BA increases US flights as demand surges

·33-min read
terminal 5 heathrow - TOLGA AKMEN/AFP
terminal 5 heathrow - TOLGA AKMEN/AFP

Demand for transatlantic travel has led British Airways to increase flights between the US and the UK.

Services between New York-JFK and London Heathrow will increase to 21 per week (up from 17 per week), Los Angeles and Chicago will rise to 10 per week (up from seven per week), starting from August 16.

Plus, from August 23, flights between Seattle and London Heathrow will increase to seven services per week (up from four per week), and Los Angeles will further increase to 14 per week. BA also plans to continue to add to schedules between the US and UK throughout September.

Fully vaccinated US travellers are now exempt from quarantine on arrival to the UK, but most UK residents cannot visit the US if they’ve been in the UK in the previous 14 days. On July 19, the US State Department issued a warning against travel to the UK.

Calls continue for the opening of a transatlantic travel corridor, however, Roger Dow, president of the US Travel Association, told Sky News today that the was being "too cautious".

Scroll down for the latest travel updates.

04:46 PM

What happened today?

A recap of the top stories:

  • Quarantine scrapped for fully vaccinated US and EU arrivals

  • PM wants travel rules to be as 'user-friendly as possible'

  • Tourists evacuated as wildfires burn in Italy, Spain and Greece

  • British Airways bumps up US flight schedule

  • Foreign Office warns travellers of France's vaccine passport law

Join us tomorrow for more of the latest travel news

04:41 PM

Comment: 'Britain's international travel policy is utterly illiberal - even with the latest exemptions'

Ministers are trying to present the illusion of giving back our freedoms, while simultaneously dissuading us from taking advantage of them, writes Ross Clark.

Today ought to mark an important staging-post on the way to regaining our freedom to travel – and no less importantly to the recovery of the UK tourist industry. Double-vaccinated travellers coming to Britain from the US and the EU (France excepted) will no longer have to isolate for 10 days – echoing the relaxation of rules introduced for UK travellers two weeks ago.

Yet no sooner did Heathrow and Gatwick start dusting down long-mothballed arrivals' halls that the government floated the idea of putting some European countries on an ‘amber watchlist’, meaning that they could be turned red at a moment’s notice – with the result that anyone arriving from them would be forced into 10 days’ hotel quarantine at a cost of £1750 per head.

Many people who thought they were finally free to take a holiday will now balk at booking themselves a break. Two weeks in the sun simply isn’t worth the risk of 10 days' imprisonment in an airport hotel eating microwaved gloop. Bookings, which had been increasing, will now be in danger of collapsing.

Maybe that is the whole point. The government is trying to present the illusion of giving back our freedoms, while simultaneously dissuading us from taking advantage of them. But if that is its game, it is less like the fabled 'nudge', more a powerful shove.

Read the full story.

04:31 PM

Devastating wildfires wreak ‘incalculable’ environmental damage across southern Europe

Devastating wildfires are quickly spreading across much of southeast Europe, with holidaymakers forced to flee resorts by boat and agricultural workers watching their livelihoods go up in flames.

Across Turkey, Greece, Italy and Spain, the region is facing one of its most severe heat waves in decades, combined with strong winds and low humidity. Experts warn this is one of the first impacts of climate change on the Mediterranean.

Read the full story.

04:21 PM

Hope for holidays? UK Covid cases continue to fall

A further 21,952 lab-confirmed Covid-19 infections have been confirmed in the UK, Government figures show, continuing the sustained decline in infections since July 19.

Would-be holidaymakers will be hoping a continued decline in cases could prompt a loosening of travel restrictions on UK travellers in countries such as the US.

04:05 PM

Twitter reaction: How busy is Heathrow today?

There have been reports of quarter-mile queues at Heathrow today, as the airport processes more passengers after restrictions on US and EU passengers eased.

However, some social media users have been reporting an easy airport experience.

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03:43 PM

Quarantine scrapped for fully vaccinated US and EU arrivals

Double-jabbed travellers from the US and many European countries can now travel to the UK without facing self-isolation after a rule change came into effect at 4am this morning.

