British Skiers Refused Entry at Innsbruck Airport

The gateway airport to ski resorts in the Austrian Tirol turned more than 100 travellers from the UK away at the weekend.  They are reported to have failed to follow newly-imposed Covid-19 restrictions. UPDATED

According to the BBC, Austrian Police said many were probably caught out by a new rule that required a negative PCR test within 48-hours of travel.

The requirement had previously been for a negative test within 72-hours of travel.

The rules changed on Christmas Day for travellers from the UK, the Netherlands, Denmark and Norway.

We reported on it at the time on PlanetSKI:

The affected passengers, among them many heading to Austrian ski resorts, arrived in Innsbruck the following day.

The BBC reports that most of them were flown back to the UK immediately but 40 were put up overnight in a hotel.

12 of the 40 – all families with children – were allowed to take new PCR tests and continue with their holidays.

Some of those caught up in the confusion took to social media.

PlanetSKI was first alerted to issues at Innsbruck by a reader.

Julie Thomas Harrison was travelling back to the UK on Sunday and contacted us.

“Thought you might be interested to hear about problems at Innsbruck.  Seem to be struggling with numbers and checks and getting people off planes and on planes,” she told us.

“We have also seen around 50 people from the UK (we think from our inbound flight) who have been refused entry into Austria..

“Our flight is to Gatwick and should have left on time except the staff can’t process passengers fast enough.”

Some blamed the Austrians for an apparent failure to ensure the latest information was on the internet.

Local Opposition People’s Party tourism spokesman Franz Hörl told the APA news agency it was a “botched” operation.

He said it was neither professional nor humane to bring in tourists over the Christmas period, take them to a hotel under police protection and then send them home at their own expense.

The current rules for entry to Austria from the UK require a negative PCR test within 48 hours of arrival as well as a third vaccination.

It’s reported that some of those refused entry had older PCR tests, others had not had a booster jab.

Julie Rabu, who was due to travel to Austria on Monday, cancelled her trip when it was announced that the rules were changing.

She has responded to this article on our Facebook page.

“3 rule changes in 6 days – no wonder there was confusion. And the latest rule added overnight on 23/24 was very unclear and buried in the small print on the Austrian government’s website. We did everything we could to be able to go – last minute boosters, 72 hour PCR tests booked for Christmas Eve but the last minute rule change meant we couldn’t go on 27th. Booked it 13 months ago for my husband’s 50th – our 11th holiday cancellation.”
Others have responded:
James Burvill- “I’m not sure why people are booking holidays with so much uncertainty and scientists warning there would be another wave over winter. We’re still in the middle of a pandemic with record numbers of daily cases across much of Europe including here in the UK.”
Debbie Dewhurst – We cancelled our trip Boxing Day for the 27/12 as they weren’t letting 13 year olds in on the 26/12 even though there were no written rules change. Then the rules changed again yesterday and my son would have been allowed in. I even called Innsbruck airport on the 26/12 and they said ‘Don’t come, we won’t let you in’.”
Veronique Allain – “It is a disgrace. Get your money back from the Austria government.”
James P Williams –Typical Brits not double checking entry requirements.”

David Freeman – “Shame on Austria and shame on governments around the world for taking away our freedom. Get a jab, get a jab, get a booster, get 7 other boosters. That’ll keep you safe but remember to wear a mask because it’s not safe… Oh and remember to do 5 different types of test before having your cereal and leaving the house every day.

“Don’t worry, we’re keeping you safe. All while overall mental health and general well being is on the decline due to this fiasco. Just let us live!!”
Feel free to add your comments on the PlanetSKI Facebook page.
Austria. Image © PlanetSKI

Austria. Image © PlanetSKI

For more detail on the current restrictions see the Austrian Embassy website

Here are the current rules for entry into Austria as posted by the UK government (Tuesday 28th December):

Austria has announced that although the UK becomes a virus variant area with effect from 25 December, travellers from the UK (and the Netherlands, Denmark and Norway) can still enter Austria without the need to quarantine provided they are boostered (ie triple vaccinated or double with Johnson and Johnson) and can present a negative PCR test no older than 48 hours at time of entry.

Alternatively, double vaccination plus proof of recent recovery from COVID-19 (within last 180 days) and a negative PCR test not older than 48 hours is also accepted.

There are some exemptions, including for Austrian citizens, EU/EEA citizens and people with permission to reside in Austria, those with family emergencies, and those deemed to be in Austria’s national interest.

Such travellers need to complete a pre-travel clearance form not more than 72 hours before entry to Austria, and have to quarantine for ten days on arrival.

There is the option to reduce quarantine from the fifth day at the earliest if a further PCR test produces a negative result.

The day of travel is Day Zero But effective from 25 December, there is no exemption for British tourists who are only double-vaccinated

You should check whether you also need to complete a pre-travel clearance form not more than 72 hours before entry to Austria.

If you are not fully vaccinated or recovered, you are generally not permitted to enter Austria coming from any other country.

There are exceptions to this, including residence or habitual abode in Austria or another EU member state, pregnancy, health issues that mean a vaccination is not possible or for some work reasons.

See the official Austrian advice for what is required in these cases.


Children up to the age of 12 do not have to provide a test result if travelling under supervision of an adult.

If the accompanying adult has to self-isolate, the child must self-isolate too.

The child can then leave self-isolation at the same time as the adult. If travelling unattended, the same requirements apply as for adults.

Children aged 12-15 who are not yet fully-vaccinated can take advantage of a “Holiday Ninja Pass” to access venues at ski-resorts.

Find out how to apply online.

Transit Austria

If you are transiting through Austria without a stopover, you do not need a medical certificate or pre-travel clearance form if you can prove you are transiting.

Neighbouring countries may be restricting movement across borders, including for transit, and conducting health checks.

Check the travel advice for any country you need to travel through.

Innsbruck airport

Innsbruck airport, Austria. Image © PlanetSKI

We do our very best at PlanetSKI to ensure the information provided here is as complete and up-to-date as possible. However, please be aware that we assume no liability in this respect. Information provided by PlanetSKI should be checked with the official information provided by the authorities. The situation regarding travel warnings and local rules changes quickly.

Image © PlanetSKI