Travel advice before you go. Iceland in a post Covid-19 world

Passengers arriving in Iceland can opt for a COVID-19 test upon arrival as an alternative to quarantine. The test costs approx 11,000 ISK, £65 on arrival into Iceland or £53 if booked in advance, which we will pay for Discover the World clients travelling in July, August and September. The test can be pre-booked before you arrive in Iceland. For those looking to travel to Iceland at this time, we have collated a list of information and resources of what you need to know before you depart.

For information regarding what to do when you arrive in Iceland read this guide. For information regarding arrival back to the UK from Iceland please read this guide.

What is the FCO advice in regards to safe air travel?

The FCO have published guidelines on how to travel safely in airports and on aircraft during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. You can read their recommendations here. 

I am considering a trip to Iceland over the coming months, how do I get there?

With Iceland easing restrictions on international travel by mid-June, Icelandair have released a new flight schedule over the coming months. For our clients looking to travel to Iceland during the summer, flights will be operating out of London Heathrow and Glasgow Airport.

 

What measures are Icelandair taking to help protect passengers and staff?

Together with Keflavik airport, Icelandair are working hard to ensure your safety when travelling to and from Iceland. They are asking passengers to stay at home if you show any symptoms of illness, wash your hands regularly, and use hand sanitiser dispensers where they are available. They may ask you routine health-related questions during your travels to make sure you are fit to fly.

Checking in for your flight

  • Boarding Pass: You can check in online and access your Icelandair boarding pass with Passbook/Wallet or store it to be scanned at the gate on the day of your flight – exactly like you would a paper boarding pass. Just open the link in the email confirmation you receive after checking in online through your home computer or mobile device. Your boarding passes will save directly to your Passbook/Wallet.
  • Self-service check in: Icelandair have self-service check in kiosks at both Heathrow and Keflavik.

Boarding

  • You will be asked to observe the 2-meter / 6-foot rule during boarding.
  • Please allow more time for boarding and avoid making long lines.
  • Once on board the plane, you will be asked to take your seat immediately.
  • Icelandair will hand out water bottles to all passengers when boarding.

Onboard

  • Surfaces are specifically disinfected before you board: screens, seat belts and buckles, tray tables, arm rests and window shades, light switches and air circulation controls, head rests, overhead lockers.
  • Consider not travelling with hand luggage to minimise contact and limit unnecessary movement around the cabin. If you have hand luggage with you, place it under the seat in front of you rather than in the overhead compartment.
  • Restrooms are disinfected before you board.
  • Service on board is limited to minimise contact between passengers and crew members.
  • In Economy there will be no meal or beverage service (including no meals for children). Passengers will be given water upon boarding. In Saga Premium passengers will be given water upon boarding, and will receive a light, pre-packed meal.
  • Stay in your seat as much as possible during the flight.
  • Maintain personal space as best you can and show kindness and understanding towards your fellow passengers.
  • Where possible the middle seats will be left empty (but this is subject to passenger numbers and may not always been possible). If you have a middle seat, you may be asked to move to a window or aisle seat instead.
  • The HEPA – High Efficiency Particulate Air filters on board mean the air on board is better than in an office environment.
  • The air supply is fresh – the same air is not circulated on board for longer than 2-3 minutes, as it passes through a series of filters 20-30 times per hour, providing a regular supply fresh of cabin air.
  • According to WHO, the World Health Organization, the risk of getting infected on board an aircraft is lower than on the ground due to the HEPA filters and air quality. Research has shown that there is little risk of any communicable disease being transmitted on board an aircraft.
  • All hygiene guidelines are observed to comply with personal safety recommendations.
  • Passengers are only allowed to take one personal item on board, which must fit under the seat. Your carry-on bag will have to be placed in hold during check-in or at the gate (no extra charge).
  • Read more here.

What measures are Heathrow Airport taking to help protect passengers and staff?

Heathrow are working closely with Public Health England (PHE) and following government advice in order to implement measures to protect the public and airport colleagues.

The measures PHE have put in place at airports across the UK to respond to Coronavirus include enhanced monitoring procedures for flights, the presence of doctors and additional colleagues, and the provision of information leaflets. While also implementing enhanced cleaning processes and procedures to keep passengers and colleagues safe. Measures also include: the introduction of face covering and PPE, enhanced deep cleansing of terminals, the use of hand sanitisers (from over 600 hand sanitiser dispenser locations), Perspex screens, social distancing markers and revised security procedures that minimise person-to-person contact.

Airport staff are also doing their best to support passengers and provide the space and facilities for social distancing. They have implemented signage across all terminals to remind passengers of the government’s recommendation to distance themselves at least 2 metres from others, and to wash their hands to make the government’s advice even more explicit and easily understandable for every passenger. Staff are also helping to manage queues across the terminals and provide more space where possible.

