In an attempt to make travel planning easier for consumers, British Airways has created a new online interactive map showing the entry requirements for every destination the airline flies to. Jenny Southan reports
The British Airways heat map has been created partnership with global tech company Sherpa, which has developed an online tool that provides travellers with the latest travel rules for inbound and outbound destinations.
This tool brings together the latest information for more than 100 countries, providing thousands of sources, and using millions of data points to stay up to date. BA plans to “further integrate” this mapping tool into its website to help customers understand what is needed for their return the UK.
Users will be able to see what travel restrictions each country has in place before booking a trip, searching visually by traffic light colour or by typing in their choice of destination. There is also a tab that allows people to indicate whether or not they are vaccinated, which will adjust the results accordingly.
Globetrender tried it out and found it very useful – when you click “fully vaccinated”, for example, plus British passport and travelling from the UK, it showed 40 countries (in dark green) completely open to travel (no Covid testing or quarantine required). These included France, Poland, Germany, Spain, Greece, Egypt and Mexico.
Importantly, you also need to check the requirements for return, as it might be easy to enter a country but more difficult when you come back to the UK, especially if it is on the UK’s amber or red list. For example, people coming from Greece to the UK at the moment have to quarantine for ten days whether they have been vaccinated or not.
Globetrender would also recommend you double check the travel advice on the UK government’s FCO foreign travel advice site.
Jack Smith, British Airways’ head of digital, says: “We know that travel in this new Covid era can feel overwhelming for our customers, and our job is to make their lives as straightforward as possible. This new tool, which has been tried and is trusted by our joint business partner, American Airlines, will help people navigate the differing entry requirements, to allow for a smooth booking and travel experience.”
Max Tremaine, CEO of Sherpa, says: “Supporting the return to travel, we’re honoured to be working with the team at British Airways. Together, we are providing their customers with the information they need to make informed booking decisions and travel confidently again.”
Meanwhile, British Airways’ existing online Covid hub includes information on flexible bookings, testing, how to use a voucher and what the BA flying experience looks like for those that haven’t travelled for some time. Customers are able to exchange their booking for a voucher or move their dates without incurring a change fee.