Important travel information and recent travel & tourism updates
Thailand imposes smoking ban across a number of top beaches: updated Feb 18
As of Thursday 1st February 2018, Thailand is imposing a total smoking ban on 24 popular beaches across the country as part of its sustainable tourism drive. The major beaches include popular destinations such as Phuket, Samui, Krabi, Hua Hin and Koh Phi Phi. Thai beaches are among some the most beautiful in Southeast Asia and local authorities aim to keep them that way. However, visitors who do smoke will still be accommodated in designated smoking areas. The new smoking ban will help maintain a clean and safe environment for everyone while helping boost Thailand’s image as a sustainable tourism destination.
IMPORTANT: if you use an e-cigarette - personal possession of e-cigarettes in Thailand are illegal. The issue is due to the fact that these products fall into the category of goods that have not been taxed. This means being caught in possession with an e-cigarette within the country is illegal.
Additional UK airline security measures: updated Mar 17
The government has announced that there will be changes to aviation security measures for selected inbound flights to the United Kingdom. Passengers who are travelling to the UK from Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia or Turkey with phones, laptops and tablets larger than length: 16.0cm / width: 9.3cm / depth: 1.5cm are advised to check with their airline before carrying these items onboard. In addition, certain items known as peripheral devices are also subject to the new security requirements. Spare batteries and portable power sources can no longer be carried on board aircraft operating on affected routes in either cabin or hold baggage.
For more information visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/additional-hand-luggage-restrictions-on-some-flights-to-the-uk.
Brazil Travel Advice: updated Mar 17
An outbreak of yellow fever is ongoing in Brazil. The WHO recommends yellow fever vaccination for expanded areas of risk in the states of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo
Thailand Travel Advice: updated Feb 17
Entry requirements: if you are using the 30 day visa exemption you can only enter Thailand through a land border twice per calendar year; otherwise you'll need to obtain a visa in advance
For more information visit: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/thailand.
Malaysia Travel Advice: updated Feb 17
Entry requirements: recent changes to the visa requirements for Thailand may affect travellers wishing to make regular crossings at the land border between Malaysia and Thailand
For more information visit: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/malaysia.
Hong Kong Travel Advice: updated Feb 17
Entry requirements: your passport should be valid for at least one month after the date of your departure from Hong Kong
For more information visit: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/hong-kong.
USA ESTA requirements: updated Jan 17
The U.S. Authorities have made further changes to their entry requirements:
Jan 2017: Temporary immigration measures affecting nationals of Libya, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen are in place, contact the US Embassy for clarification.
As of 1 April 2016, all travellers wishing to enter the US under the VWP will need to hold a passport with an integrated chip (an ePassport). A passport is an ePassport if it carries this internationally recognised symbol on the front cover.
For more information customers are advised to visit: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/usa/entry-requirements. Or contact the nearest US Embassy or Consulate
Zika virus advice and support
Following the Zika virus outbreak across a number of countries in Central and South America, some Caribbean islands and Cape Verde and Samoa*, we recommend that all customers travelling to these areas take steps to avoid mosquito bites whilst on holiday.
As widely reported, a link between exposure to Zika virus in pregnancy and microcephaly and other congenital malformations has been identified and investigations are ongoing. Therefore pregnant women are advised to avoid travel to affected areas.
If you are pregnant and due to travel to an affected area and have any concerns, please call our customer service team on 01772 386366 who will be happy to assist you.
*The FCO list the following list of countries as affected by Zika:
- American Samoa
- Cape Verde
- Costa Rica
- Dominican Republic
- El Salvador
- French Guiana
- Marshall Islands
- Solomon Islands
- St Maarten
- St Vincent and the Grenadines
- USA - Miami
For the latest advice please visit: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice
Changes to ESTA requirements
The U.S. Authorities have made changes to their entry requirements which will affect any dual nationality customer who has a passport issued by a country which is eligible under the U.S. visa Waiver Programme AND a passport issued by Iran, Iraq, Sudan and Syria.
These customers with dual nationality will no longer be able to enter the U.S. using an ESTA under the Visa Waiver Programme.
In addition any customer who has an ESTA and that has visited Iran, Iraq, Sudan or Syria since March 1, 2011 should also expect not to be able to use the Visa Waiver Programme.
These customers will require a U.S. visa for future travel to the United States, and should contact their local US Embassy.
Changes to the US Visa Waiver Programme
The United States have recently announced changes to the Visa Waiver Programme which means travellers in the following categories are no longer eligible to travel or be admitted to the United States under the Visa Waiver Programme:
- • Nationals of VWP countries who have traveled to or been present in Iran, Iraq, Sudan, or Syria on or after March 1, 2011 (with limited exceptions for travel for diplomatic or military purposes in the service of a VWP country).