The easing of travel restrictions puts those who were vaccinated in the US or the EU on an even footing with those vaccinated in the UK for whom quarantine on return from amber list countries (with the exception of France) was waived on July 19.

Travellers will still need to meet the UK’s testing requirements – a pre-departure test Covid test and a PCR test taken on or before the second day after they arrive.

John Holland-Kaye, chief executive of Heathrow Airport, told Radio 4’s Today Programme this morning that the second day PCR test rule needs to be scrapped and replaced with a lateral flow test: “We rely on lateral flow tests for everyday life, why not use them for [passengers] as well”, he said.

Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, is due to issue an update to the traffic light categories this week. The review could bring the addition of a new amber watchlist category, which would indicate countries that are at risk of turning red. Arrivals from red list destinations are subject to a stay in a quarantine hotel at a cost of up to £1,750 per person

03:35 PM

Boris Johnson: 'Balance' needed on international travel

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the UK economy and society "is just about the most open in Europe" as a result of the vaccine rollout but caution was still needed around travel.

He told reporters at Airbus in Stevenage: "On travel, we have had to balance it because of the anxiety that I think a lot of people have – I have – about importing new variants, bringing back the disease.

"We also have to recognise that people want, badly, to go on their summer holidays, we need to get the travel industry moving again, we need to get our city centres open again and so we want an approach that is as simple as we can possibly make it."

03:23 PM

Poll: Should the Government create an amber watchlist?

Would the creation of an amber watchlist provide helpful guidance or be confusing and risky? Have your say in the poll below.

03:15 PM

The countries that could go green, amber and red this week

The three-week traffic light update has come around once again and this Thursday (August 5) we are due to learn which countries will turn green and amber or join the red list.

But the rules have changed with the emergence of the ‘amber plus’ list. Currently, arrivals from sole entrant France face a 10-day quarantine (even if fully vaccinated) and all eyes will be on whether it is promoted or joined by others in this unhappy category.

To add to the confusion, the Government has toyed with the idea of an ‘amber watchlist’, which (similar to the green watchlist) would signal countries at risk of going red with minimal warning. If it goes ahead, anyone deciding to travel to these destinations would be taking a big gamble and could end up in costly hotel quarantine on their return to the UK.

Here's everything you need to know about the update this week.

03:03 PM

Despite popular opinion, the French love Britain more than anywhere else

Our food, manners and theatres are just some of the reasons why our near neighbours cannot wait to return to our shores, writes Anthony Peregrine.

More French people arrive into the UK than any other European country – ahead of the Germans, Irish and Spanish. But they’ll have to wait just a bit longer, as France remains on Britain’s ‘amber plus’ list, meaning a 10-day quarantine regardless of vaccination status.

I assure you, they cannot wait. Contrary to opinions often (and forcibly) voiced on this website, a great many French people don’t hate Britain. They love it. I’ve spent recent hours conducting an ultra-scientific survey among a few French people I know and, believe me, they’ll be coming back to Great Britain just as soon as the door’s decently open.

Read Anthony's piece in full.

02:47 PM

Government must do more to save travel jobs, says Unite

The Government must take further action to support jobs in the travel industry, one of the country's largest unions has said.

Diana Holland, the Unite union's assistant general secretary for civil air transport, said: "The current traffic light system is not working and there is disagreement within Government about how to move forward.

"While the situation remains uncertain and complex, the Government must provide job-saving support to our aviation and travel industry. "

While France and Germany had put in place sector-specific support for the aviation industry, "the UK civil air transport sector has haemorrhaged jobs", she said.

"With the summer season all but scuppered and travel not expected to return to sustainable levels for the immediate future, the Government must follow the lead of our competitor nations and take action to secure jobs, and make sure aviation can rebuild safely and sustainably for all our futures."

02:36 PM

PM wants travel rules to be as 'user-friendly as possible'

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he wanted international travel rules to be as "user-friendly as possible".

