Gone are the days when a flight journey would excite you – the anticipation of meals, the admiring at air hostesses to pass time, the entertainment system and the selfies.. it’s history now.. at-least for this year. These are my flight observations (and suggestion) from the post pandemic era..
- Flight ticket prices are around 20%-30% more than normal times. So for budget holiday seekers, do plan and book two months in advance. Do only buy tickets where you will get full refund if you cancel.
- There is a 30% chance your flight will get cancelled or re-routed to an uncomfortable path. In October 2020 I was to fly on a 2hr direct flight to Kochi; that got re-routed to a 16hr indirect flight, just four days before departure. Naturally I cancelled that flight and force cancelled my entire holiday. Which meant, my return flight I had to force cancel too, but I didn’t lose money as I had booked fully refundable tickets. My planned Hyderabad vacation for December 2020 met with similar fate too.
- For hotel bookings – Only book deals that are fully refundable and cancellable upto 48hrs before checkin. This is important so that you have the flexibility to cancel entire vacation 48hrs in advance and not lose any money.
- If you are fine to pay a premium and desperate to travel, then book your flight only 4-7 days in advance, for assurance. Do not book early in such case.
- At the airport – the pandemic has helped the checkin process to be more self sufficient (electronic driven), so that’s a plus. Although for aged people or ones who don’t use smart phones, these are problem areas. Best is to carry your boarding pass with you to the airport – in paper or in your mobile.
- Only half the chairs in the airport can be occupied – due to social distancing. Good thing is they are being cleaned and sanitised more often now; bad thing is the number of chairs to sit are reduced!
- The cafes, magazine shops, clothes and jewellery shops all have a deserted look. This despite most flights flying at 80% capacity. Only the extremely committed people are visiting duty free shops – you guessed it, for the alcohol and the cigarettes!
- The face mask (specially the blue surgical ones given by airlines) wears you down and its elastic string can hurt the back of ear, after the first hour. You don’t have an option of pulling it down, at least for next xx hours!! It is suggested to carry your own masks and wear only them.
- Once you board the flight, the head feels like a overworked universal charger in which too many gadgets have been connected – the blue face mask has to be on, it’s elastic is hurting your ears, the face shield feels like a headband on the head, the spectacles, the ear plugs, your breath and it rapidly vaporising the face shield and you start feeling a claustrophobic chamber, where your head has been subjected to.
- Depending on quality of the face shield plastic, your vision gets blurred by 1%-2%. This can be worrying for people whose vision aren’t anyways at 100% clarity.
- Airlines are providing small sachets of sanitisers. I leave it to you to decide how much should you use them, considering you would have spent $$$$ on nourishing that same skin over the decades. Personally am not very comfortable with volatile liquids touching my skin often.
- Passing time on a flight is a bore..no free newspapers around, no pretty ladies or handsome men passengers or air hostesses to admire – all are masked or shielded!! The air hostesses actually walk around fully covered (almost with semi PPE kits, let’s say). So irritated was I at that sight, that often I was wondering if there is a lady inside that robotic dress or a thin man with long hair!
- Maybe buying a book and reading on a flight is the better option. Unlike with the entertainment system television, which you need to see through the face shield plastic, a book placed on your lap means, you read the book from the angle beneath the face shield. This helps you avoiding watching it through the shield plastic and so you get the clearest vision.
- Previously a 60min flight used to seem too less, now even 60min seems long!! Hence I decided to make notes and draft this blog then.
- If you want to curse the Covid pandemic, think again. Due to bird flu, non vegetarian items are being slowly removed from flight menus. Don’t ask me the logic behind the move, since non vegetarian food is available at every other corner of earth. Airlines are looking to save every penny possible, hence…
Fly only in extreme emergency situations; or only if you plan to stay at your destination for 2.5 times days for the number of hours your flew. ie For a 2hr flight journey, stay at your destination for minimum of 2 x 2.5 = 5 days; for a 6hrs flight journey, stay at your destination for 6 x 2.5 = 15 days. Anything lesser, is not worth it.
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