Mass vaccination against coronavirus is underway in the UK, raising hopes of going on holiday later in 2021 without the need for travel corridors or quarantine. But before that can happen, several questions about the vaccine rollout need to be answered. Crucially, it’s not yet known whether getting the jab prevents you spreading the disease to others, so testing remains key, as do precautionary measures such as face masks.
If the vaccine does stop those who have it spreading coronavirus, it seems likely some countries will ultimately make it mandatory for entry. Similarly, some airlines and cruise companies may only allow passage to those with the vaccine. Saga has already said it will require customers on its holidays and cruises to have the vaccination. It will offer refunds to those that won’t. Qantas has also said that passengers can only travel with it if they have had the vaccine when it restarts international flights. Several countries, including Greece, are also discussing the idea of a COVID passport for travel. For a period, it’s likely we’ll see a mix of airlines and destinations requiring either testing or vaccine, as the latter becomes more widely available.
Will airlines require vaccination to board a flight?
Some are likely to, yes. Australian airline Qantas, for example, has already said it will be changing its terms and conditions to make this a requirement for all international passengers. However, some short-haul European carriers have said they are unlikely to introduce similar measures. Ryanair, easyJet and Aer Lingus will not introduce mandatory vaccinations for passengers, it has been reported, with Aer Lingus instead calling for rapid testing. However, if European countries introduce a requirement to be vaccinated, airlines may be required to check passengers’ right to entry before boarding the plane. This has already happened in 2020 with testing. For some countries, airlines have been required to check if a passenger has taken the required test, before boarding.