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Old 20.04.2021, 10:42
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Air Travel Experiences [during Covid]

Hi guys hope you're all doing well and keeping safe.

I'm not sure if there's already a thread about this running (sorry if there is, I must have missed it).

I was wondering if we could compile a thread about air travel experiences during Covid, especially now that the Quarantine list is slowly starting to shrink.

If you look on tripadvisor then there are tons of complaints about cancellations and refunds. I understand that this is an ongoing issue for many airlines. I am more interested in experiences of people who actually took their flight!
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Old 20.04.2021, 10:45
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Re: Air Travel Experiences

Well, what would you like to know? Yes, have been on several flights this year without any issues.
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Old 20.04.2021, 10:54
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Re: Air Travel Experiences

Last summer I had a reservation with Edelweiss and the refund took 3.5 months.

After that, we've tried to fly routes relevant business routes which will never close. For us, the commercial hub is Frankfurt.

Last time I checked flightaware.com for several weeks before buying the tickets. Once I saw only a few of the scheduled flights are cancelled, decided to buy the tickets. In any case, I wouldn't be surprised of being rescheduled in later flight.

Anyway, since then worst thing have happened is drinking pinot noir from Baden-Würrtenberg on board
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Old 20.04.2021, 10:56
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Re: Air Travel Experiences

Done a fair bit flying with no issue. BAU really.....
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Old 20.04.2021, 11:23
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Re: Air Travel Experiences

Been quite painful in respect to some airlines - Easyjet and BA for example block cancelling whole months of flights in/out of Zurich but the flights are very often pretty empty so obviously they can only lose so much money and you can't really blame them

Swiss have been in the main pretty reliable although at some points they've consolidated the single flight to one at some random time (e.g. 9:30AM Friday morning or 12:30 Thursday lunchtime) instead of the originally booked evening flights when they've merged multiple flights.

I have one in a couple of weeks on a Thursday where they moved it from the evening to lunchtime so I've had to move the target airport to London City instead of Heathrow.
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Old 20.04.2021, 11:27
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Re: Air Travel Experiences

Careful: if flight is cancelled because the route has been cancelled is one thing.

However, if you book a flight and you cannot enter the country for whatever reason, then it's a whole different story.
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Old 20.04.2021, 11:31
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Re: Air Travel Experiences

Thanks for the quick feedback guys!

Quote:
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Well, what would you like to know? Yes, have been on several flights this year without any issues.
Do you still arrive at the airport 2-3 hours before for a long-haul flight (i assume there are less people flying, but everyone is being checked for temperature so maybe this levels out the waiting time)?

I have also heard about 'reduced meals' on flights - what exactly does this mean (should I pack my own food for a long-haul flight)?

Are last-minute cancellations frequent (taking a quick look at the current status, it doesn't appear to be so)?

My flight in question is to the US from Zürich (flying with Swiss).
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Old 20.04.2021, 13:46
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Re: Air Travel Experiences

It's my understanding there are alot less people on the US bound flights from Switzerland. I myself am booked end of May, two weeks after my second vaccine shot.

I have not flow in a while and to the US was Christmas 2019. The checkin process is longer as I believe all your documents are checked there to make sure you have everything (covid results, etc)

I'm flying United to the US and swiss back. I've read united has modified the food service, everything is on one tray (for business) - new glasses instead of refilling yours. But also every week they are relaxing previously instituted safe guards, for example United now no longer boards back to front as before.

At this moment it's all a moving target to be honest. What it was like a month ago, will be different than today, and probably two weeks from now.

I'd still show up 2 hours early to my flight - there will for sure be less people, but you never know what might happen.
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Old 20.04.2021, 14:21
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Re: Air Travel Experiences

I have already provided gory detail regarding experiences of flying to the UK in another post , I won't bore you here.

Depending on where you are flying to, there are at least 2 differentiators from travel prior to COVID:
(1) Additional Cost - my test costs equalled travel costs
(2) Additional bureaucracy and admin - research and preparation to comply with national entry requirements, both outward and return.
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Old 20.04.2021, 15:25
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Re: Air Travel Experiences

We've flown a few times. SWISS seems to consolidate flights i.e. advertise flights at different times and then merge three flights into one after booking. Been caught out twice like that so far as they charged more for the flight we wanted but don't give a refund because it's a "rescheduling". TIS afterall.

