The Travel Column with Katie Butler, Total Travel
This week we handed out our first set of holiday tickets of the year for overseas travel.
Negative test results arrived in good time, forms completed for entry to the destination and tests booked for return to England we must admit it felt good. We also embraced an almost ‘normal’ week, with lots of new bookings, and fewer changes and cancellations. However, we expect this to be the calm before the storm as we await the next travel update from the Government imminently.
With the first holiday flights in full swing, we caught up with ABTA for an insight on what to expect at the airport, port or station. Whether you are travelling via an airport, train station or port, you will experience a range of measures to keep you and others safe, many of which will already be familiar to you. These measures will include wearing a face covering and practising social distancing, as well as being encouraged to use hand sanitising stations that have been installed. You will also find the use of protective screens at check-in, boarding and at gates, and there will be additional cleaning procedures targeted at common use surfaces, which may include UV light treatment on escalator handrails and security trays. Facilities may be restricted or have reduced capacity, so you may want to take refreshments with you or book a table in advance. If you plan to use one of the terminal lounges, check they are open and what requirements are in place.
I am due to holiday on a UK cruise, what can I expect?
If you are embarking on a cruise, you may be given a specific arrival time to help manage the ebb-and-flow in car parks, drop-off areas and terminals to allow for social distancing when going from your car to your cabin. You will also need to ensure that you have plenty of face coverings, as these will be expected to be worn on board the ship, unless eating, drinking, swimming and making use of the spa facilities.
What can I expect on my journey?
You are likely to find enhanced procedures in place to limit the spread of the virus, including more regular cleaning and disinfecting schedules targeted on high touch surfaces and items, boarding passes may be preferred as digital. You will also need to wear a face covering, although while eating and drinking these can be removed. If you are flying to your destination, the majority of modern, large commercial aircraft use advanced HEPA filtration systems that are 99.9 per cent effective at removing germs, and completely renew the air in the cabin every six minutes.
We cannot wait to hear back from our recent returning holidaymakers, and we have many more ticket documents to give out this week. We look forward to sharing the customer experiences with you all.
We may well be looking at a wider green list by next week. However, remember that just because a destination is deemed as green, there may still be the need to provide a negative PCR test before arrival to the country, and also you still need the tests to come back into England. There are some reduced price tests available and many airlines are offering discount codes with certain test providers. More on testing to come when we have the finer details.
■ If you have a specific travel question you would like Katie to answer in her column, please email: [email protected]