My first encounter with the havoc caused by Coronavirus was during the winter season of 2019/20 when the emergence of the virus forced the six-week-early closure of the French ski resort of La Plagne – along with all other resorts around the world – in a matter of days. Travel during Covid.
With the ski lifts shut – and borders to the South closed – I ended up heading back to my hometown of Aberdeen in North Scotland. However, as lockdowns started to ease slowly through the summer, I figured it might be time for another trip – this time back to Turkey in mid-August 2020.
So, to be clear, this is a personal account of just one journey made between Aberdeen and Antalya – but I would guess the restrictions will be similar on most travel (certainly out of the UK anyway).
Restrictions were in place around Aberdeen due to a local Corona cluster however travel out of the city was still possible. I took a deserted bus to Glasgow at what should have been one of the busiest times – the 5pm service. In total, I was joined by another three passengers.
Arriving in Glasgow was like arriving in a zombie apocalypse – it must be said, with a disappointingly low turnout of zombies. I grabbed a quick beer and something to eat in a local bar before heading out to the airport.
One thing worth noting – despite the airport shuttle being advertised as running 24 hours, the last bus is actually at 10.30pm – with the service restarting around 6am. Result – a £20 cab out to the airport.
As you might expect, facemasks are obligatory everywhere – though since the airport was so quiet overnight, rules were relaxed and there was a minimal security presence that mostly kept themselves to themselves. However, as more people started to arrive early morning, masks were once again donned. Nothing was open on the landward side of the airport – though that might be different later in the day.
Check-in is all manual and staff are hesitant to touch tickets etc. There are temperature checks as you go through security. Again though, zero queues anywhere.
I would estimate my flight to Bristol was approximately 1/4 full with empty seats behind and in front of me – and a full row to myself. Masks were obligatory through the full flight – though, after being up all night, I pretty much slept through the full hour-long flight.
Only passengers are allowed into departures and have to enter through a temperature scan (in the tent above). Also, there are no shops open until you get through security.
The majority of shops, bars and restaurants were open on the security side of departures. This airport isn’t cheap mind you – £7 for a pint :-o. Again, everything was very orderly with spacing between people, roped-off areas and everyone adhering to wearing masks.
Everything up til now had been handled very well but, on getting ready to fly, it soon became clear this flight was going to be busy – way busier than I think any supposed ‘distancing’ would have allowed. Yes, we were all wearing masks but I must admit, I found it kinda surprising just how many people were due to get onto the flight.
This soon became even clearer when we boarded – there was zero distancing in place on-board, with most rows filled. Considering how well-organised everything had been up to this point, it was surprising to see such lack adherence to distancing. Nonetheless, I saw one family without masks turned away and told they had to buy masks to fly.
Again, having been up all night, I slept through most of this flight but so far as I’m aware, people stuck to the rules and wore their masks through the entire journey. Certainly, the couple next to me had their masks on anytime I woke up.
Arriving at Antalya Airport, we were again temperature-scanned going through security – slightly disconcerting arriving in 30’+ but necessary I guess. Also, again, the wearing of facemasks was obligatory – and adhered to by everyone. All in all, everything felt 100% safe.
So, in summation, for anyone deliberating about getting away, travel during Covid-19 looks a bit like:
One-way systems / distancing everywhere
Temperature checks entering and leaving airports
A load of form-filling / QR scanning
Travelling in a zombie apocalypse – with a distinct and disappointingly low turnout of zombies
Probably tempting fate saying that