What the airport and in-flight experience will look like

21 July 2020

With borders across the world now reopening, we’re once again free to jet off to enjoy the tantalizing holiday moments that we’ve been looking forward to for so long. To help prepare you for what the airport and inflight experience will look like with the new measures in place, we’re going to guide you through the process.

Arriving at the airport

Airports are now requesting that passengers displaying any symptoms of COVID-19 do not travel. For those fit to travel, guidance from the Government advises that all passengers wear face coverings, while for those in Scotland and various other airports across the UK including Manchester, Gatwick and Heathrow, face coverings are a requirement*. Only people with flights booked should enter the terminal building and are advised to do so between two to three hours before departure to allow for socially distanced queues.

Glasgow Airport, amongst others, is recommending that passengers download their mobile app before arrival so they can access all essential information and be guided through the newly introduced measures.

*Exemptions apply in certain circumstances on the basis of health and equality. Speak to your Travel Counsellor for more information.

“The airport was quiet, naturally but security was amazing, 5 minutes and we were through! I did take advantage of booking a free 15-minute security slot but to be honest as the airport was so quiet, I did not need to use it.”

Gemma, Travel Counsellor

Travelling through the airport 

To help minimise face-to-face contact in airports, online check-ins, downloading of boarding passes and automated bag drop to check-in services will be encouraged alongside various other measures. In airports such as Manchester, passengers can now book dedicated time slots with security, thus allowing them to bypass the queuing process. They are also implementing one-way systems through sections of the airport and trialling the use of temperature screening technology as passengers enter security.

“If you walk down the corridor in the terminal and you have an elevated skin surface temperature on our system, that alone does not prevent you from flying,”

Joe Rankin, Head of Communications at London City Airport

Departure lounge and boarding

Seating in the Heathrow Airport departure lounge has been separated to ensure two-metre distancing is maintained between passengers, while at various other airports across the country, passengers are simply asked to remain mindful. Many of the shops and restaurants in airport terminals remain closed but are gradually reopening with appropriate measures in place such as takeaway services.

The boarding procedure, for many, has been improved by reducing the number of flights that require a bus to reach the terminal or aircraft, and where they are still needed, reducing the number of people on board. The boarding sequence has also been staggered with passengers now boarding in smaller batches. Certain airlines, such as Singapore Airlines, have introduced their own pre-flight temperature checks.

“We flew from Terminal 3 which had only recently opened and Duty-Free, WHSmiths, Boots and the bar were all in operation and there was a lovely buzz in the air.”

Gemma, Travel Counsellor

Your in-flight experience

Across the industry, airlines have worked hard to ensure that they keep you safe while still delivering superb service and without compromising on the in-flight experience that makes up the beginning and end of your holiday.

An example of this commitment to excellent service comes from Etihad, who has introduced a new specially trained team focused solely on ensuring that you feel comfortable and cared-for whilst travelling with them. The Wellness Ambassadors are there to help you throughout your journey, answering any queries you may have regarding the experience and ensuring that health regulations are adhered to, to keep you protected.

Elsewhere, we’ve seen additional disinfection of aircraft after each flight and the provision of complimentary hygiene kits onboard such as those that Emirates, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic are now giving to passengers. Few airlines are leaving the middle seat free as the average width of a seat is less than one metre.

Whilst up above the clouds, you can sit back, get comfortable and enjoy the hours of in-flight entertainment available on your private monitor, using it as an opportunity to unwind in the safe and healthy environment created by the state-of-the-art filtration systems which remove over 99% of airborne contaminants.

“Emirates is implementing a comprehensive set of measures at every step of the traveller’s journey, to enhance the sanitisation of all touchpoints, and ensure the health and safety of our customers and employees.”

 Adel Al Redha, Emirates’ Chief Operating Officer


Get in touch with your Travel Counsellor today to discuss how the recent changes may affect your next experience at the airport on in-flight, and take advantage of exclusive benefits including financial protection and a 24-hour duty office ready to support you before, during and even after your trip.

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