- • Nationals of VWP countries who are also nationals of Iran, Iraq, Sudan, or Syria.
Click here to read the full statement
Travel to Kenya
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all but essential travel to:
- • Areas within 60km of the Kenya-Somali border
- • Garissa County
- • The Eastleigh area of Nairobi
- • Lamu County and those areas of Tana River County north of the Tana river itself
- • Within 15km of the coast from the Tana River down to, but not including, Watamu
The area to which the FCO advise against all but essential travel does not include Kenya’s safari destinations in the national parks, reserves and wildlife conservancies; including the Aberdare National Park, Amboseli, Laikipia, Lake Nakuru, Masai Mara, Meru, Mount Kenya, Samburu, Shimba Hills, Tsavo, nor does it include the beach resorts of Mombasa, Kilifi, Watamu and Diani.
You need a visa to enter Kenya. You can either get a visa on arrival at the airport, or before you travel. You can apply for single entry and transit visas on the ecitizen website. For all other types of visa, you’ll need to apply at the nearest Kenyan High Commission or Embassy before you travel. For more information on different types of visas see the website of the Kenya High Commission.
Milawi: Entry requirements
British nationals don’t need a visa for a short visit to Malawi. However, the Malawian government has announced that it intends to introduce a visa regime for British visitors (and nationals of other countries that charge a visa fee for Malawian nationals) from 1 October 2015. We have not been advised of the process or requirements. Given the possibility of arrangements being implemented at short notice we advise those visiting Malawi to bring cash in US dollars to cover any possible entry requirements. Contact the Malawian High Commission in London for more information.
At present you can get a visitor’s permit or business visit permit on arrival, which will allow you to stay in Malawi for a short period for tourism, visiting relatives or business. The permit is valid for 30 days and can be extended for a further 60 days for a fee. For more information visit the Department of Immigration website.
Advice on Child Air Passenger Duty (APD)
In December 2014 the government announced that children under 12 travelling in economy class will be exempt from paying APD from 1 May 2015.
This means, if you have placed a booking with us which departs on or after 1 May 2015 and includes a child under the age of 12 on the date of travel you may be entitled to a refund.
To see if you are eligible for a refund:
- Email [email protected] for individual booking you have made
- Quote the invoice number in the subject line.
- Include the lead passenger name, date of departure and the name and ages of the children on the booking.
We will then check the details of your booking and, working closely with our scheduled airline partners we will prioritise refund requests subject to each airline’s policy. This may take some time as airlines are still updating their policies and we will let you know if you are due a refund as soon as possible.
A guide to your Netflights.com documentation
Take a look at the documents below to better understand the various reference numbers and codes you will have been allocated on booking your trip.
We’ve tried to explain what each jumble of letters and numbers is for, and how you can use them in a variety of ways. Whether through the ‘My trip’ function on Netflights.com (take a look top right), on your airline’s website or on Viewtrip.com
Post booking flight requirements (seat and meal requests)
Most airlines allow you to request your seat soon after you have completed your online booking. To ensure you have the best opportunity of requesting your preferred seat it is extremely important that you contact the airline as soon as possible.
Airlines sometimes switch the aircraft type close to the departure date due to load factors and maintenance. When these changes are made, pre-reserved seats are re-assigned and you could lose the seat you so carefully selected. In addition, airlines may release seats that were previously not available for assignment.
If you are experiencing problems then please feel free to contact Netflights Customer Contact Centre who will be happy to assist. Email: [email protected]
You can request a meal for select international flights with most airlines once you have completed your online booking. If you have certain dietary requirements, for example, vegetarian, low-fat or kosher meals then you should request them as soon as possible. Please bear in mind that airlines do not always guarantee availability.
For more information about requesting your seats or booking a meal please select the airline's web page from our Baggage page. If you are experiencing problems contacting your airline then please feel free to contact Netflights Customer Contact Centre who will be happy to assist. Email: [email protected]
Changes to Canada's entry requirements from 2016
The Government of Canada has introduced a new entry requirement, known as an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), for certain international travellers when they fly to Canada.
Under eTA, citizens from countries other than the United States (U.S.) who do not need a visa to enter Canada will need to obtain an online authorization before flying to Canada.
From August 1, 2015, eligible travellers can apply online for an eTA. On March 15, 2016, this entry requirement will become mandatory and travellers will need an eTA before they can board a flight to Canada.
More information on eTA is available at www.canada.ca/eTA. You will find useful information, including who will need an eTA, how to apply, an eTA video, and detailed FAQs for customers.
