Article by Think Spain

Airlines flying to and from Spain will now be offering masks for sale for passengers and are required by law to have enough of a supply on board to cover the full length of the flight in the event of it being a long-haul connection or likely to be delayed so travellers are on board for more than four hours.

Passengers must wear a mask when they board and will be asked to ensure they have enough with them for the entire trip. They can buy extras in flight if they run out.

Cabin crew are required to remind all passengers to deposit used masks in special bags, not to drop them on the floor or leave them on their seats.

As part of the usual safety demonstrations – involving oxygen mask and life-jacket use, and how to put on and adjust a seatbelt – flight attendants will also now demonstrate and explain how to use masks on the journey and what to do about them in the event of an emergency.

Passengers can be refused entry to the plane if they are not wearing a mask and have to remain on the runway until they have put one on.

Depending upon the type of flight and ‘as far as possible’, passengers must be kept at a distance from each other, except where they are members of the same household, or are companions of people with reduced mobility or elderly.

Movement of passengers must be limited as much as possible whilst on board and in-flight services reduced to the absolute minimum.

Food and drink, if served, will be in sealed containers. Sales of other goods have been stopped. Payment should be made by card wherever possible.

Anyone showing Covid-19 symptoms may be denied boarding and will be tested and isolated as necessary.

Those who start to display symptoms in flight, will be isolated as far as is possible depending upon cabin occupation and the structure of the plane. Companions travelling with anyone who starts to show symptoms on the journey must also be isolated and only one cabin crew member wearing PPE should attend to them. They must report the case immediately upon landing to health authorities and follow instructions given. All travellers within two rows of the ‘suspect passenger’ must be interviewed and their contact details taken to ensure they can be monitored.

Any possible cases of Covid-19 detected before, during or after the flight must be reported immediately to authorities and lists of passenger data kept for a minimum of four weeks after the flight in case the health service needs to access them.

Ventilation On Board

Airlines are required to take all steps to ensure passengers are not on board the aircraft without proper ventilation for more than 30 minutes.

Even though an aeroplane cabin is an enclosed space, the ventilation systems mean the air is safer on board than on the ground.

It has been discovered that the risk of contracting Covid-19 is not so great from touching surfaces as it is from airborne particles. These are not just expelled through coughing or sneezing, but talking, shouting, laughing, singing or any other use of the voice can spread them. The louder the voice is raised and the more effort involved, the greater the number of particles released and the farther they reach, therefore travellers who are hard of hearing should wear their hearing aids to avoid anyone talking to them having to shout.

Forms to be completed via Spain Travel Health (SpTH)

Completing a form with recent health details and contact data is a requirement of travel into Spain. They can be completed up to 48 hours before arrival but if not, the airline must provide the form to the passengers. Online completion is required, either via the SpTH website, or its mobile phone App.

Everyone has to fill the form in when travelling to Spain, meaning even long-term permanent residents in Spain, or Spaniards have to do so when they return after a holiday. Forms are only valid for a single flight. If the traveller does not have a mobile phone that allows access to Google Playstore, does not have memory space to download an App, or comes from outside the EU where roaming costs for doing so could be extortionate, he or she can complete the form online at which is in several languages. Once complete, the traveller will be prompted to download a QR code, which must be shown at the airport.

It can be printed off and the paper presented if preferred, so the health control staff at the arrival airport can scan it, or passengers can scan it themselves on machines set up and clearly indicated, the way they currently do in many airports with a boarding pass in order to access security control.

Anyone under 18 travelling alone must have their QR code with them, even if it is their parents or legal guardians who have completed the form on their behalf.

Once you have signed the form, it will show up in the ‘My Travel’ section on the SpTH site and passengers will also receive an email, which they can print out as proof. Known as a ‘health monitoring form’ (Formulario de Control Sanitario, or FCS), it includes five sections on personal details, contact details, information about the trip and a health declaration. It is easy to follow and only takes around five minutes to complete. You must put your national ID number in if you have one, or your passport number if you do not, together with your flight details, email address and information about your stay.

Not knowing the address of your hotel or resort, is not a problem: The name of the town or city and the autonomously-governed region, are the only location data required. If you know the town name, you can find the name of the region on a map, or via a straightforward Google search.

Flight seat numbers are required for the form, so for randomly-allocated seating, passengers will need to check in online before they finish their FCS and get their QR code.

Those who do not have an email address can use a family member’s, even if that person is not on the trip with them, or that of their travelling companion.

Once they have registered on the SpTH site, passengers will receive a code allowing them to access it via their email address, which they must enter where indicated. Those who do not find this in their inbox instantly should check their ‘spam’ folder.

A separate form is required for each traveller, meaning for a family flying together, all members, even children and babies, must have an individual form completed – there is, as yet, no system available for filling in a ‘family form’.

If a passenger calls off his or her trip, or it is otherwise cancelled, there is no need to deactivate the form data or de-register from the SpTH site – it will automatically be deleted within three months.

Forms cannot be amended or corrected once signed and the QR code accessed, but if any information changes before arrival, the passenger should report this to the health control checkpoint on entering Spain.

The SpTH site is easy to follow, covers a long string of frequently-asked questions, and is available in English, Spanish, French or German.