3 tips for a blissful flight in the new normal

By Bronwen Hill

The new normal in air travel is here and it is surprisingly easy for travellers to enjoy their flights again!

Flying for me has always been something I enjoy, in the new normal I wondered if I would continue to enjoy it. I like that it is forced time to read a book, watch a movie with snacks and maybe with a glass of wine (well usually with a glassof wine!). Since March, I have been on 3 flights in the new normal of travelling. The experience is different, but in some ways actually better than before. I have a few tips for not dreading the next flight.

My flights in June and July have been on domestic routes between Ottawa and Vancouver for unexpected family needs. 4-5 hours on the plane depending on the
winds. I will admit, I was a little hesitant for my first flight in the new normal. I knew what protocols were in place, however wasn't sure what the implementation looked like. Would going through the airport take 3 times longer, would I still be able to watch my movie and have my snacks?

The answer is no and yes respectively.

In many ways the experience is better - way way waaay less people at the airport. That makes going through security and getting a seat at your gate with a little space way easier. It is nice not to feel like a sardine at the security line. The security line does seem long when you first see it. Then you remember, oh yeah, new normal everyone is leaving 6 feet distance, there is only a dozen people in front of me. It's the new normal for flying.

Airlines have implemented new procedures and this includes wearing a mask. Really this is the only change in the new normal that you will be reminded of while
travelling. Filters on the plane are as good as the ones in a hospital, so with a mask your risk is minimised. Temperature testing is completed before you even get into the security line-up (YVR) or at the gate (YOW) and involves you standing still for 10 secs…easy, we can all do that!

The other big change I noticed, it is quiet! It is quiet in the airport, so you can actually hear your boarding call. It is quiet on the plane too - I'm not sure if this is because no one is actually talking or the masks muffle the sound… If you are like me, quiet is nice and helps you to relax on your journey. This is actually a nice 'new normal'.

So now having completed a few flights during the new normal, what are my tips for flight travel? Here are the top 3!

  1. Have a fun and comfortable mask - pick a design that is fun and conveys your personality. Travel with more than 1 mask in case you find it uncomfortable. I have now travelled once with a mask that has elastic to go around your ears and twice with one that you tie at the back of your head. Hands down I find the tie one most comfortable for long periods. Personal choice though.
  2. Pack your snacks! Most airlines on domestic routes are not providing snacks or meals (in business and first class this may be different) at all. The airports also have limited stores open for pre-flight purchases. So pack what you actually like. Mine is M&Ms and some carrots. You get to choose.
  3. Arrive a little earlier than normal. I always advocate for getting to the airport early. It is way better to have time to have a seat and have a drink before a flight than run from security to your gate holding your pants up because you don't have time to put your belt (true story!). Airports are wanting to keep areas where people are travelling clean, so they have closed down some parts of the airport to concentrate these efforts. This means usually one line for check-in (domestic and international) and one line for security. Cleaning is prioritised so expect to be asked to use hand santizer.

The new normal requires us to make a few little changes. These however are not drastic and are totally do-able. Be comfortable, pack your snacks and allow a little time. For your next 'new normal' adventure, please connect and we can ensure you are comfortable and confident again!