So you have planned to fly during the summer holiday, but you don't really know what to expect at the airport or onboard. My dear friend Amberley flew on the 1st of July with her family and agreed to share her experience.
She shares the logistics at the airport, tips on what no to forget and whether it was worth it or not.
Tell us a little bit about your plan for this trip.
Where are you travelling to, for how long and with whom?
My husband has family that lives on a beautiful hilltop in Tuscany and every year my husband, myself and our 3-year-old daughter visit them in July for around 2.5 weeks. We go to lend a helping hand on the land, spend quality time together, cool off from the heat in the pool and to sample the local delicacies as much as possible. It’s a laidback lifestyle without all the hustle and bustle of normal life.
How was the airport experience? Was the process longer than usual? Was it busy? We made sure we arrived 2 hours before departure because we didn’t know what to expect with the new procedures. I’m glad we did because we needed all of that time. It was the first time we left our stroller at home and actually regretted it straight away because there was a lot of walking involved.
For example, firstly our taxi was only allowed to drop us off at Departures 3, so we had to walk with our luggage back to Departure 1. Then, it was all manual check-in and baggage drop off so there were lines for that. Then a long walk to security and longer wait times than normal in my opinion.
After that, because we were travelling to Italy we needed to fill out a health form and get our temperature checked, then off to our boarding gate just in time to start boarding. You needed a mask on the whole time at the airport too which the airport/airline say they won’t provide if you forget it, so have one handy.
The airport was busy but not crowded. I think everything just took longer because of the distancing requirements etc. Not all the shops were open - only some small stands and some duty-free places.
What about the boarding, and the flight? Was there any service onboard? How did you feel during the flight? How were people behaving? At the boarding lounge, anyone with a bag that didn’t fit under their seat was required to check it in (this took some time again). I don’t know if it was because we had a small plane or a new Covid19 requirement. We read this in advance from KLM so checked in our carry-on luggage in on arrival and just took small bags on board.
As a family, we still got to board before others, which I was happy about, as the plane was full (no social distancing here!). Personally I felt fine on the flight but you could tell some people were nervous / more paranoid. There were around 10 people in full hazmat suits who didn’t eat, drink, talk or do anything but sit there. That seemed a bit extreme but each to their own. The service on-board was one box with a sandwich, cookie and water and one drinks service.
How was the experience ‘on the other side’? It was a pretty normal arrival; the only difference is that some people randomly had their temperature checked as they entered the terminal. Also, again a few shops were open. We were picked up by family so I can’t say how the transport or car rental situation may have changed.
Now you have arrived at your destination, I am very sure it was well worth it, but what would you advise people who are looking at flying in the short term?
Yes, it is certainly still worth flying. We are enjoying our time with family and a proper summer holiday. I think the main advice is to be prepared and reduce contact where possible. Have a face mask for the adults and older kids, hand sanitizer and wipes, allow yourself more time than normal at the airport and bring your own food/drinks.
At the moment, it isn’t so much about the journey, but the destination at the end.
Thank you for sharing your experience with us!❤️ and happy holidays!