When the world ground to a halt earlier this year, no one knew what the future held. It was unchartered territory for us all, and a long few months at home. In the beginning, flying during COVID-19 was at the back of my mind, it felt so far off.
As borders reopened and flights took to the skies, I was still undecided. Travel is what I do, what I love and, like everyone, I had so many trips planned that have been postponed for now. Even so, it wasn’t an easy decision to decide whether to book a flight.
But in the end, I went for it. Mykonos was my Greek island of choice and today, I’m going to share my experience with you. Maybe it’ll inspire you to book that getaway, maybe you’ll prefer to wait for another year. Either way, I hope you find my experience helpful.
I was fortunate that throughout the journey and holiday, I remained healthy. But you don’t need me to tell you that in this climate, there are no guarantees. There’s always the risk that someone with COVID-19 could share your flight or take the spot behind you in the duty free queue, so know the risks and decide what’s right for you.
So, here’s what it was like flying during COVID-19 from London Gatwick to Mykonos in Greece.
Getting to the airport
Flying during COVID-19 meant I was Gatwick-bound for my flight to Mykonos. From my home, there’s a direct train into Gatwick, so it was super straight forward. But there are plenty of ways to London and I’ve put them together in a handy blog here for you. The train had no delays and I had to wear a face mask the whole time because, in the UK, as of June 15th 2020 face coverings are required for any public transportation.
I booked my flight with EasyJet, so my experience flying during COVID-19 only stretches as far as this particular airline. Checking in luggage at Gatwick Airport was very simple and quick at a self-service check in machine. The machines are easy to operate and you just have to follow it step by step.
The airport was much quieter and emptier than normal because there were fewer flights operating. The line to security was also much shorter (bonus!). Wearing a mask was compulsory the whole time.
At London Gatwick airport, shops and restaurants are mostly located in one big hall. With everyone and everything in one place, this part of the airport felt much busier than we expected. Especially after it being relatively quiet before security.
That being said, not everywhere was open – especially food and drink outlets. The only bar operating when we were flying during COVID-19 was The Red Lion. It was full when we arrived but the wait for a table was pretty quick. There’s also an extra space available to order from your phone. Once you’re seated, you are allowed to take your mask off in here.
The shopping didn’t stop in the Duty Free area though, and small shops like Boots and WHSmith had sandwiches for sale. You could still grab your usual coffee in Pret, Pure or Starbucks too.
Throughout Gatwick airport, there were hand sanitiser stations and seats blocked out to enforce social distancing. Some flights also carry out temperature checks as a safety measure flying during COVID-19. Our flight wasn’t, but as we went to the wrong gate (oops!), we were checked anyway.
In the sky
During the whole flight it’s a must to wear a face mask. The only time you can take it off is when you have a drink or eat a snack. You should look up online what’s on the menu as the airline doesn’t give you a printed one anymore, but most things are available and of course, you can also ask your flight attendant.
If you want to fly to Greece from the UK you have to fill a document online up to 24hours before your flight. It’s important to have as you need to show it to the officer after you land.
You don’t need to take a COVID-19 test before the flight, but apparently some people are randomly chosen at the airport to do so. Then you have to wait in your hotel for 24 hours.
If you’re COVID free you can continue your holiday and if you have the virus you have to quarantine for 2 weeks at least. We were lucky and we left the airport to enjoy our holiday right away. But when flying during COVID-19, it’s important to prepare for all eventualities and know that restrictions can change quickly.
Flying back home from Mykonos to Luton Airport
Before returning to the UK, be sure to fill out the UK PLF form, which can be found here. While they didn’t check ours, there is always a chance that you could be turned away otherwise. Not the end to a holiday that you need.
Mykonos airport is very small, so to check in luggage you do have to speak to a person, who’ll help you do so. It’s not automated here.
Check-in and security went pretty fast. I was expecting to wait much longer as it is a hot spot for travelers but after a few minutes we were already inside.
The airport had one (packed) coffee bar, a small duty free and a small shop. There was one more bar after passport control (you have to go through it if you are flying outside of the EU). It was much harder to keep social distancing in this airport, but fortunately we were fine.
The packed feeling continued for our flight back to London Luton airport. The plane felt full. Landing in Luton was smooth sailing and passport control was quick, though.
So, there you have my experience of flying during COVID-19 for a short-haul getaway to the Greek island of Mykonos. We really enjoyed our trip, but we also knew the risks. Now you know how we got there, check out what we got up to as we explored Mykonos