Netherlands

Flying amid pandemic

02 September 2020

In August I was on 4 different flights of KLM between Paris, Hong Kong, Paramaribo and Amsterdam. Industry has certainly changed, but it’s still unclear how, because rules are adjusting on a daily basis. So what does it take to fly amid the global pandemic?

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol

In a simple word I would describe my flights as a “mess”, but the problem is more complex that it seems. On my flight to Paramaribo I had to fill up dozens of forms, on the flight to Paris just two, and on the flight to Amsterdam there was nothing to fill. Questions on the pages of the forms are repetitive, such as: where are you flying from, do you have any symptoms of COVID-19, are you tested positive, have you been in contact with a person known to have the virus, etc. I mean it’s just some papers hand written by a passenger, which does not certify anything on it. In reality they barely read what I put on my paper, a few to none questions asked, I was not even offered to do a virus test at any point, and my body temperature was measured only for 2 flights out of 4.

Rainy departure from Paris Charles de Gaulle

At the airports there are different experiences as well. In Hong Kong and Amsterdam Schiphol there are plenty of staff members to assist you, but in the Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport it’s hard to find a human, since they have automatic (faulty) systems.

It is mandatory to wear a mask everywhere in the airports where I travelled, but apparently not for the staff of the Starbucks in the Schiphol, since all of the workers weren't covered. Social distancing is practised in all the airports I’ve been to, but not on the board of the plane. Especially between Amsterdam and Paris - the aircraft was fully packed. As for me it's a big nonsense.

Hong Kong to Amsterdam: Dreamliner is almost empty Only vegetarian hot meal. Wine is served, but not coffee

On the flights of KLM, unlike some other airlines, you have to bring your own face mask, but yet they won’t accept the washable ones. Service in the air is quick. In economy class all the food is sealed and it’s only a vegetarian meal. As well mid flight they hand out a sandwich and a bag with the snacks like nuts, cookies, cheese, apple, soft drink, etc. They refused to serve me a coffee on all the flights, but yet alcohol was available, which is another nonsense.

Bag with the snacks

As of now there are many restrictions on entrance to the countries. Those rules change frequently. If you plan to fly this year, it’s wise to be up to date with the news of the country of your destination, and with the airline you are taking. Let’s all hope that situation will change for the best in the months to come, but meanwhile stay safe and #SupportLocal.

Hi, I'm Anton! I've lived in Europe, Middle East, Asia, and recently I moved to South America. While global travel industry is on pause, I share memories from my past trips on Instagram, and can't wait to start posting in this blog about upcoming journeys. #StaySafe