20th November 2020
My First COVID-19 British Airways Flight – What Appened?
Apps, that’s what appened. Since the advent of apps I have treated them with high disregard.
When I checked-in online for my British Airways (BA) flight to Verona I was cordially invited to download the airline’s app. On many occasions I have had to wait while the person in front of me searches anxiously for their boarding pass on a mobile phone. This convinced me it was not worth having. But I decided to give it a try. I duly downloaded the app, then the boarding pass. I spent some time practising a quick retrieval of my boarding pass.
Pre-flight Precautions for My First British Airways (BA) COVID-19 Flight
Maintaining a social distance was my biggest worry regarding my flight. Then I got an email from BA with a great offer to upgrade to Club Class. Perfect. I upgraded and was now certain of having space around me on the flight. I am a fan of social distancing and face masks. Also, I was allowed two pieces of hand luggage so did not need to check in any luggage. I could skip straight through arrivals at Verona – no hanging around the luggage reclaim.
Checking in for my BA Flight at Heathrow Terminal 5
When British Airways started flying again all flights were operated out of Terminal 5 at Heathrow. My original flight had been due to depart from Gatwick which is an easier journey for me. As I did not want to risk the underground I took a taxi to the airport. On arrival at Club Class check-in I was re-directed to another check-in area to have my temperature checked (a requirement for travellers to Italy). I was then sent back to the Club Class check-in where my temperature was checked a second time. It had gone up a degree by then (hardly surprising) but I was still okay. I was given a Passenger Health Declaration and headed for Security. Only to be turned back as my boarding pass would not let me through. It had to be re-set and I had to confirm my temperature had been checked.
A COVID-19 Lounge Experience at Heathrow
There were very few people in the BA Lounge when I arrived. Service in the lounge was app orientated. I did not have a clue where to start. Fortunately, a member of staff was able to guide me through the process. Log on to the internet, scan the bar code on my table, select menu, fill my basket with food and drink and then press order. Within minutes my order had arrived. I celebrated my success at mastering a second app with a coffee and a sparkling wine.
The COVID-19 BA Club Class Flight Experience
I was very relaxed when it was time to make my way to the Boarding Gate. We boarded by rows which was good news. Last on the plane and first off. It was a good flight and I did not mind at all that we were served a boxed meal to limit crew/passenger contact. I kept it for the long journey ahead of me. I just sat back and sipped my champagne.
Being first off the plane meant I did not have to queue very long at passport control. Markings on the floor controlled social distancing – and people actually obeyed. But Italy has been in a state of emergency since March and the safeguards have been rigorously enforced since then. I confirmed I had not been anywhere but the UK for the past 14 days and then I was on my way to the Italian Dolomites.
My Public Transport Experience in Italy
I had been using buses regularly in the UK and generally they were almost empty. Thinking it would probably be the same in Italy I decided to transfer to my hotel on public transport. I was right, it was not busy and already coping well with the necessary safeguards. Face masks were definitely mandatory. Passengers were constantly reminded to wear face masks. And warned that buses and trains would be stopped and passengers removed if they did not obey. My four-hour journey passed without incident. And I was ready for my first COVID-19 hotel experience.
A COVID-19 Hotel Experience in Italy
I stayed at the fabulous Hotel Lorenzetti in Madonna di Campiglio. This delightful hotel is ringed by the peaks of the Brenta Dolomites. All safeguards were in place. Hand sanitisers were available near touch points. Food on the breakfast buffet was neatly packaged in individual portions. Guests were requested to wear face masks when moving around the hotel and browsing the buffet. They could be removed once seated at a table to eat or drink. Dinner was waiter service only. The staff were all wearing face masks. I felt very comfortable and safe. I was ready to enjoy some good walking in the mountains that surrounded me.
During the summer I was able to make two trips to Italy. Since then coronavirus has returned with a vengeance. Airlines are having to find ways to ensure passengers feel confident to start flying again. Technology has advanced by five years in a very short space of time. Apps are just the beginning – soon touch points will be reduced to a minimum and facial recognition will eliminate the need to keep producing personal documents.
Valery Collins is the Experienced Traveller
An excellent raconteur, Valery has been writing about her experiences on the road since she started travelling 25 years ago. After publishing 4 books she turned to online travel writing and photography. Today she is editor, features’ writer and reviewer for ExperiencedTraveller.com and regularly contributes guided city walks to GPSmyCity.com