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.
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…
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.