Gaining popularity from films such as Green Mile, The Terminal and Forest Gump, Tom Hanks was not only a profound actor, but also a man of wise words. Whilst penning down my thoughts on flying during the pandemic, I immediately thought of his words, ‘Seeing is believing’.
Prior to our flight to Athens, I had absolutely no idea what to expect. If anything, I was expecting a smooth and swift process at the airport and whilst boarding the plane. But to my surprise, the only thing different was the many scattered hand sanitisation stands and everyone donning masks. That’s it! Nothing else!
Upon entry into London Luton Airport, I immediately noticed the throng of travellers. I must mention, the traffic did not come close to that of what we usually witness in August. However, for the current phase we’re in, the traffic was heavy.
Heading straight to security, our wait time was approximately 15-20 minutes in the queue. Whilst all modes of public transport and shops require travellers to wear a face mask when traveling, observation shows that not everyone follows the rules. However, the airport was a different scene. Literally every single person was wearing a mask which was a bizarre thing to see. Social distancing was pretty much non existent in the airport with one person coming so close to me that his shoe ended up touching mine. Once we reached the security tables, we noticed barriers between each person as we placed our luggage and other essentials in the provided trays. Throughout the entire process of security until boarding the plane, I found no instance of actual social distancing. To be completely honest, I don’t think it’d work and I’m sure that the airlines would stand to lose a lot of money if they practiced social distancing properly.
At the time of writing this article, I was sat in the plane with my wife and another passenger on my right hand side. There is no distance whatsoever. The plane is full and passengers do not have any distance between them. What makes this scene even worse, is that the airline ended up dividing families to different rows and seats. Surely families should be sitting together in the current context? Because of this, it gave people more of a reason to get up and move around from one row to another. I felt the need to report this as it’s something that prospective travellers should be aware of. If you plan to fly during this pandemic, do not expect light traffic at the airport and definitely do not expect there to be a good practice of social distancing
I should mention that this is a review of flying from London Luton Airport to Athens with a short layover in Milan and flying with the Wizzair airline. Things may be different in other airports and each airport will have their own way of dealing with traffic. I must also mention that if I was flying during August last year, the airport would have obviously been a lot more busier.
If you are to fly in the next few months, remember to stay clean, keep your distance (as much as possible) and wear your face mask in the airport and the plane.
The one thing I really enjoyed was the swift entry into Greece. Prior to entering Greece, UK visitors have to fill in a PLF form (one for the entire family/couple) via the site, https://travel.gov.gr/#/. This has to be done 48 hours before your flight. On the day of your arrival into Greece, you will receive an email with a QR code. This has to be presented to the border control officers upon landing.
As soon as we exited the plane in Athens airport and made our way to border control, the officer simply asked for the QR code. I showed it to him and he showed us the way to the exit. From the time we exited the plane until we exited through arrivals, it was a complete 10 minutes. That’s all. There was no need to show our passports or boarding card.
There were other passengers who had to line up in a queue to get tested for COVID-19. I believe these are people who were coming from countries outside of the EU or those who have travelled to non-EU countries in the last 14 days.
That’s my update for now. I hope to write a few more posts on Athens in the next few weeks so keep a look out for that. For now, I’m off to grab some dinner 🙂
Over and out!