This week, our Inntel Travel Safe series looks at what it is like to take a flight abroad this week. Our Q&A style talk is with Katy Johnson, our Head of Meetings & Corporate Groups who took a Ryanair flight to Faro, Portugal from Southend Airport

How did you feel before you went?

A little anxious about what the changes would be like at the airport, leaving enough time to get through security and wearing a face covering for nearly 6 hours!

Did you have any preconceptions about what you would be faced with at the airport or on the flight?

Yes, I thought it would be busier than it was and I thought there would be more “COVID-19” checks in place and that these might make the experience feel a little clinical and overwhelming. Southend airport didn’t feel much different and it was actually quite nice for it to feel safe but “normal”.

How did you feel when you arrived?

Excited to be heading off to the sunny weather! Pleasantly surprised by the organisation of the airport, the number of sanitising stations and one way routes, communication was exceptionally clear in terms of what was expected from a passenger.

Was the experience different/better than you expected?

It was better than expected, I felt safe and comfortable whilst still being able to enjoy the ‘holiday’ excitement.

How did you feel whilst on the flight– was it really different, did you feel on edge or was it actually all ok once you got used to it?

An airplane is a very closed environment so naturally it felt a little unusual to start with. It was a bit uncomfortable to wear a face covering for the full flight of nearly 3 hours but I was more than happy to follow any guidance the airlines have in place if it means people can start to travel again. There was limited catering service on board and passengers have to notify the crew if they wish to use the toilets to reduce waiting in the aisle.

What was missing and did you miss it?

The pre-flight communication from the airlines (Ryanair for the outbound journey and EasyJet for the return journey) was very clear and prepared me for what to expect so we just adapted our travel plans slightly in accordance with the new rules. I would happily fly again with both airlines. Apart from the reduced catering, there was not anything missing and it was more important that we felt safe throughout.