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TRAVEL NEWS

Could Spain’s Vueling be the next airline to face strikes?

Cabin crew for the low-cost Spanish airline have threatened to follow the example of their counterparts at Ryanair and Easyjet and stop working during August unless they receive a pay rise.

SPAIN-STRIKE-VUELING
Vueling management and their employees have been discussing the conditions of a new collective agreement for the past weeks, but so far no new wages deal has been reached. (Photo by JOSEP LAGO / AFP)

Summer air travel in Spain and Europe continues to be marred by problems ranging from flight cancellations, delays, lost luggage and general travel chaos, involving popular airlines Ryanair, EasyJet, Lufthsansa, Swiss and Brussels Airlines.

The latest airline which could be hit with setbacks is Barcelona-headquartered Vueling.

On Tuesday, between 300 and 400 of its employees protested outside the offices of Vueling’s holding company IAG at Barcelona’s El Prat Airport, calling for a 6.5 percent rise in their salaries and better conditions relating to work-life balance.

The 6.5 percent figure corresponds to the rise in Spain’s Consumer Price Index at the end of 2021, the highest in 29 years, with many workers arguing they struggle to make ends meet in the Catalan capital with what Vueling pays them. 

“If the company doesn’t change its stance, we’ll soon suggest a strike” warned Guadalupe Romero, spokesperson for Stavla, one of the unions which represents Vueling’s Spain-based workers. 

“We agreed to put negotiations on hold during the pandemic due to other urgent matters, including furlough negotiations, but now Covid-19 is behind us and the same problems exist.

“The current agreement is outdated, and inflation has made it impossible to make ends meet. Added to that are the exhausting work hours”.

Vueling management and their employees have been discussing the conditions of a new collective agreement for the past weeks, but so far no new wages deal has been reached. 

A key meeting scheduled for Friday August 5th at Spain’s Mediation and Arbitration Service (SIMA) could decide whether Vueling cabin crew go ahead with the stoppage this month.

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TRAVEL NEWS

TRAVEL: What Covid-19 entry requirements does Spain still have?

The pandemic no longer dominates daily life and travel, but do Spanish authorities still have restrictions in place for international travellers arriving during the summer of 2022?

TRAVEL: What Covid-19 entry requirements does Spain still have?

Spain’s tourism industry is in full swing again after two difficult years, with more than 38 million international visitors in the first half of 2022. 

All domestic restrictions have ended (with the exception of mask wearing in hospitals, other health-related centres, care homes and on public transport). 

But how about Covid-19 travel restrictions? Are the tests, form-filling and proof of vaccination that made travel to Spain in 2020 and 2021 more complicated still in place?

EU/Schengen Area countries

Passengers arriving in Spain by air or sea from EU and/or Schengen countries are not required to show proof of their Covid-19 status through a certificate (vaccination, testing or recovery) nor fill in the SpTH health control form that was previously needed.

For travellers who live in EU/Schengen nations, travel to Spain is now practically the same as it was in 2019 before the pandemic began, except that they will be required to wear a mask on the plane or inside the ferry (mask wearing on the latter depends on certain conditions).

Non-EU/Schengen countries

For UK nationals, Americans, Indians, Australians and all other third-country nationals arriving in Spain by air or sea, the pre-existing Covid-19 requirements are technically (more on this further down) still in place.

Therefore, non-EU/Schengen travellers arriving in Spain should be able to prove either that they’re:

  • Fully vaccinated. Your vaccination status must meet the Spanish authorities’ validity period requirements. If more than 270 days have passed since your initial vaccination, you need to show proof of a booster shot.
  • Had a Covid-19 test which came back negative. This should be either a PCR taken within 72 hours prior to departure, or an antigen test taken within 24 hours prior to departure. 
  • Recovered from Covid-19 in the last six months. You can use a medical certificate or recovery record to prove your Covid-19 status on entry to Spain. 

The easiest way to show proof of one of the above is by showing your Covid-19 digital or paper certificate issued by the relevant authority of your country. So far, 48 non-EU countries (and territories) have joined the EU Digital COVID Certificate equivalence system, which you can check out here

If the country where you were issued a vaccination, testing or recovery certificate isn’t on the list, then you will have to fill in Spain’s health control form before travel to Spain. 

It’s worth noting that the above requirements do not apply to children under the age of 12.

Is Spain really still asking non-EU travellers to show a Covid-19 certificate?

This really depends on the airport, the airport official and any other number of factors.

It is clear that Covid-19 and the seriousness with which Spain’s Health Ministry and therefore airport border officials treat the pandemic has fallen considerably in recent months.

Many non-EU travellers on Twitter have commented on the fact that they were not asked to show any proof of Covid vaccination, testing or recovery upon arrival in Spain. 

Others who have visited the country during the summer of 2022 have said that they were asked to provide proof of their Covid status.

Therefore, even though for those who go to the trouble of paying for a Covid-19 test which then doesn’t get checked it can seem like a waste of money, it is better to be safe than sorry.

All non-EU travellers should therefore keep in mind that, technically speaking, Spain’s rules still state that arrivals from outside of the EU/Schengen Area by air or sea must have proof of vaccination, testing or recovery, so make sure you carry this with you. 

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