What is it like to fly during coronavirus? We asked one traveller

We know that for many of you, the idea of boarding a plane and flying to a new destination is likely not one you’ll be doing anytime soon. But what is it really like to fly during coronavirus, and what are the airlines doing to minimise risk and put travellers at ease? We chatted to one traveller, Trafalgar team member Gemma, who recently travelled from her home in Geneva Switzerland, to the Algarve in Portugal. Here’s what she had to say…

Why did you decide to go to Portugal this summer?

My Aussie friends live in Lisbon and had invited me to visit them back in June. I had to cancel that trip due to Covid and couldn’t wait to rebook and use my flight voucher. So, we settled on the Algarve in August!

Were you nervous about flying?

Not at all. I had flown to Greece a few weeks prior to my Portugal trip and found it so seamless and safe. Everyone wore masks the entire time, boarding was done in reverse to make sure people didn’t pass each other necessarily. Crew were well briefed and provided all the right information and announcements, I couldn’t have asked for better.

What did you do to prepare for the flight, to ensure you felt safe? Did you have to take any tests, fill out forms in advance etc?

I didn’t need to take a test for Portugal, but I did fill out a form to hand in prior to arrival. The airline crew provided it to ground staff as soon as we landed. The same thing happened on the way back to Switzerland. All for contact tracing which I think is great.

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Tell us about the airport experience – what was done differently?

I think boarding was the most obviously different experience to how it was pre-Covid. They board the back of the aircraft first all the way to the front, so people aren’t crossing over one another. That and also that masks had to be worn throughout the entire flight and in the airport. I appreciated both measures!

What was your flying experience like? Did you feel uncomfortable on an airplane? How did the cabin crew help you feel at ease?

The cabin crew were wonderful, all the announcements were done in 3 languages so everyone could understand everything. There was so much information about the new rules, they wore all the correct protective gear and we also heard from the pilots more than we usually would have. 

Did you have to wear a mask for the entire flight? How did that feel?

Yes, we did but you barely notice. Obviously, you can remove it to eat and drink! Also, I am a chronic sleeper on planes – I’m out by the time we’ve taken off! So I didn’t notice a thing.

Did you have to do anything different on arrival into Portugal?

Nope! Just hand in your completed form for contact tracing to the cabin crew prior to landing. And of course, wearing your mask in the airport. That was it.

Did you have to do anything different upon leaving Portugal / arriving home?

Fortunately, there are no quarantine requirements between Portugal and Switzerland so I could go straight back to work. However, I filled out a similar contact tracing form for arrival back into Switzerland and of course I have been keeping my distance from my colleagues!

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How did the experience compare to travelling pre Covid?

To be honest the service felt better than pre Covid, more organised and well managed. Plus, everyone is far more patient and understanding so less agitated to get onto the aircraft.

Would you fly again, based on this experience?

Absolutely!! I am already planning my next trip to Italy.

What concerns do you have about flying during the coronavirus pandemic? Share your thoughts in the comments below, as we’ll do our best to answer your concerns in the future content we create.

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