New York Flight during COVID-19

New York Flight during COVID 19

A New York flight during COVID-19 is different from what you’re used to. Corona tests, quarantine, face masks; all kinds of new things to keep in mind when you go to New York now. I’ll explain step by step which rules apply when you fly to New York and what you should take into account if you want to travel to New York during the corona pandemic.

Currently, there is negative travel advice for the United States and a travel ban to New York from European countries. Traveling to New York is only possible in specific situations.

COVID-19 test before departure

Before boarding the plane, you must possess a negative corona test. This must be taken within 72 hours of arrival in New York. If allowed, it’s useful to use a rapid test, so that you have the test results quickly. Always check with your airline whether a rapid test is valid. You’re not always asked to actually show the test result but you must still possess a negative test.

Flight and Arrival in New York

Most airlines have strict guidelines during the flight. For example, on many flights, some of the seats are unoccupied and it’s mandatory to wear a face mask throughout the flight. This may only be taken off if you would like to eat or drink something. The aircrafts are also cleaned more often and more thoroughly. The arrival at JFK or Newark Airport is not incredibly different from what you’re used to. At the airports it’s mandatory to wear a mouth mask, which can only be removed if you have to identify yourself with Immigration. You must also have a New York State Traveler Health Form in your possession. I advise you to fill in this form digitally before leaving home, this is easiest to do on a computer. At the end of the form, make a print screen when this is requested, This print screen you must show at the airport. If you have not already completed the form at home, you can scan a QR code at the airport to do this on your mobile. However, this is less convenient. You have to show the print screen at JFK and Newark before you can leave the airport. All other procedures at immigration and customs are the same as always.

Quarantine upon Arrival

Upon arrival in New York, you’re required to go into quarantine for three days. On the fourth day you must be tested again. When you test negative again, you’re free to come and go as you please. If you don’t get tested, you must remain in quarantine for 14 days. After the quarantine period, you’re then free to move around and explore the city without a mandatory test. Despite the coronavirus in New York, many attractions are open.

COVID-19 test in New York

There are dozens of places you can get tested for free in New York. I have been to a few CityMD locations for corona tests, which can be found all over the city. Keep in mind that many test locations have long lines from early in the morning. Make sure you are there at least 30 minutes before the opening of the store, when the queue is usually still short. Everyone in line wears a face mask and adheres to the distance rule. Once inside you’ll be asked for your ID, but it’s no problem if it’s not a US ID. You may also be asked for an insurance card, but since the test is free of charge anyway, it doesn’t matter if you don’t have one, testing at CityMD turned out to be pretty ok for me. The test was actually very extensive, even my temperature and blood pressure were tested. I had to answer some simple questions and five minutes later I was outside again. Then after half an hour I received an email with the result of the test.

Back in the UK

Before you return to the UK you must provide your journey and contact details in a passenger locator form. When you’re traveling back to the UK, it’s mandatory to quarantine for another 14 days. Different rules apply in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Therefore, follow all the rules that apply to you.

Eric’s tip: I flew back and forth myself and my experience was that I was checked more strictly on arrival in New York than in the UK. I was kept very well informed by the airline on both the outward and return journeys about the rules in force at the time. When you’re going to fly always check with your airline for the most current rules and guidelines, both on the outward and return journey.
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