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Going to Italy via London Heathrow layover and Spain - Do I need to quarantine?

I can not find much information that is concrete so I am reaching out to the community for help if anyone has a clear answer.

I am spending 8/16-8/21 in Spain before going to Italy 8/21-8/29 for an important wedding. We are both fully vaccinated and plan to continue to take all precautions for masks and being outside etc.

Currently our flight goes from Seattle direct to London Heathrow then onto Madrid. After a few days we will fly to Rome for the remainder of our trip. Does anyone have a clear answer about needing to quarantine in Italy for 5 days or are we ok because we stay "airside" in Heathrow and never actually enter the country. It is just not completely clear anywhere online that I can find.

Our current flight is refundable but I used American miles and of course a different flight to Madrid by way of a US city which would avoid Heathrow is not available anymore at the mile level I booked at 30k pp! I called American Airlines and they would not move to the Seattle --> Dallas --> Madrid flight so I am in a pickle! My only other option to avoid Heathrow is paying cash for the one way ticket or using Chase points which I was hoping to avoid -- Any help of a link that will clear this up or guidance would be appreciated.


Posted by
2141 posts

I think it's completely clear:

Those who have stayed in or transited through the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (including Gibraltar, the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands and British bases on the island of Cyprus) in the 14 days prior to entering Italy are required to:

  • produce a negative molecular or antigen swab test in the 48 hours prior to entering Italy. Children under 6 years of age are exempt from the pre-departure swab test
  • fill in the Digital Passenger Locator Form before entering Italy
  • undergo health surveillance and self-isolation for 5 days
  • undergo an additional molecular or antigen swab test at the end of the 5-day isolation period

Posted by
2 posts

Thanks for the quick reply and pointing out the or transited through* portion. I was 99% sure that was going to be the case but I was hoping I could get away with just the layover but It looks like I will be making alternative travel plans today.

Posted by
12187 posts

You are going to have to change your flight to avoid the quarantine requirement for Italy.

Since you have to change the flight anyway, you might consider scrapping the Spain portion of your trip and fly directly to Italy from the US. That could give you more options, perhaps using your American miles.

(I had to find a non-Heathrow flight for us and just got a nice flight directly to Milan on Emirates, but that is using Alaska miles, not American).