Air France stops identity checks on passengers boarding its flights

Air France has stopped carrying out a final identity check to make sure that the same name is present on passengers' passports and their boarding passes, raising concerns over flight safety from unions and local authorities.

Air France stops identity checks on passengers boarding its flights
Photo: AFP
The measure, which was taken on January 22nd, affects flights within France and the EU's Schengen zone and will also be applied to Air France's budget airlines Hop! and Transavia.
And while many are surprised by the change in procedure, the airline has defended itself, saying that since France's state of emergency was lifted in November last year (it has since been replaced by a tough anti-terrorism law) it is not obliged to carry out the check.  
“The procedure to verify that the name mentioned on the passenger's boarding pass corresponds to that of the passenger's identity card has been obsolete since November 1st,” a spokesperson for the airline told Le Figaro
“It was a measure that we had temporarily put back in place in 2016. Now that the state of emergency has been lifted, we have returned to what we were doing before.”
And the company's Director of Air Security Gilles Leclair has also come out in defense of the move, arguing that this final check before people board the plane does not constitute a security check. 
“The people who come to the boarding gate are supposed to be secure, since they have been screened and undergone the usual checks, including an X-ray of their carry-on bags and sometimes a check for traces of explosives,” he told Europe 1. 
“If the people arriving to board the plane are not in possession of the correct identity, they do not constitute a safety problem when they board the plane.”
Despite this, it might take a bit more convincing for others to get on board, with the President of Air France's pilots union SPAF, Grégoire Aplincourt, expressing concern over the move.
“With this measure, you could have a passenger on the plane who is attempting to commit a malicious act. Fortunately, baggage is screened, but overall, you could have a passenger who has had someone else buy his ticket for the wrong reasons.” 
The Mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi also came out against the change in the boarding process, calling it “unacceptable” and asking for the measure to “re-established at all the companies.”


Travel in Europe: UK to scrap all Covid travel rules

The UK is set to scrap all Covid-19 travel restrictions in what the government described as a "landmark moment".

Travel in Europe: UK to scrap all Covid travel rules

Testing is no longer required for vaccinated travellers, but the UK government has announced that it will scrap all Covid-19 travel rules on Friday, March 18th.

“As one of the first major economies to remove all its remaining Covid-19 travel restrictions, this is a landmark moment for passengers and the travel and aviation sector,” said the Government in a press release. 

From 4am on March 18th:

  • Passengers going to the UK will no longer be required to fill out a Passenger Locator Form before travel;
  • Passengers who are not vaccinated will not be required to take a pre-departure Covid test, or a Day 2 test following arrival. Fully vaccinated travellers are already exempt from having to do this;
  • Hotel quarantine for travellers coming from ‘red list’ countries, of which there are currently none, will also be scrapped by the end of the month. 

“We will continue monitoring and tracking potential new variants, and keep a reserve of measures which can be rapidly deployed if needed to keep us safe,” said UK Health Minister Sajid Javid. 

The UK has lifted all Covid-related rules including mask rules and mandatory self-isolation if you test positive for Covid.

Some European countries still have Covid restrictions in place for unvaccinated people coming from the UK. 

Until March 18th

Until the new rules come into effect, all travellers are required to fill out a passenger locator form. 

Unvaccinated travellers are also required to take pre-departure test and a test on or before Day 2 following their arrival. 

The UK border officers will recognise proof of vaccination provided with an EU Covid Certificate.

For the UK “fully vaccinated” means 14 days after your final dose of a EMA/FDA or Swiss approved vaccine (Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson). 

After a period of confusion, the UK government says that it will accept mixed doses administered in the EU (eg one dose of AstraZeneca and one of Pfizer).

However people who have only had a single dose after previously recovering from Covid – which is standard practice in some European countries – are not accepted as vaccinated by the UK.