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Covid question - if a co-traveler tests positive

When I have traveled in the US and Mexico in the last year, there’s always the question at the airport, “Have I been around anyone who tested positive recently?” It’s always been a “no” for me, but I am wondering if anyone here has had to answer that question with a “yes”. If so, was there any issue with you being allowed to fly? I’m asking because I’m planning to be in Europe next year on a RS tour and also traveling with my daughter. If I tested positive, my daughter would need to get back home for her job. (I’m retired.)

I know the chance is slim. I’m looking for someone with actual experience with this situation. Thanks so much!

Posted by
10359 posts

If everyone is fully vaccinated, only the person who tests positive needs to stay in isolation. Everyone else is free to leave. That is not one of the questions on the CDC attestation form you fill out and turn in before boarding the plane. We were never asked the US questions when leaving Europe. We weren't asked at US passport in Detroit either. This is based on personal experience of traveling to the US three weeks ago with someone who had been positive but was cleared to travel. We never had to explain ourselves until we turned in the CDC attestation form, along with doctor's letters clearing us to fly, to the CDG gate agent.

Posted by
496 posts

If everyone is fully vaccinated, only the person who tests positive needs to stay in isolation. Everyone else is free to leave. That is not one of the questions on the CDC attestation form you fill out and turn in before boarding the plane. This is based on personal experience of traveling in a situation with someone positive.

That maybe the US practice but other countries are different. And Omicron is different too - certainly talk in New Zealand that the whole family should isolate if one person tests positive - which would suggest a travelling companion would have to isolate too.

If you daughter can't risk being late back to work she should maybe reconsider travel.

Posted by
7463 posts

Diane, absolutely. That’s why I’m asking the question.

Posted by
10359 posts

Our experience was in France, and it was the same for a friend who lives in Germany. I have no idea what the US would do. I agree through that Omicron is a new situation and the national health care could change the procedure between now and when tours begin due to the shorter incubation time with this variant.

As for the question: when checking in for the domestic leg of the trip to the US this month, our health passes were scanned. They don't ask those questions. As of now, if you are fully vaccinated, you are not considered contagious unless you have a symptom.

Let's face it, if Omicron is still riping through the population, do you think tours will go?

Posted by
7722 posts

Early on, you listed traveling companions, and if one of you was positive, you all were quarantined. Policies may have changed since then, and likely will change before your trip. About all you can say is that if your Daughter is in close proximity (share a room, constant travel companions, same flight over and back) then it is an eventuality to prepare for, just as her testing positive, and you not, is a possibility.

To help, I would book separate tickets over, maybe even separate flights, when you fill out a Passenger Locator Form,(if that is still a thing then) do not list her as a travel companion, she is just another person on the tour. If one of you does test positive, the authorities and I suppose input from the RS people, with your honest input, will determine the outcome. In this type of case, I suppose local health authorities have the final decision.

However, as this pandemic matures, I think it unlikely, if she is fully vaccinated and boosted, and tests negative, that she would be stopped from leaving. She may have to take a second test (if Antigen showed negative, take a PCR) which may delay a day or two, but all that will be dependent on the country you are in and the requirements at the time.

Posted by
8647 posts

Jean, you mention her fear of somehow being detained and not making it back to work. This is not an insignificant concern. I have a trip planned with my sister to the UK for March. As we get closer, her stress level over this possibility just keeps rising. I think we will end up rescheduling because if a person is extremely stressed about being able to return to work on time, it is not really a vacation.

Each person needs to decide for himself/herself what level of risk/stress makes this a go or no go situation. I hope you can both find a solution that is satisfactory for you.

Posted by
6113 posts

The rules in the U.K. are different depending on whether you are both double vaccinated. If yes, then only the person tested positive needs to isolate, but the other should have a PCR test. If one of you tests positive, it would be pretty remiss of the other to get on a flight and potentially infect the whole plane with the Omicron variant in circulation.

There’s a good chance that these rules will be changed to reflect the necessity to have a third shot.

Posted by
10359 posts

"If one of you tests positive, it would be pretty remiss of the other to get on a flight and potentially infect the whole plane with the Omicron variant in circulation. "

I'm sure the countries will change their quarantine rules to reflect the Omicron variant. However, for now, which is what Jean is asking about, if a person tests negative, which they have to do to get on an airplane, if the person is fully vaccinated, which is required of Americans visiting in most European countries, if not triple-vaccinated, that person is free to leave, whether it's remiss or not in someone's opinion.

I've clarified my initial answer to clear up any misunderstandings.

Posted by
7463 posts

Just to share a little more detail, I will be taking a RS tour next year as a solo traveler. I am wondering if someone either during the tour or as we’re testing to come back home tests positive & I test negative, am I detained in that country?

Then, a few months later, my adult daughter & I are traveling to Europe. She really wants to go, so she wouldn’t stress about returning to work. But, I wouldn’t want to be the reason why she couldn’t return to work on time.

So in both situations, I was wondering if someone has experience they could share of what happened to them if their companion tested positive. Thanks!

Posted by
7463 posts

Thank you, Bets! I appreciate the quick replies. I needed to make a final decision regarding the RS tour soon, so I could modify my trip with my daughter, if it made more sense. Plan B is that I would cancel the RS tour and extend my trip with my daughter- send her back to the US after two weeks, and I could stay longer.

Posted by
79 posts

Thanks for asking this question, Jean. This was something I was thinking of posting myself. We have 2 trips planned next year(fingers crossed): RS My Way Alpine Europe & Italy on our own. My husband owns his business & I work there, so trying to arrange for things to be covered when we travel in normal times is stressful, let alone if 1 or both of us needs to quarantine if testing positive or being in close proximity of someone who tested positive. We are going on the RS tour with a friend who is traveling w/o her husband. If she tests positive & we don't, I would feel terrible just leaving her there in quarantine on her own. For the Italy trip, we are traveling with another couple who most likely will not have the extra vacation time available from their jobs if needing to quarantine. They have never been to Europe before & I am doing all the trip planning. Again, I would feel terrible leaving them behind in quarantine if we test negative.

I am planning to meet with them after the new year & go over all the potential things they need to be prepared for (as we know at this point in time). Then they can make an informed decision whether to go to Europe next year. I have already started thinking about back-up U.S. vacation ideas if we decide to cancel.