an airplane on the runway

In life, there are a few rules to live by: the golden one, and the rules of common sense are good places to start.

Being in a public position, posting publicly, it’s always important to be mindful of the messages you’re putting out, particularly when posting about how you almost assuredly broke a serious UK quarantine rule. Telling others how to do the same feels like a pretty blatant failing of the common sense test.

It appears that an American Airlines executive did exactly that this week, attending social gatherings and other functions while they were supposed to be isolating in self quarantine.

The Scoop

One Mile At A Time found a fascinating LinkedIn post from an American Airlines executive who flew in from the United States to celebrate the American Airlines move from London Heathrow Terminal 3, to Terminal 5, joining joint venture partners British Airways and Iberia. The post then details going out to a work dinner.

Attending any work functions and or mingling with others outside of the place you’re quarantining is not currently allowed and should absolutely be adhered to, as law. With that said, the UK Government hasn’t been strong with the enforcement of 14 day quarantine policies. If someone were to break the rules and keep it offline, there’s not much that has or will be done, even if it should.

Perhaps that’s why the person in question seems to have had no disregard for breaking, or at least flaunting the rules. Let’s breakdown the executive’s post on LinkedIn, and square that against UK quarantine rules in place for people coming off flights from the USA.

Even playing extreme devils advocate, considering that the person could’ve in some rare possibility performed many exceptions in some sort of loophole – aka not technically “in” the UK, it’s still incredibly irresponsible at the least, and criminal at the worst.

After the publishing of this article, American issued the following statement…

“Complying with the required health and safety measures and entry requirements of the countries in which we operate is a priority for American. We apologize on this occasion that we misjudged what was allowed under the recent UK exemption guidelines. We take the intent of these regulations seriously and we have taken immediate corrective action to ensure we fully comply in the future.”

Let’s recap what happened…

an airplane on the runwayThe American Airlines Sales Exec’s Post…

Well that was a quick 24 hours in the UK!

This morning I attended the official ribbon cutting to mark American Airlines move to Terminal 5 at London Heathrow. It’s a beautiful facility and we are incredibly grateful to British Airways for enabling this to happen.

Many thanks to [AA employee, name redacted] for hosting and for my first business dinner in a while(!) as well as having a great catch-up with [BA employee, name redacted].

I will write in a post on Monday as to why Americans don’t necessarily need to spend 14 days in quarantine on arrival in the UK and also explain new forms that need to be completed prior to arrival both in the UK and the USA.

But for now, AA21 is taking me back home.

The UK Quarantine Rules

The UK dropped quarantine rules for visitors from 59 countries, and Brits traveling outbound to those countries will not need to quarantine on return to the UK either. The United States is not one of those countries, which makes this all a bit nuts.

The only, only potential caveat for this person is that they’d been in Europe for the last 14 days or more, and arrived in the UK from one of these countries, but that does not appear to be the case, and by AA’s statement it clearly was not the case.

UK Quarantine rules aren’t perfect, but they effectively say that you must go to wherever you are quarantining and stay there, only taking food delivery or getting people to pick up food for you and bring it to you. You’re really not supposed to go out, and absolutely not supposed to mix with others. Business is also specifically a “no”. Here’s the text from the UK Gov website. Emphasis in bold is mine…

You should self-isolate in one place for the full 14 days, where you can have food and other necessities delivered, and stay away from others. You must self-isolate at the address you provided on the public health passenger locator form.

This can include: your own home staying with friends or family a hotel or other temporary accommodation You should not have visitors, including friends and family, unless they are providing essential care.

The only friends and family who you can have contact with are those who travelled with you or people who you are staying with. You cannot go out to work or school or visit public areas. You should not go shopping.

If you require help buying groceries, other shopping or picking up medication, you should ask friends or relatives or order a delivery.

