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. 

Before security

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. 

After security

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. 

After touchdown

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

Have you considered flying during COVID-19? If you did, what was your experience like? 

9 COMMENTS

  1. I did fly during COVID as well! I went to Puerto Rico and the experience was quite interesting. I’m a native, so it’s home for me. But I had to take a COVID test and fill out a travel declaration before I left, and when I get there, it took me an hour and a half to get out of the airport and a second screening! The day after I got there, all of the beaches and everything ended up shutting down, so it was unfortunate, but I still had a good time!

  2. We had to fly home when we got stuck away during the pandemic. At that time, it was like travelling in a ghost town. But every breath we took we worried. I am mildly worried about the actual transportation safety these days – that is, think the airlines are doing a good job. But do worry about other people really complying. And your point about things changing during your travels is probably my biggest concern. So many people could not deal with a 14 days quarantine on arrival. So for now we are grounded!

  3. Wow. You’re indeed brave to plan your flight trip. I’ve still not planned one. But yeah I’m seeing quite some options with Ryanair & Easyjet. I’m yet to visit Mykonos. It is high up on my wishlist. It is indeed a bit scary that they choose people randomly for the test. Since I usually plan short holidays losing 24hrs in it would be too much! Looking forward to read about your Mykonos trip.

  4. Woah! It seems like airports and airlines are seriously taking precautions and preventive steps to keep flyers safe. But some how I am still very skeptical of getting on a flight as of now. You sure are brave and lucky too to be able to travel internationally! I am surprised they choose people randomly for the test, I would actually prefer getting tested for mine and others peace of mind. But more than that, the changing visa laws and conditions is the reason I am scared to travel internationally as of now.

  5. Wow, what a detailed post on the experience. We have taken 3 flights (to get home after getting locked in Poland), but no flights for pleasure yet. Thanks for the insights on Euopean travel!

  6. Wow! You are so brave to decide to fly again. My family and I decided to postpone all trips until next year. Anyway, your experience has brought me new insights. Thank you for sharing this.

  7. It would be suck if you got pick up for testing. You would lost a day of your trip. You were brave though. I have relatives and friends who flew for vacations, but personally I still don’t want to do it. But, it’s good that you share your experience to others.

  8. Wow you did a lovely trip after COVID. I am still in fear and have not gone out since then. But now your post motivates me and I will soon start making plans. Good to know the airport has sanitisation stations and also seats blocked for social distancing. I too prefer wearing mask all time at airport and airplane. Oh it is nice that for 24 hours we are in hotel and cannot go out for checking our results. Good we need a rest also after flying. I am looking forward to read your Mykonos experience.

  9. It is good to know that airports and airlines are taking great precautions in UK. I am still not ready to take the risk of flying even within US. I dont want to get stuck somewhere for 14 days of quarantine. Hope you had great time at Mykonos.

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