The last thing you probably want to do in the midst of a public health crisis is step foot in an extremely public domain, but for some, travelling has become a necessity during COVID-19. Life just keeps on movin’ and so do aircrafts, carrying people from point A to point B in limited quantities.
Now that the everyday happenings inside airports look a lot different, there’s a few things you should know when preparing to fly out of a major city like Toronto. Below, STYLE editor Lucie Mink lets you in on her experience flying from Toronto to Vancouver with her boyfriend, Sonny.
First things first:
Travelling during COVID-19 was not ideal but I needed to be home with my family. So, my boyfriend Sonny and I isolated ourselves for two weeks before meeting up with them.
Before the airport:
In Canada, a rule stating that all passengers must wear a mask that covers the nose and mouth for the entire duration of their flight has been enforced. I recommend getting one that’s not too tight or it’ll hurt your face after a long period of time. Sonny and I also wore gloves (pictured above).
The airport wasn’t busy at all and everything was closed except for one or two shops. Be sure to eat or purchase food before your flight as service on board is not available (at least on Air Canada).
All water fountains are off limits, so if you’re like me and bring your own bottle, don’t count on being able to fill it up. Flight attendants will pass out free mini water bottles throughout the flight and headphones for the plane’s entertainment system. I recommend bringing your own pair of wired headphones with a standard jack to reduce single-use plastic consumption.
Passengers on my flight had disposable coveralls and even gas masks on, which was strange and surreal to see. Since only a few national flights are available per day, airlines pack flights pretty full. There were zero empty seats on our flight from Toronto to Vancouver.
The flight crew informed us that Air Canada had replaced all the plane’s air filters with hospital grade substitutes – not sure what that did or if it made the air quality better but it was somewhat reassuring. They crew also informed us that they used disinfectant to clean the entire plane between flights but were non-specific about what they cleaned. I made sure to Lysol wipe my arm rests, head rest, tray table, seat belt and touch screen, just to be safe. I brought two old pillowcases to use as makeshift slip covers over my seat and back rest as well.
In the air:
Before takeoff, we sat on the tarmac for an extra hour because of ‘luggage issues’ which was annoying but nothing out of the ordinary. And besides there being no food or beverage service other than the free water, the flight itself was pretty ordinary too. Flight attendants wore masks, gloves and disposable clothing covers.
Back on the ground:
Grabbing a taxi from the gate was quick because of the low number of flights taking off. Everyone kept their masks and personal protective equipment on after we got off the plane and while we retrieved our luggage. We finally unmasked and sanitized when we got to the car.
Have a COVID-travel story you want to share with us? Click here.