Holidaying during COVID-19 - What's it like?
Unfortunately, a surge in COVID-19 infection rates meant that we were not some of the lucky holidaymakers that were able to enter the Balearics without having to quarantine upon return arrival in England. As Boris confirmed that the air bridge between Britain and Ibiza was closed, we frantically searched for a holiday destination with minimal risk of 14-day self-isolation. Two days before our scheduled departure and with little hope of travelling we successfully managed to reschedule the holiday to Turkey. Only then did it dawn on me… what will it be like to travel in a COVID-19 world? Here is how I believe the pandemic has changed the landscape of air travel and holidays:
Although it was not quite a ghost town, Manchester airport was most certainly not as busy as I have seen in previous years. The regular pre-flight checklist which usually would include passport, neck pillow, purse, and headphones became hand sanitizer, mask, passenger ‘track and trace’ form, spare mask, and wipes.
Masks were mandatory once inside the terminal and social distancing was actively encouraged by the signage dotted around the airport and regular reinforcement from the airport staff. The general feeling around the airport seemed to be one of togetherness and care; everyone was aware of those around them and made a conscious effort to follow the social distancing rules.
The onboard flight experience-
As I was boarding the plane, I noticed the lack of Jess Glynne which is usually played, and played, and played before take-off. Maybe Jet2 didn’t feel as though the song ‘hold my hand’ was appropriate given the fact that this is actively discouraged at the moment. This possibly being one of the few positive impacts that Coronavirus has had on the travel industry.
Like in the terminal, masks are mandatory throughout the flight and anybody walking down the aisle without one becomes a focal point and is frowned upon. The only issue that comes to mind is that unlike other airlines, magazines, literature, and menus remained on the flight and we were not provided with a personal protection pack. However, we were assured that the plane had been thoroughly cleaned and the flight attendants encouraged people to remain in their seats and asked us to refrain from queuing outside the bathroom until we could see that the aisle was clear.
Arriving in Turkey-
Although our temperature was not checked when we arrived at Bodrum airport, we faced a long wait upon arrival at the hotel as we were asked to remain on the coach until our temperatures had been checked and luggage disinfected.
I don’t believe that Coronavirus had a major impact within the resort- it was almost as if we were living in a slightly distorted pre-COVID-19 world. A world very similar to normal, but a ‘new-norm’ which included temperature checks every so often, masks worn around your arms, and a new form of the poolside chat which without fail, always managed to cover the topic of the little green blob with a sinister grin- Coronavirus.
The landscape of travel during COVID-19-
My one piece of advice would be to do whatever you are comfortable with. If you cannot comprehend the idea of getting on a flight in the near future- stick to the staycation! If you are itching to get back to white-washed walls in Greece, ancient sites in Rome, or paradisiacal beaches in Cyprus- get that flight booked!
The last few months have been a rollercoaster for us all and there is no doubt that travel during the age of coronavirus will ever be the same again, but with that in mind, the new technologies and health and safety protocols in place at each touchpoint, most definitely restored my confidence in travel.