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The HfP chat thread – Monday 29th November

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

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Comments (586)

  • Grimz says:

    I arrive back in the UK from USA on Saturday 4th December and have a connection up to ABZ at 12.15. I have booked a PCR with Chronomics for a 2 day test and have cancelled my LFT test that I originally booked hopefully for a refund from Chronomics. Am I free to take my connecting flight to ABZ? Would I be better asking Chronomics to test us at Heathrow during our stopover? The difference in price of the tests is surely reimbursed via your travel insurance.

    • Rich says:

      You can do either. Obviously the result is likely to come through much quicker if you test at LHR, vs a postal test at home.

    • GeorgeJ says:

      Your travel insurance must be better than mine if you think the difference in the cost of tests will be re-imbursed!

  • ianM says:

    Yes, just take the connection and test at home, all covered in previous blog.

  • Track says:

    It is basically a loophole and health authorities better catch up with this.

    If you take PCR right off the plane, “might as well not bother”.

    PCR at Day 0 will not likely to catch any recent infection you might catch on plane, eg from the last 2-10 hours. That’s unrealistic.

    • John says:

      If you were infected on the plane at least one person will test positive and the whole flight will be traced to isolate (if omicron)

      • Track says:

        @John this is pure conjecture, definitely not valid for short haul flights.

        Basically PCR test on Day 0 is bogus and you are supposed to self-isolate before positive result anyway. You need to give it time for the virus to develop and become traceable.

    • BJ says:

      Why is that? An LHR test could prove to be a false negative while a later test at ANZ or wherever could be a true positive. It is not about your perceived loopholes, it’s about physiological and analytical constraints.

      • Track says:

        Oh mine, another conjecture for the sake of it. False positives and false negatives are not central to the discussion, they are under 1% each. Can be more, no matter.

        The indisputable fact is that it is not reasonable to expect for PCR to detect an infection caught in the last 2 hours or even 10 hours.

        Plus if you are double-jabbed you have a decent degree of protection even against Omicron, so you might be asymptomatic and shedding 20 copies of virus instead of 100,000+ even days after infection. So even as test amplifies DNA fragments, your PCR will come negative.

    • Rui N. says:

      A PCR at day 2 won’t likely catch an infection on a plane either. Don’t know if there is data for Omicron yet, but for Delta the average incubation day is longer than 2 days. For the original virus it was something like 5.
      Also, people can catch the virus before getting on the plane… and they tell us it’s almost impossible to catch it on a plane in any case

      • Track says:

        Agree but Day 2 has at least some probability to catch it, maybe in double digits.

        Day 0 catch probability is vanishingly small.

        I would classify plane as risk, especially if one doesn’t wash/disinfect hands. But those two SA KLM flights with 60 positive PCRs are probably anomaly and due to the fact that some people botched their PCR certificates.

        • Travel Strong says:

          Oh great, another “conjecture for the sake of it”.

          • Track says:

            Day 2 PCR has at least some probability to catch it, maybe in double digits.

            Day 0 PCR catch probability is vanishingly small. [of catching travel-related infection, thats a given in context]

            Where is the conjecture?

          • Track says:

            “Based on the ventilation systems on aircraft, I think it would be very unlikely you’d have a super spreading event where 50 people on the flight get sick from one person,” said Dr. Henry Wu, an assistant professor and senior physician at the Emory University School of Medicine

            The above was the thinking of 2020. Maybe there is better thinking now?
            Therefore it is reasonable assume that having 30+ positives/per plane is an outlier and requires an alternative explanation.

            Option 1. Low quality PCR tests. Now, SA health system takes pride in their sequencing capability due to the need to service a large HIV-carrying population.

            Option 2. Fakes PCR tests (or commercial labs throwing samples out, which is also faking it but on their part).

            The alternatives are even less plausible, that Omicron is super-contagious with infection times as little as under 1h.. or that KLM planes should be grounded immediately as their ventilation systems pose health risks. Now these are the real conjectures.

    • Ian M says:

      Yes they should ban all international travel, or at least enforce hotel quarantine for 10 days for everyone.

      • Lee says:

        Don’t 10 days is enough, I think Hongkong is doing 21 days

        • John says:

          Shenyang is 28 days hotel then 28 days at home

          • Ian M says:

            That sounds right. 28 days in a secure hotel, then 28 days at home with a prisoner tag on.

          • Lee says:

            Not just tag also sensor on the door and cctv installed in front of your house, not kidding

          • Ian M says:

            Good idea Lee. Worth looking into the technology to allow the tag to electrocute the person if they attempt to leave

      • Andy says:

        @track, the KLM incidents were related to one or two big tour groups I thought? Or sport? Am sure I read the majority of the positives were interconnected

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Some ridiculous comments from you in this thread

      Who said the Day 2 test is about catching COVID infections taking place on the plane? It’s unlikely you’ll test positive within 2 days of being exposed to it anyway.

      Anyway for people to catch it on the plane someone has to have been infectious and they will test positive, if that’s the new scariant it will condemn atleast those nearby, if not the whole plane, to quarantine.

      There is no loophole and the on or before day 2 has been in place ever since the day 2 tests were introduced.

