Traveling during covid-19 pandemic
12th of March 2020, a day I will always remember. I got called home from work in Vilnius and after that the year has not been like any other year when it comes to many things for example travels. The world has changed, temporary I hope, but the longer it goes the more difficult it will be to get back to pre-corona life. However, I am the last one to give up the hope that travels can be as it was before. I have been traveling quite a lot this year but it has been different, requires more planning than usual and time consuming. But every time worth the effort. I will now I will share my experiences from what it is like to travel during this pandemic.
Be prepared. Read instructions. Visit governmental pages to see what rules and restrictions are in place when you would like to go. Don’t plan ahead since the world is very volatile. Be prepared to re-think your plan. Check that your insurance is valid. Have a plan “if you get sick” I will do this and that and most important. Do it all with an open mind and you will have a great trip. France, Italy, Spain, UK, Portugal, Finland, Croatia, Estonia, Denmark has all been places I have been visiting abroad since that day in March and it has been worth it every second.
Fast track and lounges
Since the pandemic started in March 2020 I have been flying quite a lot. Not like a normal year but quite a lot. In April when I went to Riksgränsen for skiing there was no requirements to wear face masks. It was though a strange feeling to travel when it was about 10 flights a day departing from Arlanda and we also made a stop in Umeå on the way up North. From just after that day wearing facemasks is mandatory and airtravels isn’t what it was before. I will now share my experiences from traveling during this period.
Since there arn’t many people at airports around Europe many fast tracks have closed. Well, it is still a service I appreciate a lot but at the moment I can totally understand it is uneconomically defensible to operate.
Lounges on the other hand I have still visited since the end of the summer. Best one this far has KLM Cloud lounge in Amsterdam been. Open as usual and with a great assortment of everything. And loads of space. At TAP lounge at Lisbon there were loads of restrictions and almost nothing to eat and drink. In Tallinn the lounge was open as before with the same amount of food. In Sofia, Bulgaria there was also no change compared to before corona. Not a great lounge but still preferable over sitting at the gate or a general café I think and since I almost always also use my time for work between flights I like to sit at a calm place.
During the flight
Now I have been limited to travel around Europe and since March I have been flying business class with TAP Portugal and KLM only. Their business class service on European flights has been like before covid-19. At TAP Portugal you didn’t had a free seat but there was enough space so we still got a middle seat free and same thing with KLM.
If the flights has been full, which surprisingly many of the ones I have been traveling with has been, there has been no blocked seats. Although you sit close to each other it doesn’t feel close at least to me. I know the air is as fresh it could be and I don’t feel unsafe while traveling. It is just the face mask that makes me feel unsafe since me like most other people are not using it correctly and hence it is a false security. Also putting it on and off make you put germs that wouldn’t get to your face otherwise to end up there. Some airlines like KLM and Lufthansa still serve food/snacks free of charge while others like SAS doesn’t. TAP Portugal served food you could purchase.
Magazines that usually could be found in the seat-pocket are gone in most of the cases and if you would like to have a blanket you need to bring it yourself. It is also the new normal that you get a disinfection wipe while boarding so you could clean your own table tray or armrest if you wish. I tried it on my hands one time but fail, got an allergic reaction so watch out friends!
After the flight
Depending on country you arrive to there are different procedures. Most places requires you to hand in some kind of health declaration and many also requires proof you don’t carry any covid-19 symptoms. Most airports I have been to during this pandemic have not allowed anyone except travelers to enter the building so the meet and greet area has been outside.
Have you made any trips with flight the last year? What was your experience and if not why have you avoided it?
/ Pernilla traveling the world in mask