guaranteed a window table. Mention that it’s a special event and you’re bound to get something for free too… Many congratulations to your daughter! You must be very proud!

        • WaynedP says:

          Thanks, yes I was considering using the Amex Plat concierge service to test it out after recent comments on HfP.

          She’s been accepted on a 2-yr Masters work-and-study programme with the Dept of Justice aiming to reduce recidivism.

          Like so many young people of her age, she truly challenges the selfish, greedy, self-centred label that’s so understandingly tempting to apply to people (and probably more fitting for my generation). I’m confident there’s a lot to be positive about as we hand over the reins to the next generation.

          “Good time to be alive” to quote the irrepressible Dave1985 🙂

          • Dave1985 says:

            “ I’m confident there’s a lot to be positive about as we hand over the reins to the next generation.”

            Agreed! There’s a lot of silliness when it comes to people slagging entire groups off because they were born before or after them!

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