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, face masks, and vaccinations; all kinds of new things to keep in mind when you travel 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 until the 8th of November. 

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. A negative PCR test is required from the 8th of November 2021. You can book your PCR Fit to Fly test in advance, the prices are starting at £59.00. There are multiple locations throughout the country and at the airports.

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. Your mask may only be taken off if you would like to eat or drink something. The aircraft 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.

Quarantine upon Arrival

As of April 10th 2021, you’re no longer required to go into quarantine upon arrival in New York if you’re not showing any symptoms. Quarantine is still recommended for all travellers who are not fully vaccinated or have not recovered from COVID-19 during the previous 3 months. Taking a corona test on the fourth day is not required anymore either. Despite the coronavirus in New York, most attractions are open.

Vaccination Requirements

A WHO-approved COVID-19 vaccination is required to travel to the USA. For indoor dining and entertainment, such as museums and theatres, you are also required to show proof that you are vaccinated. This means that for most attractions in New York, you need to be vaccinated to enter. This official vaccination record must include your personal details and vaccination information. The requirement does not apply to children under 12 years of age.

COVID-19 test in New York

If you need to do a corona test in New York, there are dozens of places you can get tested for free. 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 and take a COVID-19 test in the 3 days before you fly. When you’re back in the UK, it’s mandatory to take another COVID-19 test. You can take this test directly at the terminal of Heathrow and Gatwick upon arrival. This test is called Day 0-2 PCR Test, which you can book here.

If you are not fully vaccinated you must quarantine for 10 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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