Asked whether he personally backed an 'amber watchlist' category, Mr Johnson told reporters:

I understand that people care very much about their holidays, people want to go abroad, I understand how much people plan, prepare, for the summer holidays.

But we have also got to remember this is still a dangerous virus and we must try and stop variants coming in, must stop importing variants from abroad, so we have to have a balanced approach.

What I want to see is something that is as simple and as user-friendly for people as possible.

02:32 PM

Green-listed Iceland seen in 14 stunning images

New picture books by award-winning photographer James Rushforth highlight how elemental forces of nature define the country's landscapes, writes Annabel Fenwick Elliott.

iceland - ©James Rushforth
iceland - ©James Rushforth

It is home to some of the world's most extraordinarily beautiful landscapes, and better still, Iceland is on England's green list; meaning it is relatively easy to visit.

Intrigued? Allow award-winning photographer and destination expert James Rushforth to be your guide.

"The variety of landscapes in Iceland is staggering and the first time I visited I was immediately drawn to the adventurous nature of the harsh environments," says James, who is also a professional climber and skier. "Whilst it sounds a little cliche, there are so few countries so clearly defined by, and inextricably linked with, the elemental forces of nature."

The picture shown here is James's guidebook. See the full, featured 14.

02:12 PM

The White House is being 'too cautious' on UK travel, says US travel boss

Fully vaccinated US travellers can now visit the UK without facing quarantine. However, most UK travellers are still unable to visit the US.

US Travel Association president Roger Dow told Sky News that the White House was being "too cautious".

Mr Dow said the UK government had made a "very wise decision" in removing isolation requirements and that he wants Joe Biden to do the same.

"It's time for the US to reciprocate," he said. "It's time to bring back the economy of both countries."

miami - Getty
miami - Getty

02:00 PM

The latest rules for travel to Italy

Italy extended its quarantine rule for Britons last week. Those arriving from the UK must isolate for five days.

If you've planned a trip to the country this summer, here's what you need to know.

01:53 PM

Amber watchlist 'massive red flag' for travel, warns Tory MP

Creating a further category in the travel traffic lights system is a "massive red flag", a senior Tory backbencher has said.

Huw Merriman, chairman of the Commons' transport committee, joins the growing backlash against rumoured plans to create a new list of countries at risk of joining the red list, which requires hotel quarantine on return.

The Conservative MP for Bexhill and Battle told the BBC it was "a massive red flag which is likely to cause bookings to those countries on that watchlist to collapse".

He added: "We don't need any more uncertainty, complexity, or anxiety for passengers, for this beleaguered sector. It just needs clarity. I would urge the Government not to do anything with it."

01:49 PM

A view from China

China is among the tens of countries that remain inaccessible to UK travellers.

Here's one view of life in the Zhejiang Province.

fishing boats - Getty
fishing boats - Getty

01:40 PM

Tory MP: Time for a travel plan where 'vaccines do more of the work'

John Redwood, a Conservative backbencher, said the travel industry needs "greater certainty" about what the rules will be.

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01:22 PM

The ultimate guide to cruise holidays in Europe this year

The ban on international voyages has just been dropped, so there's still time to squeeze in a river or ocean cruise before the end of 2021, writes Sara Macefield.

See what's on offer, from Greece to Rotterdam.

01:09 PM

Serbia benefits from Covid-19 'quarantine tourism' as Indians visit

Serbia is benefiting from Covid-19 'quarantine tourism' as thousands of Indians make a two-week stopover on the way to other countries.

India has registered more coronavirus cases than any other country except the United States. Its citizens are barred from entering many countries during the pandemic unless they spend two weeks in another country en route.

Serbia has become a popular stopover destination for Indians because it offers them visa-free entry if they have been vaccinated and test negative for the virus.

They are also required to spend at least the first seven days of their stay in Serbia in isolation, depending from conditions set by their destination countries. They must also take another coronavirus test at the end of their quarantine.

01:03 PM

Traffic light update: Could any countries come off the red list?

