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Pauls Thoughts- The members representative info and tips for a smooth trip

The 2021 Residence Experience (Flying with Tui from Manchester, June 2021)

 

Travelling to Madeira

At home
• Check that your travel insurance covers travel to Madeira
• Register with NHS app to obtain COVID vaccination certificate (if you have received both jabs)
• Order Day 2 COVID test kit for testing on return to UK and keep a copy of the order receipt
• Register on website madeirasafe.com and obtain QR code on phone or take a print. If you’ve uploaded a vaccination certificate, the QR code will have a light green border and will say your certificate hasn’t been validated. Don’t worry, validation will take place at Funchal airport.

At Manchester Airport
• At check-in, you have to show your vaccination certificate or negative test result, a copy of the madeirasafe registration, passport and boarding card

At Funchal Airport
• Queue for Border Control as e-Gates are unavailable
• Collect luggage, then
• Check in for car hire, if required, then
• Follow floor markings relative to your QR code border colour, eg light green for those with vaccination certificate
• If you require a test
o Staff will check for QR code on your phone, then
o Queue to have QR personal details checked and test code issued, then
o Queue for test: Swab of throat and each nostril
• If you have uploaded a vaccination certificate, you will be directed to a desk where the certificate will be checked. A few days later, your QR code will change to a dark green border to show your vaccination certificate has been validated.

 

At “The Residence”
• If the Residence Reception is closed, check in at Porto Mare Reception where forehead temperature will be taken
• Once checked in and you have your room key, it can be used to access The Residence through The Residence Reception doors
• The Locker Room key is available from Porto Mare Reception or The Residence office (open Monday)

 

In your apartment
• There is no documentation in the apartment (eg magazines, hotel directory, writing materials, etc). Information is provided through a QR code on a card in your apartment
• Room service is available; the menus are on the website and through the QR code. Currently, there is no service charge for room service
• Daily housekeeping is carried out as before

 

Round and about
• If you had a COVID test at Funchal airport, wait for a message with the test result before leaving apartment, otherwise you’re free to wander
• Face masks are required in all public indoor areas but not in the gardens or around outdoor pools. They are required when out and about outside the hotel area but generally only worn in crowded areas, eg Funchal town and shops
• There is no “Welcome Meeting” or Prestige Card reception
• Atlantida and Il Basilico restaurants, Portofino and Varanda bars open
• Med restaurant, Alfama restaurant, Oceano bar and Doce Lima closed
• The Courtesy bus to Funchal is not running

 

Returning to UK
At “The Residence”
• You need to take a COVID test within the 3 days before travelling back to UK. The test is free from certain pharmacies (using a code obtained through the madeirasafe.com website) or for a fee within the Porto Mare hotel. In either case, it’s worth speaking to Cindy in The Residence office who has a clear understanding of the process and can help with booking the test.
• Complete an online UK Passenger Locator Form 48 hours before travelling.

 

At Funchal Airport
• At check-in, you’ll need Passport, Boarding Card, UK Passenger Locator Form and Madeira COVID negative test certificate. Leave plenty of time as check-in is very slow, dealing with passengers who can’t find copies of the documents on their phones/tablets. Our flight was late leaving because check-in took so long. Having paper copies of the Passenger Locater Form and COVID test result avoids any difficulty in finding them on your phone/tablet.

 

At Manchester Airport
• E-Gates are operational and passports have COVID status coded into them, so no other routine checks are made at Border Control.

When the Lights Changed to Amber

When we arrived we were in the Green Travel Pathway, unfortunately we will be travelling back in Amber. We decided to continue with our holiday and not return home early.
The reception in The Porto Mare have organised for us to have our pre flight COVID test in the resort which is great. When we fly home we will need to show proof of our pre booked tests for days 2 and 8 on our passenger locator forms. Hopefully as well as our negative test results, fingers crossed.

When the Green light returns once again for Portugal don’t be afraid to return here. It feels, and is so safe. Much safer than home.

We are so glad to be here again and have had a wonderful holiday as usual. Now we look forward to coming back next year when hopefully life will be back to normal for us all.


Rod and Glynis Stevens

Madeira is Open...

17 May 6am, TOM 2102 to Funchal is the very first flight from Manchester on the very first day of freedom to travel to green code countries, and Liz and I are on it. The last two weeks have been a real rollercoaster of “it’s on”, “it’s off” and “it’s on again” with Portugal, Boris and Brussels all dithering about letting us go, but I’m delighted that in the end the go has been given and should not be an issue for the foreseeable future.

