Now, as of December 6th, traveling to Europe is changing fast so here’s the latest information:
With the new Omicron Covid variant, we’re back to we can go but is it okay? What do we need to do first? In our ever-changing world, here are the latest updates and requirements for flights and for the Alpine countries:
Flights from & to the US –
- ALL must be vaccinated to fly
- All need a PCR test within 72 hours of departure. Antigen tests aren’t acceptable on the outbound
- All travelers to Switzerland have to complete an Entry Form either online or in paper form http://swissplf.admin.ch/formular (also noted below)
- On the return: All need a PCR test within 24 hours or less of departure and antigen tests are okay
- Info valid as of December 6th
Austria – Is in lockdown until December 13th and has mandated all Austrians must be vaccinated by February 1st
- All Americans will have to have a PCR test before arrival in the country and then also when departing gotten from a local pharmacy. The estimated cost is currently 44 €/$ 50.00/person
- It is to be hoped, hotels can help with arrangements
- Children under 12 years are exempt
- Once it reopens, travelers must complete an online form at https://entry.ptc.gv.at/en
- Info up to date as of November 25th
France – No lockdown
- Also requires PCR test within 48 hours of arrival; antigen tests are also accepted.
- Additionally, a “pass sanitaire” is required from a pharmacy on arrival in a resort. That can be arranged ahead of time by emailing the pharmacy from here and paying for it on collection. The fee is 36 €/$42.00/person. One needs to show CDC proof of vaccination and a passport.
- In Val d’Isère the pharmacy for the “pass sanitaire” is: firstname.lastname@example.org
- On departure you can also contact the pharmacy for your PCR test. The estimated cost is 35 €/$ 40.00. Those specific arrangements are still be arranged in the resorts.
- Info valid as of December 2nd
Italy – No lockdown
- One has to complete their European digital passenger locator form before departure from the US (in English) http://app.euplf.eu/#/form
- After December 15th travelers 65+ with the J&J vaccine MUST have had a booster to come into Italy
- Americans do not need their Green Pass, CDC is accepted
- Have a PCR test done before flying home and estimated cost: 60 €/$ 70.00/person
- This info also valid as of December 2nd
Switzerland – No lockdown
- People who have recovered from Covid and tested negative cannot travel to Switzerland
- The CDC card must be converted to Switzerland’s online Entry Form. Go to: https://swissplf.admin.ch/formular & it’s in English. Estimated cost: CHFs 30/$ 34.00/person
- Travelers to Switzerland will have to complete their Covid-Certificate form from the Federal Office of Public Health at least a week prior to leaving the US thus leaving time for Switzerland’s processing. It is online at: https://covidcertificate-form.admin.ch/foreign
- For those transiting from Geneva Airport to France, only the above mentioned French form is necessary. The same is currently true for those going to Austria from Zürich.
- Masks are mandatory in all public places at least through January 24, 2022.
- For more Switzerland information, go to: https://Swiss.travel-rergulations.com/en or: https://www.myswitzerland.com/en-us/planning/transport
- Once in Switzerland and after 4/7 days you will have to have another PCR test done and its results must be sent to the local Canton (Valais for Zermatt). Ask your hotel to make the appointment and results will be sent to the Canton by the pharmacy. Then of course another test to be done prior to departure.
- PCR tests are currently varying between CHFs 150-190 or $ 170.00-$ 215.00/person – I personally think that’s just outrageous!
|Population||Total Cases||% of Pop||Total Deaths||% of Pop||Vaccinated||% Pop|
– Vaccination numbers are for single doses & all figures as of December 6th
The Current State of European Air Travel –
• Airlines will require vaccination verification and pre-testing for all flights to Europe.
• No mask, no flying.
• All airlines continue to have loosened all changes and cancellation penalties.
• United Airlines has extended Covid flight credits expiration dates through to December 31, 2022.
Travel & Transportation within Alpine Countries – As of late November, transportation from the airport to the ski resorts, as with everything, continues to be subject to Covid rules:
- All require vaccinations. As noted above and to date, some have forms to be filled out ahead of or after arrival.
- Everyone must still wear a mask the trains, buses and in restaurants, etc. all of which are minimally disinfected daily. Switzerland require them on lifts.
- Hand sanitizers are readily available in the airports, train stations, on trains, etc.
- Transfers from Geneva Airport to French ski resorts this winter can be shared van services, if preferred, rather than the regularly scheduled bus services. Private transfers to all resorts can be arranged.
Ski Resorts & Hotels –
- Mask wearing will be required in all resorts.
- Resorts and hotels have preventive measures applicable through the winter.
- Hotels will not accept financial responsibility if a guest gets the virus while there. Many have loosened length-of-stay requirements and are flexible regarding cancellations.
- Here’s a sampling hotel Covid controls:
- Guests must have a vaccination done more than 2 weeks of arrival.
- Temperatures are checked on arrival.
- Mask wearing and social distancing are mandatory
- Employees are tested regularly along with expanded cleaning and disinfecting of rooms, spas and public areas.
- Hand sanitizers are in public areas, guest rooms and some will have protective kits for guests..
- Hotel shuttle drivers wear PPE and limit passenger numbers. Porters will wear gloves.
- Room service will only be to the door & turn down service is done when guests not present.
- Many hotels now allow free cancellation up to 15 days prior to arrival.
- Many resort resources are now cash-free so bring credit cards.
- Some ski shops may have closed so inquire ahead if you’re planning on renting equipment.
- Ski lifts are disinfected minimally daily and limited numbers allowed on. Open gondola If lifts are closed down due to the virus, ski passes will be refunded.
- Mountain restaurants, as with other establishments, have plexiglass separators for indoor diners.
- A private guide/instructor is suggested for lower one-on-one contact rather than ski school.
- Après-ski: It’s smart to avoid it or wear your mask and perhaps confine it to one pub crawl to prevent a second Ischgl-like disaster that occurred in March 2019.
- Returning home: You will have to have a Covid test done within 72 hours of your return to the US. Ask at your hotel for the local pharmacy about getting a test; as noted above, costs vary/country.
- Lindenmeyr Travel is here to continue to give you the latest up-to-date Covid info on the ins and outs of European travel and skiing the Alps.
- As said before when asked: Should you take it? Yes and no: it depends on the type of coverage purchased which can be tricky so always read the fine print.
- Reasons for coverage:
- Cancellation for health reasons, amount refunded: TBD
- “Cancel for any reason” policies are more expensive and usually only 75% is refunded
- Cancel for economic reasons (such as job loss): usually not refunded
- Fear to travel is not covered unless a “cancel for any reason policy”
- Cancel due to CDC alert: usually not covered except with a “cancel for any reason” policy
- If you get the virus while traveling – you may be covered and, also if you’re quarantined due to a virus outbreak. Contact your insurance provider for further info, perhaps it’s now even more necessary with the Omicron.