Flying in a pandemic
I’m not a nervous traveller. And I’ve never been worried about doing things with the children either. But I will admit that before we took our first post-pandemic flight I was a bit worried. More about the unknown than the actual risk to my son and I.
In the end it was absolutely fine and I wouldn’t hesitate to do it again.
We flew from Gatwick to Edinburgh to visit friends. Security at both ends was pretty well organised with space to social distance and it was so quiet, especially at Edinburgh that that wasn’t really a concern anyway.
There are lots of extra hand sanitizers everywhere and one way systems round all the shops, which aren’t always easy to adhere to but in general it was fine. Sadly, most shops and restaurants still weren’t open which made everything feel a bit weird.
Our outgoing flight was over lunchtime so we ate at the airport before we flew. Again, the staff were diligently cleaning and the tables were spaced 1m apart. It was weird taking my mask off and just sitting normally while we were eating and then having to put it back on as soon as we left but I guess we’re all getting used to the new normal. Max didn’t seem fazed by any of it.
We boarded the plane in seat order from the back first so people didn’t have to squish past each other. (Side note: why don't they do that all the time - it’s much easier?) When we got on board, the plane was only half full and we had a whole row to ourselves. There was at least a seat between parties all over the plane but once we'd taken off people were allowed to move around to other areas with more space too. The cabin crew were still serving food and drinks as normal and they just asked people to put their masks back on when they weren't eating or drinking. We were also encouraged not to queue for the toilet to avoid people coming into closer contact with each other. The plane was really clean and I felt totally comfortable, even with a crawling baby who wanted to touch (and lick) everything.
The best thing about the whole experience was how considerate people were to each other. Everyone was wearing their masks, people stepped out of the way as much as possible, they were patient and they still offered to help me with my suitcase when they saw I had Max too. Overall it was a much more positive experience than I’d thought it would be.
We’re booked to go to Portugal in October and I don’t know yet if we’ll be able to travel but it definitely won’t be concerns over the flight that will stop us.
WRITTEN BY SARAH HOLMES
Sarah is mum to two little monsters - Skye who is three and Max who is ten months. She lives with her partner Kevin and the children in south west London and works as a journalist in her other life. Before kids she and Kevin travelled as much as possible and now they’re determined to try to show the children plenty of the world as well, finances and general sanity permitting!
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