As we all know flying got much more difficult during the COVID-19 Pandemic restrictions. Our nearest airport, Alicante, reports that flights are down by 63% but AENA.ES reports that their Spanish airports passengers are down 72.4% over this crisis period. That’s substantial for an area that relies on flights for business, tourism and foreign investment in property.
Clearly people are being forced not to travel by air right now or have to jump through many hoops if allowed. So what are those hoops?
Well the picture changes almost daily across Europe so we can only give general information.
The risk to health and COVID-19 transmission is very high as we write. So the respective governments have little choice to restrict human movement, even though it is harming their economies and frustrating for the people needing to travel.
Thankfully air travel is still one of the safest forms of transports. Modern airlines have protocols and systems to minimise risk, including controlling the air used and generated inside a plane.
Even better, airports and airlines have stepped up to the mark & adapted to minimize the possibility of contagion, But you STILL HAVE TO DO YOUR BIT!
Here are some general guidlines to make your flight safer for you and your fellow passengers. But we STRESS you need to check with the airport, airline and government websites for UP-TO-DATE guidance.
- What should I keep in mind before flying?
First, you must make sure that you meet the requirements of health control and entry documentation to the country you are travelling to. Many airlines have restricted hand luggage in the cabin, so check this possibility with your airline company.
Many countries including the UK and Spain are now requiring NEGATIVE COVID TEST in advance of flying with a certificate of proof, usually within a 3-day period before your flight. These you will need to pay for yourself so allow time to book them in.
Check if you have to quarantine on arrival. E.G. The UK is asking travellers into the UK to quarantine in hotels at their own cost (as of Feb 2021). Some people are being turned away from airports or not allowed to fly if the do not have the right documents or tests that they conform.
Check in online, take your boarding pass on your mobile to avoid physical contact.
Go to the airport in plenty of time, since there may be social distance protocols that increase waiting times.
Keep in mind that your companions may not be able to access the airport facilities, except if you need assistance due to reduced mobility, or if the person flying is an unaccompanied minor.
Do not go to the airport if you have symptoms of a cough, fever or breathing difficulties.
So if you have to fly, ensure you know well in advance the requirements for paperwork, tests and hygiene well before you fly.
Also make sure your travel insurance is up-to-date and covers you for as you’d expect.
- Has anything changed at the airports?
Yes. Once inside, follow the indications of the airport staff, screens, signs and public address system, since there may be inoperative terminals.
The trays to deposit belongings are disinfected regularly, but try only to touch the essential surfaces and objects.
Continue to maintain the safe distance in the check-in queues, security control, during the baggage claim, restaurants and in front of the ATMs .
- During boarding and disembarking
Passenger access lines during boarding have also been reorganized to ensure social distance and you will find more signs, so you have no doubts about where to go.
Use the designated lanes or catwalks for buses or to enter / exit your plane.
- Hygiene and safety on board.
The planes are disinfected after each flight, during which it is mandatory to wear the mask – for you and for the crew – and change it every few hours. Upon entering, you will be given a disinfectant wipe and a bag to deposit your personal waste.
Before take off, pay attention to the staff safety demonstration for specific instructions during your flight under the current circumstances.
Most likely, the catering service will present you their menu online through a QR code or with a disposable single-use menu.
And keep in mind that if you buy an extra item on board, you probably can’t pay for it in cash.
Also, remember to use the mask during the entire time you are at the airport as well as during your flight, and to use the hydroalcoholic gel regularly.