South Africa - Will this work?

Old Oct 1, 20, 6:55 am
  #1  
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South Africa - Will this work?

I am posting this in the BA forum as these are BA flights (and most FT knowledge resides here).

I have an F reward LHR-JNB booked for Christmas Day plus two F returns either mid-January or mid-March.

My understanding is the U.K. is on South Africa’s red list, so I cannot fly for leisure. However, I also understand that if I spend 10 days or more prior to departure in a green country, I am treated as departing from that country.

My question is will this work and what are the risks.

Fly to IST mid-December return on 25th. This is doable and costs less than £200 in CE. I would be happy to have a couple of weeks in Turkey and I understand IST will do same day PCR test with printed result for a reasonable price. That seems to deliver one of the SA entry requirements.

Another key requirement is travel insurance that covers COVID quarantine. I have AMEX Platinum charge card cover (plus BA premium). I am not sure whether that is adequate or I need to get a bespoke policy.

If I travel via IST and have to land myself at LHR to collect luggage, will that count as same day transit? Also, will South Africa accept transits to flights from a red country as OK since my journey started in a green country.

Finally, is the visa waiver back in force for the U.K.? I am guessing that it is since starting a journey from a green country in which you are not a citizen otherwise would be impossible for most passengers.

I am not worried about U.K. quarantine requirements on return.

Anyway, there are a lot of variables in here. I think it should work, but it will be an expensive mistake if it doesn’t and I presume BA will not fly me on the off chance that this is OK, even if I want to risk it.

What do you think? Am I mad to even consider this?
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Old Oct 1, 20, 7:09 am
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I think other than the long haul F booking on BA, there are other threads / forums for the quarantine / entry requirement / loop hole discussion
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Old Oct 1, 20, 7:09 am
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South Africa only belatedly announced their initial entry requirements yesterday ( to come into effect from today ) - from what I've read it's all a bit vague so doubt your question about same day transit would be answered for example .. I would predict they'll change a lot before Christmas ( stuff like allowing Brazil and India but banning most of their largest European inbound tourism markets where the situation is better makes very little sense for example and would be surprised if it lasted - though what way it may change ! ) ... I'd say making complicated contingency plans like this so far in advance probably pointless, if I were you I'd sit tight and start worrying about it in 6 weeks time maybe when lots of things may have changed and SA requirements may be a bit more 'concrete' ... I'd like to get to SA around Xmas too, but for now I'm not doing anything about it as it would seem pointless trying to second guess regulations in the medium term.
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Old Oct 1, 20, 7:13 am
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Who knows. All I would suggest is that anything complex creates more opportunities to fall foul of regulations rather than circumventing them. I can see plenty of hurdles for yours, most especially the LHR transit where BA staff are more likely to be turning people away.
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Old Oct 1, 20, 7:20 am
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Surely collecting luggage at LHR means going through immigration and entering the UK which would not be classed as transit?
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Old Oct 1, 20, 7:21 am
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Originally Posted by FrancisA View Post
I am posting this in the BA forum as these are BA flights (and most FT knowledge resides here).

I have an F reward LHR-JNB booked for Christmas Day plus two F returns either mid-January or mid-March.

My understanding is the U.K. is on South Africa’s red list, so I cannot fly for leisure. However, I also understand that if I spend 10 days or more prior to departure in a green country, I am treated as departing from that country.

My question is will this work and what are the risks.

Fly to IST mid-December return on 25th. This is doable and costs less than £200 in CE. I would be happy to have a couple of weeks in Turkey and I understand IST will do same day PCR test with printed result for a reasonable price. That seems to deliver one of the SA entry requirements.

Another key requirement is travel insurance that covers COVID quarantine. I have AMEX Platinum charge card cover (plus BA premium). I am not sure whether that is adequate or I need to get a bespoke policy.

If I travel via IST and have to land myself at LHR to collect luggage, will that count as same day transit? Also, will South Africa accept transits to flights from a red country as OK since my journey started in a green country.

Finally, is the visa waiver back in force for the U.K.? I am guessing that it is since starting a journey from a green country in which you are not a citizen otherwise would be impossible for most passengers.

I am not worried about U.K. quarantine requirements on return.

Anyway, there are a lot of variables in here. I think it should work, but it will be an expensive mistake if it doesn’t and I presume BA will not fly me on the off chance that this is OK, even if I want to risk it.

