Air travel in COVID times
As you can imagine, air travel has somewhat changed lately. Our ambassador Jennifer lived the experience for you and shares what you can expect.
It feels so strange not having a packed summer calendar this year, but I'm rolling with it. While I do feel a bit sad that I can't travel anywhere new, I finally gave in to my travel jitters and decided to book myself a flight to the beautiful Magdalen Islands in Eastern Quebec.
One early morning in July, I drove up to the Montreal-Trudeau Airport to find the airport surprisingly empty, almost eerie. Normally when I get dropped off, it's hard to find a spot to park on the departures level but not these days, I seem to have been the only person actually traveling that day.
Only doors 4 and 7 (departures level) as well as door 25 (arrivals level) are used to enter the airport. This allows screening of people entering the terminal. Wearing a mask is also mandatory to enter the airport. Upon entering the terminal and to ensure that every passenger is safe to fly, my temperature was taken without contact. Passengers that have a temperature above 38 degrees, are not authorized to travel. With Air Canada, the company I traveled with, these passengers are invited to rebook a seat after 2 weeks of quarantine.
I made my way to the self-check-in kiosks. An agent greeted me, made sure I disinfected my hands and instructed me on grabbing a finger glove so that I could touch the screen on the kiosk. I clicked on the company I was travelling with and scanned my boarding card. As I had luggage to check-in, I then went to the self-serve drop off belt.
Walking towards the security check point, I noticed that most restaurants and stores were closed as there are barely passengers in the terminal. It was the first time I had ever seen the airport this deserted.
At security, you once again you have to disinfect your hands and there are signs reminding you to stay 2 meters apart from the other passengers. As an extra precaution, I also noticed that all the bins you put your personal belongings in to go through security are disinfected between each passenger as well.
When it was time to board the aircraft, passengers were invited to board only when their zone was called as boarding is now done back to front, to minimize contact. Once again, a mask covering is mandatory for boarding and during the flight. Customer Care kits are given to each passenger as you board the aircraft. The kit includes the following:
- hand sanitizer
- disinfectant wipes
- water bottle
Due to the new safety measures for flights under 2hrs, no service is offered onboard. For flights over 2hrs, they have reintroduced a service which offers a limited selection of drinks. If you have pre-ordered a meal, it comes in a pre-packaged box.
As I was traveling within the province of Quebec, I did not have to quarantine myself upon arrival to the Magdalen Islands or upon my return to Montreal. I did however have to provide my contact information to the airline during my stay on the island.
Even though many things have changed while traveling, it was totally worth it to escape to a new scenery and enjoy a vacation!