Anticipation is mounting ahead of the traffic light update due later this week, with hopes that some countries could be removed from the dreaded red list.

Research from the PC Agency suggests four countries – Bahrain, India, Kenya and Pakistan – have seen their infection rates fall sufficiently to be moved from red to amber. However, hopes aren’t too high as no country has moved off the red list since its introduction, despite falling infection rates.

Will the Maldives come off the red list?  - Abllo Ameer
Will the Maldives come off the red list? - Abllo Ameer

Many holidaymakers will be keen on an update from popular holiday destinations the Maldives and UAE. Both have had successful vaccine rollouts (61.64% and 70.6% fully vaccinated, respectively) and recently declining cases. The Maldives has a seven-day rate of 147.32 per 100,000 while the UAE rates stand at 108.6 per 100,000 – both significantly lower than the UK.

Find the current red list here.

12:51 PM

Spotlight on Spain: Will the country be put on the amber watchlist?

An amber watchlist would be an unwelcome addition to the traffic light system for many travellers, who would fear being subjected to mandatory hotel quarantine on return (at a cost of £1,750 per person), if their destination turned red while they were away.

Looking at the current rates, Spain (Britain’s favourite holiday destination) would be at high risk of joining such a category, with its high seven-day infection rate of 356.4 per 100,000. However, cases are starting to fall following a raft of soft restrictions in the country including late night curfews. Recent data also shows the country has declining rates of the beta variant, which stand at 2.9 per cent of cases, down from nine per cent. Still, it remains one of the most likely amber watchlist candidates.

12:36 PM

Watch: Families reunited as vaccinated EU and US travellers arrive in UK

12:27 PM

International travel 'moving in right direction', says Abta

The international travel situation is "moving in the right direction", a spokesman for the association of travel agents and tour operators has said.

Sean Tipton of Abta told Sky News the industry felt that speculation was unhelpful ahead of Grant Shapps' anticipated announcement on the amber watchlist this week, but they were hopeful more countries would be added to the green list.

"We should see a situation whereby we should be able to travel with less restrictions, not more," he said. Noting the changes to travel from the EU and US, he said there was an "element of reciprocity" which made him hopeful the US would respond.

12:17 PM

Make a break for Berat – before the rest of the world does, too

Now that Albania has lifted entry restrictions for Britons, it's a good time to visit one of its most enchanting cities, writes Elise Morton.

BERAT - Shutterstock
BERAT - Shutterstock

The road to Berat was longer than it looked on the map. Although roughly 62 miles from the Albanian capital, Tirana, the journey by bus or “furgon” (shared minivan taxis with a flexible approach to timetabling) takes two to three hours, usually making the not entirely logical detour to the western seaside resort of Durres. The trip south passes through a number of villages, where the bus erratically pulls over to pick up others heading to the “city of a thousand windows”.

Read the full story.

11:56 AM

Foreign Office warns travellers of France's vaccine passport law

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) has warned Britons in France that they should be ready to present their vaccination certificates or produce a negative Covid-19 test at restaurants, cafes, museums, some public transport and other venues.

It became law in France despite widespread public demonstrations.

"You need to demonstrate your Covid-19 status including vaccination status, negative test or proof of recent recovery, to access events or spaces with over 50 people attending," the FCDO said in its latest update.

"From 9 August this will apply to a wider group of leisure activities as well as some public transport."

11:41 AM

An ‘amber watchlist’ would write off holidays to Spain and Greece this summer

Another week brings another hare-brained proposal that threatens to throw holidays further into chaos, writes Greg Dickinson.

Just when you thought holidays couldn’t get more complicated, more wracked with anxiety, over the weekend it emerged that the Government is contemplating a new traffic light category.

It is the worst one yet. Introducing: the ‘amber watchlist’.

Inclusion in this category would mean a country is at risk of sliding from amber to red at short notice. Whether ‘short notice’ means 24 hours or a few days is unclear.