  • Heathrow are now operating a reduced car parking service. Read more information on current car parking availability here. 
  • Heathrow Airport have also produced a guide with details of all public transport providers and where possible, their journey planners, timetables and contact details – details of which can be accessed here in this guide. Trains: rail operations to Terminals 2 and 3 stations remain open.
  • You can only drop off/collect people who live in the same household as you. You should only enter the terminal if necessary.
  • Currently there is no change to the usual time for arriving at the airport to check in for your flight which is 2 hours for European flights and 3 hours for long haul flights. Find more information here. 
  • You will need to wear a face mask at the airport and during the flight. If you choose to wear protective clothing, you may be asked to remove it when going through security to safely and efficiently carry out security checks as required by the government for every passenger before their flight. There are hand sanitiser locations situated before and after security which you are encouraged to use.
  • Following on from the Government’s updated guidance to transport operators for dealing with COVID-19, Heathrow are currently offering face coverings to all passengers arriving or departing via Heathrow. These will be offered free of charge to all passengers prior to check-in (departing passengers) and before Immigration (arriving passengers). The type of coverings being offered are readily available and are not taking away from those required by the NHS or other key workers.
  • Following new government guidance on social distancing, restaurants are currently closed – only WHSmith and Boots remain open in all operating terminals.
  • Travelex are currently unable to offer in-terminal currency as their stores are closed. However, in Iceland you can pay for everything on a credit or debit card so there is no need for cash.
  • Currently all of Heathrow’s independent Arrivals and Departures lounges are temporarily closed. Full refunds will be offered to those passengers whose bookings have been cancelled as a result of the closures.
  • You can read more FAQ’s about travelling through Heathrow Airport here: https://www.heathrow.com/customer-support/faq/coronavirus-covid-19

What do I need to prepare when planning a trip to Iceland with the current Covid-19 situation?

Before you travel, you should check the details of your travel insurance carefully to ensure that you are covered for Covid-19 illness should you be unable to travel, and the cover for any medical treatment abroad. Contact your insurer if you are uncertain. You may need to consider a specialist policy. Our Iceland experts can recommend an insurance policy which will cover Covid-19 related illness claims.

  • Make sure you can access money to cover emergencies and unexpected delays. Take more than one means of payment with you.
  • Be prepared to follow the advice of local authorities abroad. Be ready to comply with local isolation or quarantine requirements, and to rely on the local health system.
  • Make sure you have enough medication with you in case you are abroad longer than planned.
  • Be prepared for logistical and financial disruption to your travel, although we will assist you wherever possible.
  • Arrange extra support for family members, dependants or pets who may need care if you are abroad longer than planned.
  • Keep up to date with the FCO travel advice for Iceland regularly and sign-up to email alerts.
  • If you are older, or if you have pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease), you are more likely to become severely ill if you catch the virus. Check the NHS guidance before you travel.
  • Check the latest public health advice on coronavirus before you travel.
  • We recommend you apply for a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) An EHIC gives you the right to access state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in Iceland

You must fill out a pre-registration form within 72 hours of arrival into Iceland, giving contact details and information about your travel dates and where you’ll be staying. You will get a barcode that you will need to present to officials at Keflavik airport.

You’ll also be asked about where you have travelled recently, whether you have any potential symptoms and whether you have been in close contact with an infected individual.

Passengers can choose to be tested for COVID-19 on arrival or self-quarantine for two weeks. Children born in 2005 or later are exempt from these measures, as well as those who have stayed outside of ‘high-risk’ areas for 14 days prior to arrival.

Passengers are also encouraged to download and use the COVID-19 app Rakning C-19. The app contains important information on COVID-19 and how to contact the health care service in Iceland.

Watch the official video from Inspired by Iceland:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6Gt6jWavcA&feature=youtu.be

What are my holiday options in Iceland, do you have any recommended itineraries?

We have worked closely with our partners and suppliers in Iceland to offer our clients a way to explore Iceland safety and in line with the government guidelines.

We have created 6 suggested self-drive itineraries that will allow you to explore the country’s natural wonders, at your own pace.

If you are interested in one of our other Iceland holidays or you would like to discuss a tailor made arrangement please talk to our Iceland experts.

If I book a trip to Iceland, how will I be protected should my travel plans need to change?

These are unpredictable times but with our Flexibility Promise you can book your next holiday with complete confidence that should you need to change your plans our expert team will help you to make the amendments where they are possible.

Over our 37 years we have developed close relationships with the airlines, accommodations and other partners in our destinations and we’ll work together with them to give you the flexibility you need.

We can also recommend a travel insurance policy that will cover Covid-19 related illness claims on holiday.

  • Change your travel dates or destination up to 7 days prior to departure, subject to availability and any seasonal rate differences or non-recoverable costs. *
  • Transfer your booking to another person suggested by you up to 7 days prior to departure subject to the agreement of our suppliers*.
  • If we have to cancel your holiday for whatever reason we will give you a full refund and not a credit note.

View our flexibility promise.

What would happen if my trip to Iceland is cancelled by Discover the World?

If we are forced to cancel your holiday or make a significant change to your travel arrangements, we will if possible, make alternative holiday arrangements for you or amend your departure date depending on your individual arrangements. If the only alternative is to cancel your holiday you will in the first instance need to contact your insurance company regarding a refund. If, however, they will not provide you with a refund we will refund all monies paid.

We have found that many insurers fully appreciate the enormity of the situation facing travel companies and are taking a more flexible approach to cancellation claims in light of the Coronavirus pandemic, over and above their usual standard policy

For further details, see our travel updates page.

What are my options regarding travel insurance should I plan to travel?

We can recommend an insurance policy which will cover Covid-19 medical claims, please ask our Iceland travel experts for details.

Further Information and Resource Links

Read our comprehensive Iceland Travel guides for more information.

All information, developments, and advice about Iceland and COVID-19 can be found at the website of the Directorate of Health and the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management as well as the designated COVID-19 website for Iceland maintained by these institutions.