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Slovenia, France, Malta—EU Plf form, what an unexpected pain!

Only three countries still require this form, which must be filled out before you board. It is complicated, confusing, and our airline did not lead us to this form before check in, they just didn’t allow us to do an online check in. We’re experienced travelers, but this was a huge time consuming stress to fill out via our phone at the airport, after waiting 90 min in the check in line. We came close to missing our flight, and other people were upset and crying, because they were missing their international flights.

So if you are going to these countries, before you go to the airport (preferably a day or so before), go online, Google EU plf form, and fill it out in the comfort of your home. It will still take you forever and you’ll be stressed, but you won’t miss your flight and maybe you can check in online and avoid the airport mess.

Would have been great if Rick Steves had mentioned this in our informational emails. It’s basically just a ridiculously complicated Covid locator form.

Posted by
30 posts

To add, I believe Italy just lifted this requirement. Also, not everyone on our tour had to complete this form. Those who had a separate ticket flying from somewhere in Europe to Slovenia didn’t have to do it, or those staying elsewhere for a few days ahead of the trip.

Posted by
3019 posts

Thanks for giving people a head's up, but I will respectfully submit that I didn't find it the EU dPLF that difficult to complete when I went to France a month ago.

Posted by
30 posts

Ah, well, that’s the reason why I’m posting this, Dave. I suspect it would have been relatively easy for me to fill out if I’d known about it, the day prior, with plenty of time and on my laptop at home, with good Wi-Fi and a cup of coffee. After waiting in a crowded airport line for 90 minutes, squatting down at the ticket agent’s desk, so I wouldn’t lose my place in line, trying to type quickly in dim lighting and on an iPhone that was periodically freezing up, panicking that we were going to miss our flight like the lady crying next to us who was continuously asking for help.....not so easy.

Having this information early would have prevented over two hours of stress and allowed us to check in online, bypassing the entire mess. I hope this information helps someone avoid stress.

Posted by
3258 posts

"Having this information early would have prevented over two hours of stress and allowed us to check in online, "

Sorry you didn't know about this ahead of time. But this is not a new thing. The PLFs have been required by various countries since the world started reopening again. Over a year ago. This is all part and parcel with doing your due diligence before any international trip. The requirement for a plf has not been a secret, and there have been many threads on the subject on this forum over the months.

Posted by
5109 posts

Thank you for sharing this. I am sure that you may well have saved someone else the difficulties that you had. I appreciate your taking the time to share and think about others.

Posted by
30 posts

As I haven’t had the time nor inclination to go through the thousands of posts on this forum, I didn’t see information about this, CJean. And since there are only three countries left with this requirement, this is now uncommon. Delta’s FlyReady supposedly walks you through everything you need, but the country of Slovenia is not supported. And when I called Delta, the agent said everything was fine, just check in at a kiosk.

If I can save just one person from missing their flight, that would be a good thing.

Posted by
3019 posts

Fair enough. I do appreciate you giving people the head‘s up, as noted above. I do agree it would have been helpful for RS Tours to let you know about the requirement ahead of time. It was super easy to do at home, and I walked a 19-year-old through it via text messages in about 10 minutes.

Posted by
338 posts

"Would have been great if Rick Steves had mentioned this in our informational emails."
"As I haven’t had the time nor inclination to go through the thousands of posts on this forum..."

Rick Steves communicates these issues/how to be prepared to its tour members. For example, below is an email I received from them about my upcoming tour. You did not need to search through "thousands" of posts on this forum.

With your [redacted] Tour just a couple of months away, getting prepared now for your departure will make your trip go much smoother. To help your preparation be as stress-free as possible, we've outlined below the important things you need to know about COVID-19 requirements and restrictions.

Because COVID conditions are constantly changing, in the days leading up to your departure, we strongly advise you to regularly check the status of the countries you'll be traveling to. We've found that these websites, Sherpa or Reopen EU, provide good, up-to-date information.

Booster shots
We require tour members to be “up to date” with booster doses (when eligible, based on CDC guidelines) meaning your booster dose was received at least five months after your primary vaccination series. At your group meeting on the first day of your tour, you and each member in your traveling party, will need to present a CDC (or equivalent) vaccination card showing vaccination dates including booster, with the final dose being at least 14 days prior to your tour departure date. If you haven’t yet received your booster dose, please get it as soon as possible.

Passenger locator forms
Requirements for these vary by country. Your airline may provide you with the information you'll need for your arrival destination or check one of the websites noted above. If you need to complete a form, we suggest you fill it out before you head to the airport as they may ask to see it at check in and/or upon arrival.

Face masks on tour
Mask mandates in Europe continue to be in flux depending on the country and number of COVID cases. While on tour, we’ll follow the local masking protocols, but we strongly encourage all tour members to wear a mask on the bus and when social distancing is not possible. Please be prepared by bringing medical grade (N95, KN95) masks along with you.

Post-tour testing
Currently, the US requires arriving international passengers (including US citizens) to show a negative COVID-19 viral test, taken within one day of your flight. Your guide or hotel staff can assist you with nearby testing locations.

Testing positive
If you test positive, it's likely you'll remain in the country where you received your test, under quarantine for a specified amount of time. Rick Steves' Europe and Travel Guard Assistance will provide you support with managing your quarantine requirements, but you're responsible for the associated costs. Remember to pack extra medications in case you test positive and need to quarantine.

Travel insurance
It's not too late to get insurance. You can apply for coverage up until the day before you depart for your trip.

Getting to Europe is manageable as long as you prepare ahead of time and understand local entry requirements and protocols. And once you're there, it will feel as safe as traveling in the US.

If you have any questions, please contact us at tour@ricksteves.com.

Posted by
30 posts

Mary. Understand that my thread is not a critique of Rick Steves communication. I do think that it would have been helpful if they had addressed it in the email specifically for my tour, with all the other tour specific information, but I do not blame them for not addressing everything. Others on my tour had no idea of what the form was, but lucked out not having to do it, by flying into different countries in Europe on the days earlier.

I am just trying to help others avoid the same hassle. Not sure why anyone wouldn't do the same. I've liked everyone I've toured with very much, and would be happy to help anyone else avoid being caught unaware.