So you wondered how is the ‘new’ normal of travelling? Travelling in Corona or Covid-19 times? I don’t even think it is the new normal, as one day it will go back to how it was before… But that is another debate.
Last Saturday (this was the 4th July), my boyfriend and I travelled to Sardinia from London. I drove the Zipcar (car-sharing app in London) to Heathrow Terminal 5, as it is part of the “flex” drop-off and cheaper than Uber.
From there we took the connecting train to Terminal 2. It was empty…
When we arrived at the Alitalia stand to check our hand luggage to the hold (you can only bring a small bag in the plane) for free, we had to fill a Covid form first before queuing back to the counters. Not many people were aware you had to fill this form so many people lacked a pen, for example. At the counter we were asked if we had the e-mail from the Sardinian app and had to show it. If you are planning to travel to Sardinia, you have to download the Sardegna Sicura app to save your flight details and self-certify for Covid. You then receive an e-mail and that is the one you have to show.
Security went smoothly as we were spaced out. I was told off by security as I was taking a picture of the sign not to sit on the chair with my boyfriend in the background. I had to delete the pictures and also permanently delete them. I think that was a bit abusive as I wasn’t in the passport security area where it is not allowed to take pictures. Anyway, I obliged.
The waiting area had the seats spaced out and most of the shops were closed. Duty free was open but was very disappointing. The make-up for example wasn’t on display neither were the prices… I gave up after browsing a few stalls.
We only went to another shop to buy water as there is no service on the flight. The flight started to board by calling the last row seats. Again, you had to give the form you had filled before checking in. Once in the plane, you couldn’t put anything in the overhead lockers and surprisingly the flight was full, meaning the middle seat was occupied so there was no social distance.
Empty Terminal Closed Waiting to board Keep distance Full flight? These rows became occupied
We landed in Rome where the first three front rows were called out first, then the next three, then the next. We were in the last rows so had to wait quite a bit. In the shuttle, it was quite spaced out which was actually quite nice for a change.
Touchdown Rome Almost empty
We bought some food at the Terminal before boarding the next flight. Panic as we were asked for the Covid form, which we didn’t have as we gave it before and were told we wouldn’t need it anymore. So we had to quickly fill it in on the side before being able to board. Confusion again as people didn’t know or didn’t have a pen. This time the plane was almost empty.
When we landed, I was surprised at the lack of social distance, or feeling as here the rule is one meter and not two like in the UK (though it has changed to 1m+).
Waiting for our luggage Social dstance?
Our friend picked us up for our Airbnb and it was just so pleasant to see life on the streets, people out and about. A nice evening with a cool breeze. After checking in at the Airbnb (which by the way provided us with gel, spray to disinfect your shoes and disposable masks as masks are mandatory everywhere ‘indoors’), we headed out for a drink on a terrace nearby. My first drink since mid-March! I was just so happy to experience this feeling, London had also have the bars open on the 4th of July, the day of our departure, but being away and abroad was a feeling I will never forget and never take for granted.
Cocktail after months!
And you, are you travelling this summer? If you are worried or scared I think the regulations in place are fine, but I guess there is always a risk. In the meantime things have changed again since I wrote this article, so please do check the new regulations in place.