As it stands, travelling back from an amber country isn’t too prohibitive. If double jabbed, you can return from amber countries quarantine free. Everyone else must quarantine at home for up to 10 days, with the option to emerge with a negative test result after day five. But red is the nuclear category: 10 days locked up in a quarantine hotel at your own expense.

Read Greg's piece in full.

11:28 AM

Most expensive Covid test providers face axe from govt. list

The most costly Covid-19 travel testing companies among government-approved providers face being struck from the list.

An audit of the 420 providers listed on the website will be carried out, with some of the worst companies banned altogether, The Times reports.

The International Air Transport Association (Iata) said that the price of testing for people on arrival into the UK remained one of the major barriers to overseas travel. Iata said PCR tests were more expensive in the UK than elsewhere in Europe.

11:18 AM

Saga to restart foreign cruises in October

Saga Cruises will resume international cruises on October 5 following the lifting of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development advice against international travel via cruise ship.

One ship, Spirit of Adventure, will embark on a five-day itinerary from Dover taking in Rotterdam, Amsterdam and Zeebrugge with prices starting at £1,156 per person.

Meanwhile, a 22-night voyage on the Spirit of Discovery will depart on October 24 from Southampton to the Mediterranean. The cruise will include calls at Hvar, Split, Venice, Valetta, Kotor and Menorca. Prices start at £6,299pp.

11:05 AM

Teen tour guides and whale sharks: positive travel news

Think travel is all doom and gloom? Think again. Aisling O'Leary has picked out exciting things happening in the world of tourism to remind us that great experiences await both on home turf, and further afield as we start to travel more freely again.

whale shark
whale shark

They include an uptick in the whale shark population in St Helena.

10:47 AM

Tourists evacuated as wildfires burn in Italy, Spain and Greece

Holidaymakers have been evacuated after wildfires hit a pine wood near a beach in Pescara, Italy, The Guardian reports.

More than 800 flare-ups were recorded this weekend, according to Italy's national fire service.

Wildfires have caught hold in countries across southern Europe, including Spain, Greece and Turkey.

More than 200 people were taken to safety from the seaside around Catania in Sicily and dozens of villages were evacuated in tourist areas in southern Turkey.

10:41 AM

Uptick in London hotel bookings thanks to corporate travellers

Rebecca Masri, founder of Little Emperors (a private members hotel club), says the business has seen a 10 per cent uptick in bookings for its London partner hotels since the announcement that EU and US citizens can visit the UK quarantine-free (the rule change came into effect today).

She added:

These bookings are mainly from corporate travellers, who have been waiting to return to the UK to resume business meetings face-to face after over a year or virtual meetings and business. Our most popular London hotels have been The Connaught and the Four Seasons on Park Lane.

10:30 AM

Nightlife resumes in Portugal

Bars and nightclubs reopened in Portugal on Sunday, with some establishments enjoying the first night of business since the start of the pandemic.

Cafes, restaurants and other venues in areas with high case numbers have had to shut by 10.30pm, but this week sees that restriction eased.

Customers must still remain seated. However, once 80 per cent of the adult population is fully vaccinated (expected by October), dancing will be allowed.

10:21 AM

A view from Corfu

British holidaymakers must still navigate a complex (and ever-changing) set of international travel rules. Our traffic light system is more complicated than the travel restrictions facing EU nationals, as one travel agent suggests.

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10:08 AM

Which countries are open to UK travellers?

Annabel Fenwick Elliott has taken a look at rules for UK travellers arriving in nations across the world.

See her findings.


09:50 AM

Families reunited as vaccinated EU and US travellers arrive in UK

Dominic Penna has been on the ground at Heathrow this morning on the first day of travel rules easing.

He reports:

As of 4am on Monday morning, fully-vaccinated arrivals from the United States and the 27 EU countries were no longer required to quarantine, opening the door to leisure travel and long-awaited reunions.

Among the travellers Dominic has spoken to are:

Karen Tyler, 57, last saw Jonathan, 27, in autumn 2019 when he was back in the UK on a brief visit from Houston.

