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My family arrived in the UK last week and here is what it has been like since our arrival.
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This post is based on my personal experience traveling in the UK over the last week. Some of my experiences may be different than what’s expected or elsewhere reported. My observations are my own and while they are purely anecdotal, I hope that this offers some insight through my eyes for those who are curious and not traveling to the UK right now.
Arrival Into The UK Under COVID Protocols, Omicron
Flying into the UK requires a certain amount of preparation. In another post, I will walk through the various guidelines for both arrival preparations and the testing protocol for vaccinated, unvaccinated, and minors but in this post I will keep things simple.
We submitted our required documents including a negative COVID-19 result, and the tracking for our ordered tests to be completed upon arrival. This gave us a document we were able to carry with us to the check-in counter at our departing airport. A “Eulen” (third-party contractor) employee looked at the documents, didn’t check them for more than a second, and didn’t match them to our IDs. The document looked like a printed word form with capital letters in some areas and that was about it.
The contractor handed us a re-used scrap of paper (ours had been used to the point that the corners were heavily folded, and there was other people’s handwriting all over them) which we handed to our check-in agent at the airport. This was the only time we presented documentation during our journey. I’m not exactly a germaphobe, but given that the scraps were to indicate we had been vetted for health-related entry concerns, this seemed to be a poor idea generally (how expensive would it be to not re-use the same scraps?)
Upon arrival in London, we, like others in the immigration line at Heathrow faced an HM Customs and Border Patrol agent. He stood to be able to see our daughter who is not tall enough to be visible from his seated position. He asked us the purpose of our visit, intentions in the country and waved us through. We had our documents in hand but they were never requested.
We were shocked that despite the omicron variant becoming a particularly significant public health issue in the UK, those documents were evaluated neither in the United States nor in the UK.
Endless COVID Testing
All travelers, even those that are fully …….