Can’t Wait For Monday’s Post…

It’s one thing to break the rules and put others, including British Airways Executives at risk by attending a ribbon cutting and going out to dinner. It’s another thing entirely to post about it, and then promise a follow up post on how Americans can effectively usurp the UK quarantine rules specifically in places for countries like the USA.

“I will write in a post on Monday as to why Americans don’t necessarily need to spend 14 days in quarantine on arrival in the UK and also explain new forms that need to be completed prior to arrival both in the UK and the USA.”

At the very least, this seems irresponsible. At the very worst, it’s criminal. Quarantine rules exist, for better and worse, to try and protect the public from covid-19 infections. They’re imperfect, there are better ways to handle the crisis without tanking global travel, but the system is the system, and there are no “loopholes” to be had here.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. Have you asked AA for a comment? Would be good to hear their take on it.

    Also, it seems odd to spend money on a trip like this when cash is extremely tight for all airlines!

  2. I agree, what horrible, entitled behavior. This executive amazingly flew to a country with a covid death rate which is double that of the US!!! And like 10x that of Texas! Totally irresponsible behavior that he might bring this terrible thing back to Texas!

  3. AA’s “we” being the company that sent him there, and/or the company that knew he was going….
    BA’s employees with whom he dined would have certainly been in a position to know his plans and sdvise/act accordingly.

  4. And then the USA guys from the previous GSVP quarantine post wonder why we think they are acting like idiots.

  5. @Willy, death rate has nothing to do with the risk of getting infected… The number of new cases indicates the prevalence and likelihood of infection… The whole of UK 512 new cases yesterday; Texas 10,063 new cases…..

  6. @Christian Everyone does not think the US is a bunch of idiots, if you think that way you’re probably associating with the same sort of malcontent.

    This isn’t news or even a big deal, Covid isn’t going anywhere. At this point everyone has either had it or will have it. Cases will continue to rise but the death rate will continue to appear smaller. Ask any health official, the death rate has already been exponentially exaggerated by adding deaths from flu, to cancer, to anything other than GSWs. Sadly enough Trump actually did call this one, it’s the flu with a higher rate of spread and a way lower death rate.

    1. And….your response is a prime example of why the world thinks we are entitled idiots! I’ll bet you are an anti-masker too.
      I work in health, this is not the flu. The excuse that it is over reported is meaning less, 61000 people died from the flu last year, we are at 174000 and rising.

  7. Thank you Thomas for adding a little bit of reality and sanity to the replies!! It’s quite obvious that the more people you test the more people that will test positive. Those results however do not directly influence the death rate. COVID 19 is going to be around for a long long time get used to it, prepare accordingly but do so without all of the drama babe calling and judgement. Life must go on. People still have to work and make a living. If you do not want exposure, lock yourself up at home and you will most likely be safe.

  8. Just wondering if this individual stayed airside at Heathrow and therefore did not officially enter the UK, hence no need to quarantine? There’s no mention of them actually leaving the airport, they could have simply transferred from Terminal 2 to Terminal 5. But I haven’t read the original post so maybe I’m missing some detail.

  9. Irish Twitter is awash with people complaining about American tourists arriving for their holidays, with not a care in the world. Texans telling them COVID is overblown, etc. Look, the Irish love America and Americans, but spent on months on strict lockdown. Having people not even attempt to quarantine is a kick in the teeth. I mean, I’m based in the UK but can’t in good conscience go back there to see my family. To see an airline executive promise to share loopholes is just not acceptable. I’m DESPERATE to get travelling again, but keeping spread going is not how to do it.

  10. As an American living in London, yes there is a 14 day quarantine for anyone arriving from the unapproved countries which include the USA. However, the quarantine is not enforced if an individual departs the UK within that 14 time period. The American Airlines executive did not break the law.

    1. That’s not true. Rules apply for as long as you’re in the country, whether it’s 24 hours, 7 days or 14 days. Enforcement and rules are two different things, but the rules are the rules. You’re welcome to share a clear cut suggestion to the contrary, but I’m quite sure it does not exist on any GOV page.

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