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Whether you have started traveling or are planning a trip in the near future, the pandemic has introduced a new set of travel behaviours, rules and restrictions to help respect people’s sense of safety and comfort as we return to the skies.
To know whether you are packing all the proper protocols along with your passport, here follows a list of dos, and equally important - don’ts, in the age of post-COVID flying:
Do: Be respectful, kind and helpful
This applies to all airline staff - from the person at the check-in counter to flight attendants other passengers and everyone in between. This industry has been one of the hardest hit during the pandemic, and they’re only slowly returning to business.
Simple gestures like greeting the passengers next to you with a simple "hello" when you sit down can also go a long way. For many people, this may be their first flight in years, so the slightest helpfulness can make the entire journey that much more pleasant.
Don't: Assume that everything is the same as it was before 2020
Just because the airport might look the same as when you last traveled, many things are in fact quite different. Go with an open mind and be flexible. This starts from the moment you check in and are asked for your vaccine status, your COVID test results and more.
When flying, suddenly the little things have become the big things: standing in aisles, overcrowding galleys and huddling outside the bathrooms are a big no-no. Be accepting of these changes and most importantly, remember that your level of comfort does not automatically equal someone else’s.
Do: Wear your mask
It bears repeating. Wear your mask throughout the flight when you’re not eating, drinking or taking medication. Always remember that wearing your mask not only protects you, but also those around you who may be vulnerable to severe complications.
Don't: Be quick to judge
If someone’s actions aren’t immediately in line with what you might accept, hold off your judgement. Exercise patience, understanding and sympathy. For example, if it takes your fellow passenger a few extra minutes to put on their mask after eating, so be it. If the person in the seat next to you doesn’t want to engage in conversation, accept it and keep chatter to a minimum. Don’t take things personally. The proximity of the seats, for many people, may still be intimidating.
Do: Practice patience
Everyone knows that the process of going through the labyrinth of the airport is painful, even on a good day. Add COVID protocols to that and it’s enough to make you change your mind entirely about travelling. However, exercising patience from the get-go and anticipating the added wait times and protocols can really make the difference between a positive and negative experience. Not only for you, but for everyone else.
And most importantly, don't travel if you’re not ready
If going away still makes you uncomfortable, consider delaying your trip. There are a lot of new rules and you may or may not be comfortable with the changes. Try to anticipate your needs and act accordingly. For example, if you do decide to travel but have some hesitations, perhaps consider upgrading your seat on one of your first post-COVID flights if you require more space and/or accommodations.
The pandemic has rewritten the rules for how we travel, at least for the foreseeable future. Approaching travel with an open mindset, acknowledging the changes that have taken place, and respecting them will certainly go a long way to making not only your travels more enjoyable, as well as those around you.