To fly or not to fly?
Updated: Sep 22, 2020
Told through my own experience
First and foremost, I hope you are all staying safe and well during this time of uncertainty. Having worked in the travel industry for 25 years, I feel I am obliged to do my bit to help our much loved industry get back on its feet. Overseas travel is a necessity for both businesses and for our own leisure and holiday enjoyment and therefore, I hope this post will go some way in easing those worries and anxieties about booking your next trip overseas. I can however only speak for the airline in question and also the airports that I visited. As some of you may know, Italy is a place that is very close to my heart and I try to visit at least twice a year. They have been through, as we all have, a very tough time during the Covid-19 pandemic but as I write this post, they are not currently on the list of countries that have quarantine regulations in place along with a number of other countries where quarantine is not required. Let's start at the very beginning. I decided to book my flights with Easyjet to Sicily and found the booking process very straight forward indeed with Covid-19 related factors taken into consideration at every step. Easyjet have detailed information on their website to advise you of what to expect and also a very helpful video about the new air filter systems that they now have onboard their aircraft. I found this very reassuring at this point in the process. What I will say at this point is that it would normally take a tsunami type event to stop me flying and taking a trip overseas however, a small amount of uncertainty had found it's way into the back of my mind due to the pandemic. So I'm all booked. Next stop, Manchester airport! Having been an industry employee for some time, I have a habit, like others in my industry maybe, of viewing things through a slightly different lens due to the inside knowledge I may have picked up at work. I have a tendency to be judgemental or to compliment where I see due. I guess that must be the same for anyone choosing to dabble in their own industry for recreation. Anyway, to cut a long story short, I could not fault Manchester airport in any way. On arrival at the airport, we adhered to the airport regulations by putting on our face masks before heading straight for security with only hand luggage to think about. By the time we arrived at security, we had already passed approximately 2 or 3 hand sanitizing stations and numerous signs reminding us of the social distance rulings in place. Once through, we were inside the terminal and free to roam as usual. The airport, although it was only seven-thirty in the morning, seemed eerily quiet - a bonus perhaps and only made social distancing even easier! It was however, a reminder of the work, we and I have to do to get this industry moving once again. To this point, I felt completely safe and at ease in the fact that proper measures had been taken at Manchester airport to ensure the safety of all travellers. An hour later and our flight was called for boarding. We were off!
As we joined the growing queue at the gate, everyone seemed to be in high spirits and that seductive air of excitement that we have all grown to love before boarding a flight, filled the air around us. As I looked around at the masked faces that surrounded me, it became apparent that there were smiles underneath - the crows feet giving away that child like excitement. These people were no longer apprehensive, no longer anxious about what to expect, they were excited once again. For a brief moment, it felt like travel was back!
We took our seats on an aircraft that was approximately seventy-five percent full. We were advised yet again of the requirement to wear a face mask and the need to keep it on for the duration of the flight except whilst eating and drinking. To Easyjet's credit, this was constantly monitored throughout the flight by the flight attendants and on occasion a number or people were reminded that these should be covering both nose and mouth. As an airline, they were very 'on the ball' which was reassuring to see. For those that are not aware, once again I can only speak for Easyjet, the new air filter system that they have installed on their aircraft, replaces the air every 3 minutes and the aircraft are now cleaned using high tech cleaning equipment by an extensive onboard cleaning team. At first glance and throughout the flight, the aircraft remained very clean indeed.
Some of you may be wondering about social distancing whilst onboard and in all honesty, this was probably my only concern before travelling. The social distancing ruling of one metre was maintained throughout the flight and in fact, even if the seat in front of you was taken, this is still within the one metre ruling. The only time this rule cannot come into play is if someone is seated next to you. However, please rest assured that airlines are doing everything they can to maintain social distancing and will seat people away from others where possible. They will not let you queue for the lavatory whilst in the air so this alleviates the need to stand or be close to others for too long throughout the flight (I would advise you use the lavatory before boarding!)
Upon landing in Sicily, everyone on the aircraft continued to maintain their distance and the cabin crew ensured that the disembarking process was a smooth and safe operation. Our masks were kept on until we were through passport control and then we were at the mercy of the individual country rulings.
Overall, my trip to Sicily felt safe from beginning to end. The airports at both ends and the aircraft itself felt very safe environments to be in at all times. I would not hesitate to travel again and would strongly recommend travelling with Easyjet. I understand that times are uncertain and that safety has to be a priority. I also understand that quarantine rulings play their part in peoples decisions to travel. However, the list of countries where no quarantine rulings apply is still very extensive and the current airfares and packages on offer are some of the best I've seen in years.
So go book that next trip overseas and let's get the travel industry moving again. If you have any questions at all, please do not hesitate to contact me. I would be very happy to help and offer advice wherever I can. Welcome back to looking forward!