“He's here to see family and his grandma who's not so well, so hopefully he'll get to see her and spend time with her,” she said.

deborah greaves - AP
deborah greaves - AP

Deborah Greaves, 60, an office manager, was reunited with her son Joshua, 30 - who lives in Sweden with his American wife - for the first time in more than a year.

“I was supposed to go out at the very beginning of it all and I had to cancel,” she said.

“He's got to work and study so we'll work around that. But we'll spend lots of time together as a family - his brother's very excited to see him.

Read the full story.

09:37 AM

Loganair starts flights between Wales and Scotland

Loganair launches a new regional route linking Wales with Scotland today.

Flights from Cardiff to Edinburgh will run five times a week.

After Flybe collapsed in March 2020 many regional routes in the UK, including between the Welsh capital and Ediburgh, were lost.

The first Loganair flight between the cities leaves Edinburgh for Cardiff at 14:30pm today.

09:22 AM

London hotel enjoys boost from US travellers

It could be even trickier to secure summer holiday accommodation in booked-up Britain now that fully vaccinated US and EU travellers can visit without facing quarantine.

However, London hotels – which tend to rely on international travellers – may enjoy the biggest boost.

Stuart Geddes, general manager of The Lanesborough (in Knightsbridge), said:

We at The Lanesborough have so missed our guests from across the pond and, following last week’s positive government announcement, are pleased to have received a 50 per cent increase on US travellers overnight in addition to numerous enquiries. We are delighted and hope this only increases.

09:07 AM

How to find solitude in the hills and dales of North Yorkshire

Mark Rowe is so bewitched by his paddleboard tour and ‘Awe Walk’ in the North York Moors, he even forgoes the pub…

The North York Moors have always seemed a place apart; they have a habit of springing up on you. Drive north along the A1 and you can easily overlook the heather-clad uplands keeping you company to the east.

From afar, I realised as I glided slowly along the River Esk by paddleboard, you can’t appreciate just how indented and sliced and diced the moors are. Rising in lonely Westerdale, the Esk takes a serpentine route through the national park before disgorging into the North Sea at Whitby. Counter-intuitively, paddleboarding is best done here by heading upriver on an incoming high tide, and so my brief encounter with the Esk began beneath the severe, broken-toothed glare of Whitby Abbey.

As well as offering chances to spot wildlife, the Esk slips beneath the Victorian-era Larpool Viaduct, and I passed photogenic small villages such as Ruswarp and riverbanks, where fishing boats were upturned against the weather. The further upstream you travel, the more you’re surrounded by moors cloaked in purple hues. “It gives you a very different perspective on the landscape; you see it from an angle that few people do,” said Simon Palmer of SUP Adventures who runs paddleboarding in and around the moor.

“What you’re looking at is a scene that’s pretty much unchanged for the past 200 years.”

Read the full story.

08:51 AM

In pictures: Families reunite as travel rules ease

Families who have been separated by travel restrictions can reunite following a rule change today. The change waives quarantine for fully vaccinated adults who received their jabs in the US or many European countries. Unvaccinated under 18s are also included in the exemption.

Relatives were pictured embracing, in images reminiscent of the film Love, Actually, as they arrived from the United States at Heathrow's Terminal 5 today.

terminal 5 - TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images
terminal 5 - TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images
terminal 5 - TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images
terminal 5 - TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images
terminal 5 - TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images
terminal 5 - TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images

08:41 AM

Ryanair adds flights for August bank holiday

The budget carrier has added flights from three UK airports to Croatia, Greece, Italy and Spain for the August bank holiday.

More than 5,000 extra seats will be available with new flight from Stansted, Manchester and East Midlands for ten routes with one-way fares starting at £24.99.

Stansted will see ten more returns added to Chania, Rhodes, Pula, Ancona, Brindisi, Lamezia, Palermo and Trieste.

One additional service to Malaga will operate from Manchester while east Midlands will have two departures to Alicante. The flights will be on sale for travel on August 26 and 30.

08:24 AM

Labour chairwoman: Govt. needs to be more 'open and transparent' over travel rules

Labour Party chairwoman Anneliese Dodds called on the Government to be "open and transparent" over its travel guidelines.

