One of our EA team members shares her experience with us of the new normal of flying and what one can expect when taking to the air this festive season.
When one thinks of the airport, what often comes to mind is people buzzing in and out as they head to their destinations. Thinking back to the time of hard lock-down, re-imagining what flying now looks like would have seemed like a distant memory. However, over the last few months, the runways have been opened and South Africans are embracing the new normal of flying.
One of the most noticeable changes I found is the different drop-and-go areas. Making sure you are on time for your flight before the pandemic was already quite an adventure and it has now become even wilder. From having your hands sprayed with sanitiser before entering the airport and the COVID forms you have to fill in where your temperature is taken again, this new normal will take some getting used to. Needless to say, you need to give yourself extra…extra time.
The no-touch policy is also something to take note of. You’ll need to scan your own boarding pass and also successfully store your own luggage away. If you are a short person like me then you will understand the emphasis on successfully storing your luggage away! Let’s just say it is no easy feat.
The most interesting part of the new normal of flying for me is at the boarding gates. You have to remove your mask so that the flight attendant can see your face and compare it to the picture on your identity document. Given the fact that for the better part of the year exercise was very limited for most people, there are bound to be a few surprises here!
One would think that having your mask on for the whole flight would be uncomfortable. But if you use this time to replenish your energy with an extended power nap, it’s really no trouble at all. The masks also make it easier to avoid the potentially awkward small talk with the person sitting next to you because talking with a mask on can be exhausting.
It’s undeniable that the best part of the new normal of flying is the orderly manner in which passengers disembark the plane. Gone are days of trying to stretch past people standing in the aisle to grab your bag stored in an overhead compartment three rows away. Now, every row has an opportunity to comfortably collect their hand luggage while everyone else waits patiently. When one thinks about it, this is one thing we should embrace more, if this year has thought us anything.