It is once again time to catch up on some recent stories about travel.
Vaccinated and thinking about international travel? There are scores of countries that are currently open to visitors from the U.S. with various requirements for entry such as vaccination proof, quarantines, and negative Covid-19 testing results. This list of countries and entry requirements is current as of May 2, 2021. You can bet the list of countries and the requirements for entry will change as the virus situation changes. Get the latest information before making plans and leaving for your trip. Almost all international airline tickets can be cancelled or changed without fees: so making plans is good as long as you can be flexible.
Speaking of international travel, the EU has submitted a proposal to allow vaccinated people to travel to Europe. The proposal, which could be implemented by the end of June, would grant people who have received the last recommended dose of an E.U.-authorized vaccine and their children the chance to visit, regardless of the coronavirus outbreak levels in their countries.
Unvaccinated citizens of non-European countries would be allowed to visit as the health situation improves in their countries. Many questions remain unanswered, including exactly how visitors would prove their vaccination status and how the system would address privacy concerns. Travelers might still be subject to quarantines or other tests depending on the decision of their destination country. The proposal is still subject to change and will ultimately need the approval of E.U. member states in addition to the European Commission, the bureaucracy that wrote it. Greece is charting its own course and plans reopening to vaccinated tourists on May 15. It is not clear what suffices as proof of vaccination.
Florida declares victory over Covid-19. Declaring Florida’s COVID-19 emergency over and done, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday signed an executive order invalidating all remaining local emergency COVID orders and signed a bill into law that bars businesses, schools and government entities across Florida from asking anyone to provide proof of a COVID-19 vaccination. Florida’s approach contradicts Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance letting cruise ships operate in U.S. waters if 95% of passengers and 98% of crew are vaccinated. In response, at least one major cruise line, Norwegian Cruise Lines, has may cease sailing to Florida. Way to go DeSantis, you moron.
Get Bamboo Airways Status Without Flying. Bamboo Airways is a two-year-old Vietnamese carrier based in Hanoi that offers service to Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan, as well as domestic service using a fleet of Airbus narrow-body jets, Boeing 787s, and Embraer regional jets.
The airline plans San Francisco flights this fall and European destinations including London Heathrow as soon as pandemic conditions permit. It announced a Bamboo Airways status match for elites in any airline’s program that’s part of a major world alliance, up to their top tier, and they aren’t requiring any flights in order to get it. Normally, airlines will match status only after completing a challenge requiring several flights in a limited time period, and top status is usually excluded. For flights around Vietnam and Southeast Asia, my preference is VietJet Air a.k.a. Bikini Airlines, even though cabin crew are now more modestly dressed.
Seattle-Tacoma Airport is testing appointments for TSA screening. If you’re flying out of Seattle, there is a new way to get through the general screening security checkpoint faster called SEA Spot Saver. Travelers fill out an online form and receive an appointment for a 15-minute window at a screening checkpoint. Spot saver is available daily from 4 a.m. to noon (the busiest times) at Checkpoints 2 and 5. Participants are notified when to go into their assigned checkpoint. The program is free and requires no membership but is presently not open to those with TSA Precheck or CLEAR. If the program is successful, it will be expanded to include those with trusted-traveler status. The trial runs through August 31, 2021.
This sounds like a great idea. We’ll see how well it works.
I have a trip to Greece planned for October. Do your future plans include travel? We should all be prepared for last minute changes.
It blows my mind that Florida Governor DeSantis and the state legislature think it is a good idea to prevent businesses or governmental entities from asking about vaccine status. Florida’s rule effectively bars all use of vaccine passports in the state. Maybe it’s just me?