EXPLAINED: What are the rules for travel between Austria and the UK?

Travel between Austria and the United Kingdom is much easier than it was just a few months ago, but there are still a few hoops to jump through. Here’s what you need to know.

EXPLAINED: What are the rules for travel between Austria and the UK?
People at Vienna Airport. Photo: ALEX HALADA / AFP

From late 2020 until the middle of 2021, travel between Austria and the United Kingdom was heavily restricted. 

Indeed, it was difficult or in some cases impossible for people to make the trip unless they were citizens or residents of both countries. 

With the progress of the vaccination campaign in both countries however, things have begun to return to normal. 

UPDATED: What are the rules for entering Austria right now?

Entering Austria from the UK

Austria’s current (as at September 27th) entry rules are highly dependent on which country you are arriving from. 

Austria keeps a list of ‘low incidence’ countries. People can enter from these countries if they are fully vaccinated, have tested negative or recently recovered from the virus. 

Those who have not brought with them evidence of one of these three things can be tested on arrival in Austria. 

As at September 27th however, the United Kingdom is not on the list of low incidence countries. 

This means that in order to enter, arrivals must be fully vaccinated and show proof of vaccination on arrival. 

Those who have had the virus and recovered from it in the past 180 days (and have proof) will also be allowed to enter. 

In effect, this means that people who are unvaccinated or recovered from the virus in the past 180 days will not be allowed to enter Austria, unless covered by another exception (i.e. citizen, resident, transit passenger, etc). 

However, negative tests will not be accepted for entry, whether that be upon entering Austria or getting a negative test before. 

Austria also has a list of virus variant countries from which entry is further restricted, however the UK is no longer on this list. 

The following vaccines are accepted:

BioNtech/Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Sinopharm, or Sinovac and Johnson&Johnson (Janssen). 

Click here for more information. 

Entering the UK from Austria

Austria is currently on the UK’s ‘green list’, which is the lowest risk category that the UK government has. 

From October 4th, the rules will change for entry to the UK from Austria. 

Prior to October 4th, vaccinated travellers will need to fill out a passenger locator form before entering the UK. 

In addition, they will need to complete two tests. The first test must be taken in the three days before departure, then another test must be taken after arrival in the UK. 

After October 4th, vaccinated travellers from the rest of the world list will not have to take pre-departure Covid-19 tests. Day 2 tests will still be required. 

More information on the rules can be found at the official UK government site (at the following link). 

The government has also changed the policy on people who have been vaccinated with doses from two different manufacturers. Now, unlike previously, if people are vaccinated with two different doses (for instance AstraZeneca and Biontech/Pfizer), they will count as being fully vaccinated. 

*This article has been updated to remove the incorrect information that travellers can book an antigen test instead of a PCR test for day 2 after arrival from October 4th. In fact this will only be possible later in October as the article now states.

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Delays and cancellations: What is happening with Austrian Airlines flights?

Passengers who have booked a flight for Tuesday or Wednesday with Austrian Airlines are facing delays, rebookings and flight cancellations. What is happening, and what are your rights?

Delays and cancellations: What is happening with Austrian Airlines flights?

Passengers with early flights on Tuesday, March 7th, already had to reschedule or cancel their trips if they were with Austrian carrier and Lufthansa subsidiary, Austrian Airlines (AUA), as The Local reported. And the disruption is set to continue during the day and on March 8th.

A staff meeting with flight crews, which was called after shelved collective bargaining negotiations on inflation compensation, was the reason why flights were affected in the early morning. Workers met at Vienna International Airport in Schwechat on Tuesday and the airline had to cancel 34 flights to 17 destinations.

Warning strike announced

However, during the union members meeting, participants decided on a warning strike lasting until 2:30 pm, which will affect flights for the entire day on March 7th and early on March 8th. 

At the staff gathering, it was unanimously decided that the meeting would turn into a warning strike, Yvonne Heuber of the Vida trade union told APA.

The company has not announced the detailed impacts of the strike yet. However, passengers can check on the company website for the status of their flights – as well as checking airport sites. In the Vienna International Airport, several AUA flights already show as cancelled, including some on the morning of March 8th.

Around 1,700 passengers were already rebooked on replacement flights. According to the airline, those who booked directly with it were contacted proactively, while passengers who booked with a travel agency should contact the agencies.

READ ALSO: What you need to know before travelling to Austria in spring 2023

To minimise the impact, among other things, employees on “standby” have been called to duty, the AUA press office said. “Austrian Airlines long-haul destinations can be served regularly according to the current status,” the airline announced.

What are my rights if my flight gets cancelled or delayed?

In case of cancellation, you can choose between getting your money back, getting the next available flight, or changing the booking completely for a later date. You are also entitled to assistance free of charge, including refreshments, food, accommodation (if you are rebooked to travel the next day), transport, and communication (two telephone calls, for example).

This is regardless of the reasons for cancellation.

If your flight was delayed, your rights and compensation would depend on the duration of the delay and the flight distance.

You can read more about your rights HERE.

READ ALSO: Train travel in Austria: 6 ways you can save money

Why are workers on strike?

Workers’ representatives informed Austrian Airlines staff that the renegotiations on the collective agreement (KV), the sector deals between unions and company representatives that rule over salary and benefits in Austria, have stalled. 

Staff had demanded a renegotiation of the KV after Austrian Airlines posted good results in the third quarter of 2022 at the same time as inflation continued to rise. 

The workers haven’t ruled out further strikes in the near future.