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With air travel finally back in action, many people are still wondering about the process of travelling and just how safe it is. While it is best to refrain from travelling unless it is absolutely necessary, we’ll walk you through what to expect while travelling and the precautions taken due to coronavirus.
My sister lives in the UK and arrived in Egypt just a couple of days ago. While there will be differences from one destination to another, this is what Egyptians should expect while traveling during a global pandemic:
At London Heathrow Airport
- Arrive at the airport 3-4 hours before the flight – everything takes longer than usual.
- No social distancing while queuing up even though there are marked spots on the floor.
- Seats were blocked to ensure social distancing.
- Everyone is wearing a mask although it is not obligatory.
- Only one flight a day to Egypt taking place and evening flights have been canceled.
- Airport was quite empty.
Airport shops that were working:
- Leon is open for sandwiches and coffee, but you’ll need to queue up for around 10 minutes.
- Boots pharmacy is operating, but the queues are insane.
- WHSmith is also open for snacks, books or travel items.
- Some duty free shops were working, but not all.
No temperature checks or any other precautions taken at Heathrow airport.
On the EgyptAir flight to Cairo:
- Airplane operating at full capacity and no spaces in between passengers.
- All passengers and cabin crew were wearing masks.
- Screens for on-flight entertainment were new and offered new movies such as The Joker, Frozen 2, Little Italy and many others.
- Meals included 1 cheese sandwich, 1 chicken sandwich, Cadbury chocolate, Juhayna juice, a muffin and a cup of water.
Medical forms that need to be filled as a result of COVID- 19:
- On the plane, you will receive a form that you need to fill out asking you questions and confirming that you will self-isolate at home for 7 days.
- You are also required to fill in your personal information and sign a declaration.
- If you’re not Egyptian, you need medical insurance to enter the country.
At Cairo Airport:
- Once you get off the plane, you’ll find yourself along with everyone else waiting in line as the airport employees check that each person has filled their documents.
- This process takes around 20 mins, but was in a relatively crowded area with almost no ventilation.
- No social distancing available, but pretty much everyone was wearing masks.
- No sanitizers around, so be sure to get your own.
- No temperature checks or any other sort of checks.
- Bags take a long time to arrive.
- Three flights had landed at the same time.
- Takes 2 hours to exit airport after landing.
- Very crowded once you exit the airport as there are hundreds or thousands of people waiting for family to arrive.
Overall, it was a pleasant experience, ticket prices were cheaper than usual for the summer period and everyone was nice and trying to be helpful.
Further reading: I Got Coronavirus and I Had Zero Symptoms