South Africa enforce new rules on travelling with children
From 1 October 2014, children travelling in and out of South Africa will be required to carry an unabridged birth certificate as well as a valid passport, under new regulations aimed at improving the safety of children.
The regulations came into effect at the end of May, but the Department of Home Affairs has delayed their implementation until 1 October, to make allowance for families who have already made plans for the upcoming school holidays.
The rules are aimed at improving the safety of children, including "their protection from child trafficking, abduction and kidnapping", the department said on Tuesday.
The department has urged citizens and foreign nationals to apply for unabridged birth certificates, which reflect the particulars of both parents, in good time in order to avoid possible delays to their travel plans. It can take up to six to eight weeks for an unabridged birth certificate application to be processed.
Quick guide to the new requirements:
- • When leaving South Africa with children, parents or guardians must be able to produce unabridged birth certificates reflecting the details of both parents, as well as a valid passport for each child.
- • This requirement applies even when both parents are travelling with their children.
- • It applies to foreigners and South Africans alike.
- • If children are travelling with a guardian, this adult is required to produce affidavits from both parents giving permission for the children to travel. They will also need copies of the passports of the parents, as well as the contact details of the parents.
If children are travelling with only one parent, they must produce an unabridged birth certificate as well as:
- • A court order granting full parental responsibilities and rights or legal guardianship in respect of the child, if he or she is the parent or legal guardian of the child.
- • An affidavit from the other parent granting permission for the child to leave the country.
- • A court order granting full parental responsibilities and rights or legal guardianship in respect of the child.
- • If applicable, the death certificate of the other parent registered on the birth certificate.
When a child is travelling as an unaccompanied minor, he or she must be able to produce:
- •Proof of consent (a letter or affidavit) from both his or her parents or legal guardians to travel in or out of the country.
- •A letter from the person who will receive the child in South Africa, including that person's full contact details and a copy of their passport or ID book. The letter must also include details about where the child will be staying, and full contact details of both parents or legal guardians.
Should you have any queries regarding this information, please do not hesitate to contact the Ground Communication team on 0800 054 6843.
Changes to the Paper Counterpart driving licence and how it will affect you/your customers renting a car?
What is happening?
If you have 2 part driving licence of a photo card and paper counterpart, the paper counterpart is being abolished. The counterpart holds information regarding endorsements and vehicle categories you are entitled to drive.
When is this happening?
DVLA confirm 08th June.
Alamo/National car rentals in the USA & Canada.
These suppliers have confirmed that the photo card driving licence only will be acceptable for renting a car for the USA & Canada only.
Avis car rentals in the UK
What happens for UK customers renting in the UK?
Collecting rental cars customers will require a valid photo card licence. Avis may require customers to consent to their licence records being accessed as needed. All UK customers will need to hold a full and valid licence free from any endorsements excluded in our terms & conditions.
*The following stores will require customers to bring their DVLA 'Share my License' code at the time of rental; Bae Samlesbury, Bae Warton, Barrow In Furness, Blackpool Airport, Bolton, Carlisle, Chester, Kendal, Lancaster, Reading, Stockport, Stoke On Trent, Warrington, Warrington Bank Quay Train Station, Workington.
Avis car rentals outside the UK
UK customers renting cars abroad bring along a one-time use pass code, which will enable Avis to check current restrictions and penalties.
Europcar car rentals in the UK
UK driving license holders hiring a vehicle from Europcar within the UK will need to use “Share Driving License”, the new online service from the DVLA, for validation of their driving record.
To view and create a one-time passcode the driver should go to https://www.gov.uk/view-driving-license where they will be asked to submit their:
• Driving license number
• National Insurance number
The passcode, which will be valid for a maximum period of 21 days from the point it is generated, must be presented and still be valid when picking up any rental vehicle from Europcar.
Alternatively, provided the driver brings their National Insurance number, Europcar can help them obtain the passcode by giving them access to ‘Share Driving Licence’ when picking up the vehicle.
Europcar car rentals outside the UK
UK driving license holders hiring vehicles outside of the UK and any drivers holding a non-UK driving license are unaffected by these changes.
For all UK and non UK rentals a valid photo card driving license or the ‘old style’ UK paper license must be presented.
All other Car rentals companies what do I/your customer need to do?
• You will need to provide evidence of your driving record and this service will be free online by accessing the share your driving licence service on the DVLA website. This service is under development, updates can be found on https://www.gov.uk/government/news/driving-licence-changes
• You can call DVLA and give permission for your driving record to be checked verbally by a nominated person/organisation
What if I only have a Paper licence?
No changes for the paper only driving licence, until such time as you update your licence and will be reissued with a photo card version.
At present there is no change for Northern Ireland, the counterpart remains a requirement as this is a devolved responsibility