Asked if an amber watch list should be introduced, she told Times Radio:

Well, no, we don't want to see additional confusion and chaos here... We've been here before, we've been in this chaos before, and yet Government seems to be providing just more of the same, more confusion, more extra categories.

What we've said for months as the Labour Party is that the Conservative Government need to be open and transparent, they need to be actually publishing the data that they're taking their decisions on. They need to be also seeking that agreement around vaccine passports internationally that they've said they're trying to do, but we've seen no evidence of progress there.

If there's more openness, I think that's going to build trust in the system. The problem is, right now holidaymakers just don't know who to believe and we've got... seem to have the Chancellor briefing against the Prime Minister in the Sunday papers. That's not building confidence, ultimately, in the system.

08:12 AM

British Airways bumps up US flight schedule

BA saw bookings from the US surge by 95 per cent last week following the Government's announcement that quarantine would be waived for fully vaccinated US citizens coming to the UK.

Flights between New York-JFK and London Heathrow will increase to 21 services per week (up from 17 per week), Los Angeles and Chicago will increase to 10 per week (up from 7 per week), starting from August 16.

Plus, from August 23, flights between Seattle and London Heathrow will increase to seven services per week (up from 4 per week), and Los Angeles will further increase to 14 per week.

BA also plans to continue to bolster schedules between the US and UK throughout September.

jfk airport - Getty
jfk airport - Getty

Read our guide to travel rules for the US.

08:05 AM

No traces of Covid in train stations and carriages, study finds

No traces of Covid-19 have been found in train stations or carriages, a new study has found, as MPs say the back to work push can go ahead safely.

As part of a study by Imperial College London, places passengers regularly touch at train stations such as escalator handles, ticket machines and benches were swabbed, while hour-long air samples were taken.

Two rounds of testing were carried out at London Euston, Birmingham New Street, Liverpool Lime Street and Manchester Piccadilly station, in January and June, while tests were repeated on trains running between the stations.

Examination of the results by the university found no Covid-19 contamination of any surface, or airborne particles of the virus.

Read the full story.

07:55 AM

'Pingdemic' is having major impact on hospitality industry

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, warned the so-called "pingdemic" had hit at the same time as the reopening of the hospitality sector, having a major impact on staffing.

She told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "In the last month one in 10 of our businesses have had to close their sites and more importantly one in five have had to significantly adjust their offer or services in order to cope with the pandemic."

She added:

The pingdemic has hit at the same time as the reopening, they haven't had time to rebuild cash reserves and so they are in quite a fragile state and the hit to revenues as a result of the pingdemic is running at about 15 to 20 per cent of revenues for those businesses that are affected, so it is a significant suppression just at the point in time when these businesses needed to start recovering from about 16 months worth of closure and restrictions.

[...] We are recommending that workers have daily and regular tests and that's an important part of it for those who are a younger workforce who are through no fault of their own unable to be fully vaccinated by August 16... we are urging the Government to develop a more workable, pragmatic self-isolation policy for those workers that continue to be affected.

wetherspoon pub - Getty
wetherspoon pub - Getty

07:43 AM

Tens of thousands of jobs 'under threat' in the aviation sector

Tens of thousands of jobs are at risk in the aviation sector due, Airlines UK chief executive Tim Alderslade has said.

Among the issues has been the "total disaster" of placing France on the "amber-plus" list, which scraps the quarantine exemption for double-jabbed travellers.

Speaking on Times Radio, Mr Alderslade said: "If you've been fully vaccinated, or you're coming from a green country, there is not the need for a PCR test upon arrival when you've already done a pre-departure test.

"But we've somehow got to find a way of using the vaccine dividend that we built up, using the fact that case numbers are relatively stable, using the fact that when people come in to this country, the positivity rate, once they're tested, is only 0.4% – so air travel is not a dangerous activity if you look at the numbers – to try to get more countries on that green list.

