Travel Alert – U.S. Embassy Vientiane, Laos

Travel Alert – U.S. Embassy Vientiane, Laos (March 31, 2020) 

Location:  Laos 

Event:  Commercial flight from Vientiane to Seoul 

A special Lao Airlines flight from Vientiane (VTE) to Seoul (ICN) will depart 00:15 on Friday, April 3, and arriving in Seoul at 07:30 the same day.  A number of tickets were still available as of this evening.  Tickets cost US$775/adult or US$500/child under 12.  Ticket holders will need to check in at Wattay Airport around 22:00 on Thursday April 2.  Note that this ticket is non-refundable once purchased.   

In addition to purchasing this VTE-ICN ticket (details below), U.S. Citizen travelers must make arrangements for a connecting flight using available commercial means (e.g. online or a travel agent) departing ICN within 24 hours of arrival of arrival in South Korea (i.e. no later than 07:30 on Saturday April 4) toward their final destination in the United States.  You must be able to present proof of purchase of this onward ticket to be allowed to board the plane in Vientiane. 

U.S. Citizens can transit Incheon Airport without a visa as long as the duration is under 24 hours. Passengers will be required to fill out a health questionnaire on arrival, and will have their temperatures taken in both Vientiane and Seoul.  

Please note that effective 11:59 on March 31, The Republic of Korea Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) will impose a mandatory 14-day quarantine for all inbound passengers.  Most foreign travelers on short-term travel will be required to quarantine at a government-designated facility at their own expense for 14 days (this includes U.S. citizens traveling on 90 day visa free travel and short-term visa holders).  The facility will cost approximately 100 U.S. dollars per night.  All passengers who exhibit symptoms will be required to undergo COVID-19 testing on arrival at the airport.  

Passengers transiting through Incheon International Airport to third countries will not face the new quarantine requirement.  Thus, U.S. Citizens who purchase tickets on this VTE-ICN flight must not leave the passenger area of the Inchon airport, and must arrange onward travel that departs within 24 hours of their arrival.   You can find more information at the website of the U.S. Embassy in Seoul.  

We encourage United States citizens who want to return to the United States immediately to book this flight if they have the means to do so and can arrange ongoing travel accordingly. We are not aware of any other commercial flight routes from Vientiane to an airport with connecting flights to the United States for the foreseeable future. 

The VTE-ICN ticket can be purchased by going to the sixth Floor of the Lao Airlines Building, Manthatourath Road, in Vientiane, between 08:00-12:00 and 13:00-20:00 on April 1.  The Lao Airlines Building is opposite “Roadhouse BBQ & Grill” and “Lucky Backpackers Hostel.”  Payment can be made by credit or debit card.  A three percent charge may apply to credit cards.   

These tickets are limited, and are available to the general public.  Please note that the Embassy will not make travel arrangements on your behalf. 

The Embassy appreciates that this flight will not address the repatriation needs of many U.S. Citizens in Laos.  The Embassy continues the work described in prior messages of arranging a special repatriation flight to assist U.S. Citizens who wish to return to the United States.  U.S. citizens in possession of valid U.S. passports who are interested in a flight organized by the Embassy and prepared to travel should complete this survey immediately.  Please do not call to confirm receipt of your email; you will be contacted with additional information.  

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