What do you think? Am I mad to even consider this?
just to confirm amex platinum card insurance does nor cover Covid, I did check and I would not even consider travelling to SA ( or anywhere for that matter) without good insurance, I have heard that Saga does cover covid
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Old Oct 1, 20, 7:27 am
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I see too many pitfalls in the OP’s plan, TBH. Given the ‘efficiency’ of the ZA Government, rules can change in a moment and there’s already plenty of evidence that things aren’t fully thought through anyway. For example ... what about a Visa? It’s hard wading through all their ponderous websites, but ISTR visa waivers for UK (and others) were cancelled a while back.

https://www.sanews.gov.za/south-afri...risk-countries

We’re in the process today of abandoning our 2-week trip to the Cape in December.
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Old Oct 1, 20, 7:41 am
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Personally I think there are too many moving parts to be able to make an informed decision at this point. So if you do it, it is on the basis that it's a gamble, the worst case scenario being you can't travel and you may lose out financially in the process.

Up until 3 weeks ago the UK had fairly good Covid-19 statistics, and RSA was equally heading in the right way at that point. A lot has changed in a very short time, and a lot can change again with little notice. And this will contine until around April or May next year. What if, for example, Turkey is added to RSA's red list? And perhaps that happens when you are in Turkey. What if BA cancels all / most RSA flights? Maybe these are risks which you are OK with, but I don't quite see the point in returning to London, surely it would be better to take the direct route on TK. Or to use somewhere like Tanzania as your base instead.
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Old Oct 1, 20, 7:55 am
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Originally Posted by fdem View Post
just to confirm amex platinum card insurance does nor cover Covid, I did check and I would not even consider travelling to SA ( or anywhere for that matter) without good insurance, I have heard that Saga does cover covid
Please can you advise where it's written AMEX Platinum medical insurance does NOT cover Covid?
I was told the opposite by an agent over the phone.

Thanks
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Old Oct 1, 20, 8:02 am
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Way too many pitfalls. This is not a transit and, under current rules, you’d probably be denied boarding at LHR. What if the flight to LHR is cancelled? I doubt Amex insurance is sufficient.
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Old Oct 1, 20, 10:42 am
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There’s too many moving parts here to be able to predict whether the outcome will be favourable. Going to Turkey will not help if they are added to the undesirable list by SA whilst you’re visiting Istanbul or where ever. I doubt passing through LHR without formally transmitting on the same PNR will count as a transit for these purposes anyway.

On the positive side, you can cancel a BA 241 for £35 per person, so there’s no harm in giving it a few weeks to see how the scenario plays out.

Swiss cancelled some of my itinerary (LHR to JNB) for a trip to South Africa in January - I took the chance to get a refund and stop dealing with the uncertainty. You may feel less stressed if you just cancel and take your chances with Christmas 2021 instead. I certainly feel better now I’m not worrying about whether Brits will be allowed into SA in Jan.

Edit: you will also struggle to find travel insurance that covers this particular set of circumstances. Amex Plat (AXA) won’t cover this, for sure.
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Old Oct 1, 20, 11:05 am
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As others have said the visa waiver was revoked in March and hasn't been re-instated yet, so keep an eye on this webpage for changes: Department of Home Affairs - Exempt Countries Otherwise you need to apply for a visa.

I agree until the formal wording is released and we have some examples of leisure travellers entering and exiting without issue, I wouldn't make any judgements. Certainly not assuming that a landside journey from one flight ticket to another won't mean you get denied boarding. If you really, really want to travel, consider (much much closer to the time) cancelling your Amex 2-4-1 BA flights, head to Germany 11 days before Christmas and fly with Lufthansa and keep all of your records. Or even better as CWS suggests, do 11 days in an African nation that will let you in, e.g. Kenya with a negative PCR.

With regard insurance it is a bit of mess searching. There are insurances that will cover high-risk travel (against FCO advice) and they will cover against COVID related illness or quarantine if you or a travel partner show symptoms or if you or a partner are tested positive, you have to read the T&C. For example Battleface cover medical expenses, or the Allianz policies offered by Virgin and Emirates. What I haven't seen is cover for travel disruption because of Government decisions, so if SA change their minds again you could be looking at a big cost to get out ASAP. That I haven't seen covered anywhere.
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Old Oct 1, 20, 11:30 am
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Edit: you will also struggle to find travel insurance that covers this particular set of circumstances. Amex Plat (AXA) won’t cover this, for sure.
Our Lloyds Gold/AXA insurance was amended a week or two ago to specifically exclude cover when travelling against FCO advice. And alternative insurance for a couple of over-70s falls into Unicorn Horn territory ... We’re not even wasting time searching!!
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Old Oct 1, 20, 11:38 am
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Turkey today removed from the travel corridor !
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Old Oct 1, 20, 11:38 am
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FWIW, I have just read that Turkey has been added to the UK quarantine list.
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