 

We’re both in our seventies, had both jabs, and thought long and hard about whether we should risk it or not, but in the end decided that we felt we would be in no worse a situation than shopping in Waitrose and braving a meal in an English restaurant this week if we decided to stay at home.

 

We had all the required paperwork and check-in was as easy as normal at Manchester, where they had well organised Covid Safe queuing and about 10 check-in desks open. The staff all knew what they were doing and we only had to queue for about 10 minutes. The security was quiet and also Covid Safe, and plenty of aisles running and we were straight through there too.

The departure lounge was not crowded and everyone was wearing masks (and being reminded every five minutes to do so), and the only slight discomfort was the gate area which was much the same as usual with no extra Covid spacing. The plane was nearly full, and both in the departure gate and on the flight it was comforting to know that everyone there had to have been Covid tested within the previous 72 hours! Regrettably, once boarded, we were unlucky to have a fault on the plane that delayed us for 90 minutes, but then we were on our way and cares started to slip away with the clouds as the plane rose into the sunshine above.

 

Madeira airport arrivals was brilliant. There was no problem at a well spaced passport control. Everyone still wearing masks and keeping distance as we collected luggage and then out into the arrivals hall where everyone had their Covid Certification checked and our registration on Madeira Safe enabled us to get straight through.

 

Blandy’s minibus was waiting for us, and within an hour of landing we were registering at Porto Mare (Residence registration desk is re-opening soon we understand) and pretty soon having a beer and lunch at the pool bar.

 

It’s fabulous being here again, and we feel as safe if not safer here than in some places in England. Happy hour and Ponchas, cloudless skies and Madeiran friendliness are all still operating.

If you have made up your mind that you feel the same way but are worried about all the logistics, then I am delighted to say that it all worked smoothly for us and here are some pointers for you.

Firstly, you do need to get your documents in order. If you need a Covid test, TUI have a package deal and if you’re flying with them I would think that’s a sensible choice as that leaves the responsibility for being right in their court. Unfortunately we live nowhere close to one of their testing centres so I chose Boots, who do the tests in most big towns and cities round the country. We arranged ours for 12 noon on the Friday before our Monday flight, thinking that would give us time to find another place to get it redone if things went wrong. We need not have worried. The tests were done very professionally, and the results mailed to us by 9am Saturday morning. You need to book online separately for each traveller and upload your passport details to get test centre codes, and then make an appointment at your local branch to get the tests done. You should start getting all this sorted out a few days before you need the test - don’t leave it until the last minute.  Whoever you choose, you’ll need to get copies of the Test Certificate emailed to you by the Saturday, or latest early Sunday before you fly on Monday and have both paper printouts and copies on your phone ready to show when needed.

Next you need to register all of your travel details and attach a copy of your Covid Test Certificate on Madeira Safe. You also need to have checked in online and have your flight and seat allocation details to hand. You need to do this between 48h and 12h before your flight and you will need to upload a copy of your Test certificate there. There is also a Madeirasafe app available on Android an IPhone. Have paper copies of everything with you, and take a screenshot of your QR code from the Madeirasafe app so you can show that on arrival in Madeira.

 

Have a great holiday.

 

Peter and Liz Gardner

Manchester airport 03.30, Monday, 17th May for 6.00 flight to Madeira on first flight out.

The airport was practically empty so the question of where do I go was easily solved. The check in queue was longer than usual because TUI had said on their web site that they were not allowing overhead luggage on the flight and were allowing bags to be checked into the hold free of charge. There were still overhead bags allowed.

The staff at the check in was helpful, advising what documents were needed, so you were ready when you got to the desk.

Passport control and security were easy too. There were not many outlets open in the lounge. But first flight, what else could you expect. Boarding was efficient, split into sections and the flight was good. Even “duty free” now.

Landing in Madeira was straight forward. They are very efficient with the way their process runs. If you do not have a negative test on your arrival it will be carried out at the airport but then you have to isolate until you get your negative results.

For peace of mind, mainly to ensure your flight company allow you to board. I would take the test prior to your holiday.

It’s quicker and will give you peace to mind as well as some time.

Three pieces of advice though. If you are travelling from Manchester look out for signs advising of terminal changes. My documents said terminal 2 and I had missed a sign saying all flights were going out of Terminal 1, only highlighted when I couldn’t get in Terminal 2 drop off.

I am not familiar with QR codes so I took a screen shot of mine so I could show that without fear of connections on landing..

Make sure you register your details on Madeira safe including your negative test certificate to speed up the process.

 

 

Helen Lewis

Portugal . Madeira
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