Recently the food has been the same as usual. Earlier it was a bag of crisps in a plastic bag. Airports are significantly busier now than they were last year but still less busy than usual. All in all no significant problems but I haven't been back to the UK since last August or so.
I got my refund for a cancelled flight to Asia, Easyjet have extended the validity of their vouchers but after a year still waiting for a large refund from Aegean/mytrip/gotogate which I can imagine will drag on.
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Old 20.04.2021, 20:35
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Re: Air Travel Experiences

A full food and drink service on Swiss flight from London in business class two weeks ago, I did notice though that in Economy they have introduced a chargeable food service, no free food or drink. The offering was mainly sandwiches etc from Sprungli .
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Old 20.04.2021, 22:51
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Re: Air Travel Experiences

I've had the dubious honor of flying transatlantic three times in the past year on SWISS. The key is to pick a route with high demand for cargo (ex: ZRH/EWR). Those flights seldom get canceled, regardless of the number of passengers sitting up top.
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Old 21.04.2021, 09:16
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Re: Air Travel Experiences

Quote:
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A full food and drink service on Swiss flight from London in business class two weeks ago, I did notice though that in Economy they have introduced a chargeable food service, no free food or drink. The offering was mainly sandwiches etc from Sprungli .
On SWISS us cattle in agronomy class received a FREE bottle of water AND a square of chocolate
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Old 21.04.2021, 09:48
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Re: Air Travel Experiences

Having flown only once since confinement (Last month), I had concerns about many aspects but in the end it was all relatively straightforward. The testing requirements are the most important obviously for destination, transit and return

Outside of the usual safe distancing, PPE etc, it was really about how much time to allow for on departures or arriving at airport. It's true that most things appear to move more quickly apart from check in & boarding which are painfully time consuming

Patience and calm important

I would fly again if I needed to but won't be in a rush to go with family anytime soon though
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Old 21.04.2021, 09:55
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Re: Air Travel Experiences

I've flown several times this year.

But always into Switzerland and never out so I can't say what departures are like right now.

So far this year:

I flew Alicante to Zürich via Amsterdam by KLM.
Barcelona to Geneva by Easyjet.
Alicante to Geneva by Easyjet.

I would say I didn't notice much difference to flying in normal times.

The airports I was at were all a lot quieter than usual and so I would say I needed less time rather than more to clear all formalities. The airports felt like ghost towns with most of the shops being shuttered and hardly anybody about. I also felt police and security presence was scaled down. For example the customs offices in both Aiicante and Zurich were unstaffed, so if you're planning any tax reclaims, it's probably not worth the bother. If you're planning on bootlegging however, this may be a golden age ....

All the flights I was on were pretty much filled to the last seat. Which is probably not helped by many people making dog leg journeys as so many direct flights have been suspended. On my KLM flight from Alicante to Amsterdam I was sitting next to a gentleman flying from Milano to Oslo.

On my outbound trips to Spain for example I found the train was faster by several hours than the best flight connection anybody could offer me, which is one of the reasons I only flew on the return leg.

Train travel I find to be very relaxing right now.
For example I recently did Zurich to Budapest, got a super saver ticket in first class and had the entire car to myself for most of the journey. And they still serve food at your seat in Austria.

Last edited by amogles; 21.04.2021 at 10:09.
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Old 21.04.2021, 13:52
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Re: Air Travel Experiences

Quote:
All the flights I was on were pretty much filled to the last seat. Which is probably not helped by many people making dog leg journeys as so many direct flights have been suspended. On my KLM flight from Alicante to Amsterdam I was sitting next to a gentleman flying from Milano to Oslo.
Thanks for the feedback. So I assume it's no longer the case that an empty seat has to be left between each passenger or group of passengers?
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Old 21.04.2021, 14:35
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Re: Air Travel Experiences

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Thanks for the feedback. So I assume it's no longer the case that an empty seat has to be left between each passenger or group of passengers?
This definitely wasn't being done on any of the flights I was on.
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Old 21.04.2021, 15:52
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Re: Air Travel Experiences

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This definitely wasn't being done on any of the flights I was on.
Nor on any of mine although on the SWISS flights they keep a section of 6 or 9 seats as a kind of quarantine area in case any passengers develop symptoms.
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Old 21.04.2021, 16:30
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Re: Air Travel Experiences

Outward bound mine was packed to the rafters.

Return it was half empty.

Both on Swiss.

Possibly depends on time of day/day of week/phase of moon....
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Old 21.04.2021, 16:43
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Re: Air Travel Experiences

Apart from the occasional business travel long haul in business class, air travel has sucked well before Covid and I don't expect it to get better ever again.
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