From London to Rome: Flying During the Covid-19 Pandemic

From London to Rome: Flying During the Covid-19 Pandemic

The opening of Air Corridors by the UK Government, at the beginning of July, has given us back the freedom of travelling abroad, without being forced to self-isolate for 14 days (See Corona Virus Travel Corridors).

Not every country in the world has been exempted from the quarantine period when entering the United Kingdom, and the rules are constantly changing, depending on the spread of the virus.

However, travelling is not anymore like we used to remember.

Flying with Alitalia

I decided to fly from London to Rome with Alitalia, the flag carrier of Italy, as I did not want to risk a last-minute cancellation (mostly happening with low-cost airlines).

Alitalia is currently offering low prices for Italian destinations and has applied a free change policy on all bookings made until the 30th of September. This means that you will not be charged for the change of the ticket, but you may need to pay a difference in price if the new flight is more expensive than the one you bought.

I also like the fact that with Alitalia, even with an Economy ticket, you are entitled to bring a piece of hand luggage plus a small bag to put under the seat, with no extra fee.

Arrival at Heathrow

All flights at Heathrow Airport are now operating from Terminals 2 and 5.

For the safety of every passenger, new rules have been introduced at the airport:

  • Arrive no more than 2 hours before a European flight, and no more than 3 hours before for an Intercontinental flight.
  • Entrance is limited to people with a flight booking.
  • Face covering is a mandatory requirement in all areas of the airport.
  • Keep a 1 or 2 meters distance from another person.

To make sure social distancing is observed at all time, the airport has been organized with one-way flows, signage on the floor to ensure you keep the right distance at drop-off points and marked seating spaces, in a way that no other people can sit next to you.

Boarding the Plane

Arrival at the gate and a member of the Alitalia staff will hand you a self-declaration form to present to the hostess before boarding, where you declare that you do not have any symptoms of Covid-19.

For the boarding process, the hostess will start calling passengers in blocks by the number of rows, to avoid queues and crowds inside the plane. Also, you will not be allowed to get inside the plane without first checking your temperature.

Headed to Rome 

On my way to Rome, the flight was almost full. Therefore it was impossible for the airline to keep one seat empty between each passenger. This is why it was compulsory to wear a face covering during the flight and remain seated as much as possible.

Moreover, to limit any interaction between the staff and passengers, the service for food and drinks onboard was suspended.

Back to London

On the way back to London, I flew from Rome Fiumicino, where airport rules to contain the virus were the same as in Heathrow.

The only addition was that to enter the UK, it was mandatory to fill an online form to provide your journey and contact details. You can complete the form up to 24 hours before your flight.

A Final Thought

I have to admit, I was a bit scared to travel during this pandemic because I did not know what to expect but my experience was good.

The major airports in London and Rome are very well organized, hand sanitizers are everywhere and even if there are new rules and limitations, everything worked - thanks to big spaces and not so many people travelling at this time.

This post has been written by Elisa, traveller and digital marketing passionate. You can find her on her own blog, RomExperience, dedicated to the discovery of her beloved home city of Rome, and London, where she has lived for 3 years.