      • Aston100 says:

        Everyone is a scientist these days.

        • patrick says:

          It`s incredible, isn`t it? People without the slightest interest in these matters two years ago now pontificate freely.

          • Track says:

            Not sure who you were referring to.

            Two years ago we were here, well in February 2020 for sure, and yes looking at airflow models and meaning of RT-PCR testing. You were not here and not slightly interested in the oncoming pandemic.

        • BJ says:


          … toddlers and monkeys do a better job, at the very least they usually resort to trial and error to figure stuff out.

      • Track says:

        Not sure if that was a response to me.

        But I would give a probability of Day 2 PCR test to catch an infection from Day 0 (arrival day) or Day -1 (travel day) to be above single digits. It is also down to the quality of PCR testing and number of replication cycles:

        “Ten cycles theoretically multiply the amplicon by a factor of about one thousand; 20 cycles, by a factor of more than a million in a matter of hours.”

        PCR testing can be very powerful and amplify even individual/few copies of virus into noticeable 10,000 and 100,000s.

        However, if you pick something at Day 0 and test at Day 0, the virus might be on your surfaces but alive and not entered cells/any notable amount of cells yet. Basically, you are not shedding anything yet, nothing to be detected even if you amplify to 1,000,000 of DNA fragments.

        The value of PCR test at Day 0 (in determining recent infection) is diminishingly low, negligible.

        The value of PCR test at Day 2 is definitely not negligible.

  • Save East Coast Rewards says:

    I’m enjoying excellent service on my flight from MIA-LHR. I’m in CW but as most of the cabin went to sleep early I’ve been getting service almost as attentive as first.

    What surprised me was how bad the NGCW aisle seats feel. I’ve always had window seats before and I think they’re great (particularly the ones where you don’t have to step over someone). But the aisle ones feel like you’re sleeping on a shelf and you end up sticking out into the aisle.

    So my thoughts. The (old) NGCW product is better on the small number of window seats with direct aisle access but club suites is better in all other cases

    • Track says:

      Smart move to have a travel/holiday the moment stable door opened.

      We hold a resemblance of normality for 3 weeks, and week 4 is back to the restrictions and bans.

      • Yuff says:

        As we’ve seen throughout the whole year the chances of catching covid on a flight are very low, the KLM flights from Africa are an outlier.
        This is being used to boost vaccination figures in western countries, just in time for a park in socialising.
        If the UK’s figures are anything to go buy there is no way they’ll get further restrictions passed anyone if the deaths and hospitalisations keep on dropping like they have done for the past 3 weeks.
        13 weekly deaths per 1m people……..

        • Track says:

          On the Covid onset in March 2020, there was a piece from Rob looking at air flow simulations in an airplane. Conclusion then, no set pattern and passengers more than several rows behind/front can catch it while passengers in the immediate row behind not. Happy to get corrected.

          What I observed is passengers turning and shutting down the air vents — not trusting the airplane ventilation and filtration system. Which is wrong behaviour, I think and its best to keep ventilation on.

    • mr_jetlag says:

      Just landed from my Singapore excursion (F out, J back) and I agree. 16A/K on legacy club world trumps even the F cabin for cosiness.

      • Polly says:

        Hope you managed a good sleep then.. and you didn’t need a PCR. Great timing. Did you manage to get into the Qauntas or Marhaba lounge? The M was better than the QS last time we were there just before lockdown 1.
        It’s gorgeous here today. Moved out to the W on Sentosa, marine view balcony. Really feels like on holiday now. The Goodwood Park (AAdvantage miles) was superb also, for the past few days, once we got over the shock. Great location in Orchard. Great food.
        Watching developments closely with Omni, tho.

  • Track says:

    One more from me today, before I shut up.

    BBC “Covid: Dutch police arrest quarantine hotel escapee couple”

    Now we are back to the new norm of police (well Dutch) hunting down people with positive PRC just for the sake of it and because they can.

    I am 100% confident that if you get a bicycle stolen or hit by a car, the very same police will respond to you they can’t do nothing and trace nothing. They’ll probably do the same if you get robbed, knifed and there are no witnesses/CCTV. “Can’t trace.”

    • John says:

      If you are hit by a car they will certainly try to do something, simple theft then maybe nothing. If there is no CCTV how is anyone supposed to find a perpetrator? They already knew who the quarantined people were so they will be found

      • Track says:

        @John, my partner was hit by a car in Aldwych area, next to High Commission of India.
        That was pre-Covid.

        Police said the council has turned down cameras and they can’t do nothing. There were life witnesses who left phone numbers, police was unable to contact/find them afterwards (OK didn’t return calls, but definitely not bothered to request customer name and address from the mobile company). Even if they borrowed phone or used dad’s line, it must be possible to reach and trace, especially for a car hit and run incident with confirmed A&E and injuries.

        “No can do”.

      • Track says:

        The point is, the police (again, Dutch) does not hesitate to put a country-wide arrest warrant in all systems for the reason of positive PCR. Then, coordinate among agencies and pull the passengers off the plane ready for take off. 007 stuff.
        They have resources to do that, and organise the hunt.

