Covid rules for flying with UK airlines like Ryanair, Jet2 and EasyJet - and where to get Covid tests for each airline

Covid flight rules for travelling to and from the UK can be confusing – here are the UK airline Covid-19 rules you need to know and how to get Covid tests for Ryanair, Jet2, EasyJet flights and more.

Wednesday, 15th September 2021, 5:00 pm
Covid rules for flying with UK airlines like Ryanair, Jet2 and EasyJet - and where to get your Covid-19 tests for each airline (Image credit: Getty Images)

As life returns to normal after lockdown, many people are seizing on the opportunity to travel and go on holiday abroad once more.

But the persistence of the coronavirus pandemic means that international travel still comes with replete restrictions, guidelines and measures to which travellers must adhere.

Knowing what is required for flying into or out of Scotland and the rest of the UK can be quite confusing, with different Covid tests required for different destinations and new forms of documentation required for those travelling abroad.

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As Coronavirus travel restrictions remain in place across the world, Covid tests and face masks remain on flights abroad for the foreseeable future. (Image Credit: Inkdrop/Katso/Getty Images)

So here’s what you need to know about flying into and out of the UK, including face mask rules for UK airlines, where to get your Covid travel tests and what documentation you might need to comply with Covid travel regulations and airline rules.

Do I need to wear a face mask onboard my UK flight?

As per current government guidance on wearing face masks, the bulk of UK airlines require passengers to wear face coverings on board their flights – regardless of whether you have been double vaccinated.

Covid flight rules for EasyJet, Ryanair, British Airways, TUI and Jet2 all stipulate that passengers must wear an appropriate cloth or surgical face covering for the duration of their flight, as well as in airports and any pre- or post-boarding areas.

Face masks should be worn on flights by everyone over six-years-old unless they are exempt for medical reasons.

You should ensure that you bring enough face masks to last the duration of your flight for you and your family, with face masks typically lasting around four hours at a time.

Scarves, face visors or masks with valves are not permitted on EasyJet flights, while some countries have unique requirements for face masks to be worn on flights.

Germany and Austria require passengers to wear FFP2 face masks for travel to, from and within these countries.

Italy mandates surgical face masks to be worn at its airports and onboard flights into and out of the country.

What travel documents do I need for UK air travel?

To comply with current Covid travel requirements and ensure your admittance into whichever country you are travelling to, and the UK upon your return, you will need to fill out a passenger locator form in advance of your flight.

This form is free to fill in online on the GOV.UK website and should be completed before your flight, but after booking any necessary Covid travel tests.

Passenger locator forms are required so that you can be contacted if someone you travel with or another passenger on your flight develops Covid symptoms.

But it can also be used to check that you are following any relevant quarantine rules – with information kept for 42 days before it is deleted.

You should check the entry requirements of the destination to which you are flying in advance to see if any further documentation is required, especially as entry requirements can change as the virus continues to spread and mutate quickly.

Proof of vaccination status may also be required to enter some countries, and to avoid quarantining when returning from an amber list country to the UK.

People living in Scotland can download their vaccine certificate or passport online from NHS Inform as a PDF or QR code, while those living in England and Wales can do this by accessing the NHS Covid Pass.

Return to the UK and Scotland from countries on the green, amber and red list for travel will require a Covid test result proving that you do not have Covid-19.

The type of test required will depend on the country you are returning from and its risk status on the UK traffic light travel system.

For instance, green list countries such as Germany, Norway and Barbados do not require you to quarantine upon return to the UK so long as you can provide proof that you have not caught Covid abroad by completing a Covid-19 test before arriving back in the UK.

You must provide your original test result certificate which can be in paper, email or text message form but include:

- your name (matching the name on your travel documents)

- your age or date of birth

- the negative test result

- the date the test sample was collected or received by the company or business who did the test

- the name of the company or business who did the test and their contact details

- the name of your test device

- the date the test sample was collected or received by the company or business who did the test

This test result information must be in either English, French or Spanish and you might need to request this if you are getting your return test in a country with a different primary language.

Covid tests for UK air travel

The majority of international destinations now require some form of proof that you do not have coronavirus before you can enter a country.

While some green listed countries such as Germany and France allow a professionally-administered negative rapid antigen lateral flow test result for proof of being Covid-free to pass through borders, negative PCR test results are more commonly required.

You can use our handy guide to getting a PCR test for travel in Scotland to find out where you can get a PCR travel test near you.

It is worth remembering that Scottish travellers cannot use Day 5 Test to Release tests on offer to those returning to the UK from amber list countries in England and Wales.

And you should check what type of Covid testing the country you are visiting accepts before booking.

But here are the recommended test partners for every major UK airline which can provide you with discounted PCR or lateral flow tests.

Ryanair

The budget airline recommends Covid testing for Ryanair passengers at the following private clinics as well as airport testing centres such as Edinburgh Airport ExpressTest.

- CityDoc: nationwide home-testing for international UK arrivals with Covid19 Day 2 Test for £59.99 or Covid19 Day 2 & 8 Tests available for £114.99

- Breathe Assured

EasyJet

EasyJet offers discounts on Covid departure and arrival testing with the following partners:

- Collinson: 20% off, in-person testing for EasyJet passengers at English airports from £40 for a lateral flow test to £69 for a PCR test

- Randox: With prices from £43, Randox offer a discount testing kits that you can use at home and send off for results

- Boots

Jet2

Jet2 recommends Covid testing for passengers at a range of different partners and private clinics with various test types and discounts available.

These include:

- Randox: at-home PCR tests available from just £43.

- Chronomics: discounts available for Jet2 travellers who book individual Day 2 tests (£75), their Return to UK and Day 2 Test bundle (£79) and more when using the discount code ‘holiday8’.

- Well Pharmacy

- Boots

British Airways

British Airways also provides their travellers with a variety of different testing partners and recommended Covid test providers to choose from when booking their holiday.

The airline offers discounts for the following private testing operators:

- Breathe Assured: Discounted lateral flow tests for leaving and entering the UK which can be taken at home and supervised online for £33 each.

- Chronomics: £22.40 rapid lateral flow home tests tests for leaving and entering the UK, £79 Day 2 Test for return to UK and £139 Day 2 and 8 Test deal for return to UK

- CityDoc: £75 tests for leaving the UK, £25 lateral flow tests for entering the UK and more when using the code ‘BA35’

- ExpressTest: £124 for Day 2 and Day 8 Tests, £57 tests for UK departure tests, £66 for Day 2 Tests when arriving in the UK with code ‘BA21’

TUI

Known for its package holiday deals, airline TUI has exclusive Covid test packages from Chronomics for £20 for those booking its Marella Cruise or TUI River cruises.

But it has also partnered with the following providers to bring TUI passengers cheaper Covid testing options:

- Screen4: Pre-travel home testing kits for £55 each, PCR Day 2 and 8 Tests for £105 per person.

- Klarity: Basic, standard and premium self-administered PCR tests from £24.90.

- Randox: At-home PCR tests for £43 each.

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