Travellers had settled into travel guidelines of the past decade, such as the 100ml limit on carry-on liquids or needing to remove shoes at security, and travel had become streamlined. Then, however, came the pandemic. ‘Much has been said about the new normal, and for the foreseeable future this has again changed the way we travel,’ says Samantha Mullen, Leisure Director at Quintessentially Travel. ‘Just as we got used to travelling with a handily-packed selection of toiletries for the plane, we must now adjust to a different set of must-haves for the journey.’ Below, we detail some recommendations to lend efficiency and peace of mind to your voyage.
Pack your in-flight tote properly
The under-seat bag has always been a crucial part of any trip, corralling in-flight essentials into an accessible and organised tote from which to grab. Now, however, a few additional items are needed alongside your iPad and magazines. ‘Add your own hand sanitisers—under 100ml of course—and a selection of face masks. They lose their efficacy after about four hours, so depending on the length of your flight and taking into consideration time in the airport, you may need more than one.’ While airlines have taken many steps to ensure planes are cleaned and sanitised, for an extra level of assurance wipe down your seat, tray table, and entertainment screen to be sure—so add a pack of anti-bacterial wipes to the bag as well.
Travel through the airport efficiently
From socially-distanced queues to revised boarding procedures to temperature checks, the airport experience is a bit different now. And, despite fewer travellers, the implementation of new safety measures mean that you may encounter unexpected delays. ‘Many airlines are discouraging carry-on luggage entirely to speed up boarding and disembarking, and to minimise the risk of transmission,’ Sam says. ‘It may well be that the face mask, wipes and sanitiser become the core—or only—carry-ons for the time being.’ Perhaps you’ll choose to check your bag, but either way, organised packing might well save you both time and a headache.
Utilise your iPhone or mobile device
This critical step will protect both you and the officials with whom you’ll interact. ‘To minimise handling of documents, ensure you download your airline’s app, boarding pass, and itinerary to your device,’ Sam suggests. Most airlines are actually requiring that mobile devices are used to reduce check-in processes; furthermore, apps such as Mobile Passport even digitise the customs process when you enter the US. Lastly, don’t forget your charger. Services that make social distancing difficult have primarily been closed for the time being.
Bring your own snacks
Many airport shops and restaurants remain closed, and airlines have changed their in-flight services. Check in advance to see what your airline is offering—if food is available, it will be limited, even in upper classes—so you aren’t caught shorthanded. It makes sense to pack a few snacks in your under-seat bag either way, as things might shift last minute. Also, grab a reusable water bottle to fill before you board; flight attendants will usually readily fill it for you as well to minimise the number of trips to your seat.