        But they don’t have resources to request personal details from a mobile operator (don’t want to bother with paperwork for the courts) in case of car hit and run.

        • ChrisC says:

          It wasn’t just because of the positive test it was because they escaped from the location where they were required to stay in isolation.

          They then boarded a plane at AMS for Spain.

          read the details here

        • Nb says:

          Please read the following Articles of the ECHR 5,6 & 7.

          • Track says:

            Given the confirmed circumstances — that other Omicron carriers have already been in Europe for two weeks — it is extreme and disproportional mount a national hunt operation on the same grounds, against that specific couple even if an isolation order was made to them.

            The isolated and quarantined people are clearly helpless and without access to justice, they cannot apply to a court to review an isolation order.

            Read Article 5 of ECHR yourself. It talks about “lawful detention” — does being in mandated isolation/quarantine equates to lawful detention?

            For once, quarantine order imposed by a public health authority, not a court…

    • MQ says:

      After having buried my aunt and my 55 your old cousin due to covid last week, I’m happy the Dutch police put strict measures in place. And yes my fam. is in The Netherlands. Sadly, like in many other places, some Dutch are not compliant with covid measures. The problem is your non-compliance can have serious consequences for others…..

      • Track says:

        I am very sorry for your losses. I too had a very, very similar family situation.

        However, those serious consequences will occur. The measures including quarantine will not stop the spread of mutations and eventual domination of the most contagious, and most vaccine-evading variant. That it would be the most mild is not guaranteed though.

        The best people at risk can do is to organise their own routine, plan for food deliveries, do not use public transport. In the end why rely on kindness of strangers? And regardless of all morality discussions here, some people will travel or go to a place worship or drive your Uber, knowingly with symptoms.

        Given the risk profile of n-SARS-Cov-2, a positive PCR should NOT warrant an active national search and hunt special operation. That is extreme and disproportional to the confirmed circumstances (that other Omicron carriers have already been in Europe for two weeks).

    • Blenz101 says:

      I think you have missed the point. The Dutch police have put this out to make an example of the couple.

      If you are staying in a C-19 quarantine facility and decide to slip out via a fire escape or similar the message is expect the authorities to catch up with you.

      The whataboutism isn’t relevant to the message that quarantine is not something you can just token show up for then walk out of if you don’t agree with it.

      A few arrests / clampdowns in the UK for people using the same PCR/LFT code 10 times on their PLF or editing PDFs to create negative certificates may have resulted in a many people thinking twice about doing so. As things stand the advice is “nobody checks or follows up” so the result is many seasoned travellers continue to do what they want.

      • Track says:


        I made my points above. 1) Mandatory quarantine does not raise to a degree of lawful detention. If you leave, you might be prosecuted but this is not a prison break and a police hunt situation.

        2) People in quarantine are without access to justice. Their ability to apply for a judicial review is severely limited.

    • peter says:

      I had my bike stolen in city centre so probably lots of cameras around – years later still nothing. Some time ago I also found a bike abandoned in a local park (thrown far away into a pond, very likely stolen earlier), reported it and few months later it was still there.. I understand it’s a low priority but with such approach I’m not surprised I will never here from MET.

    • Anna says:

      Apparently one was a Spanish national – interesting as it’s also been reported that Spanish police are seeking a group of Dutch travellers who have disappeared from their hotel after testing positive.

  • Anonymus says:

    how are all the HFP traders doing.sold the stock or buying in the dip or guessing when the ‘dip’ might be. Just interested. whats happening is terrible 🙁

  • Jimmy says:

    Good morning,
    I’m looking for advise on booking rewards flight when they are released. The whole 355 days before is fine but what number do you call in the US and does it get straight though or do they put you on hold for an hour?

    • JohnT says:

      Phone nos on ba website. Can use skype for free. Usually reported as quicker response on here.

  • Andrew says:

    Changing the subject, EasyJet Holidays offer on Platinum card this morning – spend £1250, get £300 back (by 31/12).

    • Cat says:

      I’ve got this too. I assume there’s no reason I can’t use it to book something for someone else?

      • Polly says:

        Good morning Cat! How was that bus journey? X

        • Cat says:

          Hey Polly, sorry, got into work and barely had a moment to eat lunch, as usual! Do you mean the commute? It’s always tedious, with maskless tools as far as the eye can see!

          How’s Singapore? I’m so very jealous right now – it’s soooooo cold here!

          Covid was awful – I barely remember the first few days, I was so feverish and sleeping so much. The cough still won’t go, and I’m still suffering from exhaustion and brain fog, big time. TBH it amazes me that I didn’t get it sooner, given my job.

          How have you been? Are you still travelling for work? X

      • Lady London says:

        Hey Cat how was your Covid.
        Lots of network problems here so might have missed if you posted

        • Cat says:

          Hi Lady London, I just realised that I didn’t make it in any way clear that the last two paragraphs (above) were in reply to you (the first two were in reply to Polly), but you had no way of knowing that whatsoever, in the absence of the ability to mindread!
          It’s been a long term! X

    • AT says:

      Could this be used to pay an outstanding easyjet holidays bill?

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