He added: "We've now only got six to eight weeks until the end of the summer, and tens of thousands of jobs are under threat in the travel and aviation sector". See more of Mr Alderslade's comments in our 8.08am post.

07:34 AM

Australia extends Brisbane lockdown to Sunday

A snap three-day lockdown in Australia's third largest city, Brisbane, and some neighbouring regions will be extended until Sunday as officials asked for more time to contain an outbreak of the Delta variant.

Queensland state, of which Brisbane is the capital, detected 13 new locally acquired cases, up from nine a day earlier. The lockdown was due to end on Tuesday evening but is now scheduled to run until August 8.

07:26 AM

Minister: Amber watchlist will allow travellers to make 'informed decisions'

The creation of an amber watchlist will allow holidaymakers to make "informed decisions" when travelling abroad, a minister has said today.

Matt Warman, the digital minister, insisted he would not pre-empt an anticipated announcement by Grant Shapps later this week, in which the Transport Secretary is expected to confirm the new travel category, joining the green watchlist and amber-plus as well as the traditional traffic lights trio.

Mr Warman insisted it was not "complicated" if people "apply their common sense" and that the watchlist would help them to make "informed decisions" before they travel.

He told Sky News: "The point of the watchlist is to try and give people a sense of the direction of travel that a country is going in, to provide people with as much information as possible. People do have to make common sense judgements, that may involve taking into consideration the fact that a country’s rates may be getting worse."

Read more on the Politics Live blog.

07:24 AM

Which countries are on the amber list?

Fully vaccinated travellers (who received their jabs in most European countries, the US or the UK) are exempt from quarantine on arrival in the UK from amber-listed destinations.

A review of the traffic light categories is due this week, but which countries are currently amber?

Here's the full list with details of the rules for arrivals.

crete - Getty
crete - Getty

07:15 AM

Spain at risk of moving to the 'amber watchlist'

Boris Johnson has been warned he faces a Tory backbench backlash if the Government goes ahead with the introduction of “amber watch lists” for holidaymakers travelling to France, Spain or Italy.

The MPs and travel industry leaders who have been fighting a long rearguard action against the Government’s border policy believe it is an unnecessary complication designed solely to frighten Britons off foreign travel because ministers cannot afford to put the countries on the red list.

“Amber watch lists,” - like “green watch lists” - would mean the country was at serious risk of turning “red” at any point with minimal warning, Anyone deciding to go would be taking a big gamble that they could end up in hotel quarantine on their return to the UK.

Critics believe it is a classic fudge because the consequences of tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of holidaymakers being forced into hotel quarantine, at a cost of £1,750, if any major European country was placed on the red list are hard to imagine.

Read the full story.

07:08 AM

New tiers will further complicate travel, says Airlines UK boss

Tim Alderslade, the chief executive of Airlines UK, said he welcomed today's rule change for EU and US travellers.

However, he said that adding more tiers to the travel system, as Cabinet ministers are currently considering, would over-complicate international travel, describing the amber list as a "red flag for travellers".

Mr Alderslade told Times Radio:

I think the announcement this morning is very welcome – there will be an uptick in bookings.

We've seen from the US around a 300 per cent increase in bookings to the US - but we've got to somehow try to find a way to get more countries on the green list and we absolutely should not be going down the road of adding more tiers to an already very complicated international travel system.I think the problem with the US is that we can't travel there, so the Biden administration still will not allow Brits and Europeans to enter the US, so it will be slightly curtailed because of that.

I think the big issue for us as an industry is the green list... amber at the moment is a red flag for travellers, it's a glaring warning sign because of the worry that people have that they will either be stranded overseas or they will have to quarantine either in a hotel or a home for 10 days.

06:58 AM

The key stories from the weekend

  • Two-thirds of the cheapest 'government-approved' travel test kits were unavailable

  • Boris Johnson faces Tory backbench backlash over ‘amber watch list’ travel plans

  • UK rules are out of step with other countries, Sunak tells PM

  • Britain poised to lift travel ban on airport hubs

  • Seventeen countries could join the green list this week

Now onto today's headlines.

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