Travelling in the transition period from the COVID19 lockdown to new normal

thorbiorn

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Truth be told, travelling is still not the same as before the Covid19 lockdown. It is too early to tell exactly what the new normal for travelling will be like, how long the transition period will be, whether it will be uniform throughout the world or one day get close to the old normal. In the mean time it might be worthwhile gathering and sharing experiences to become familiar with the trends, as they develope.

At the end, I posted a short summary. Also there are bolded titles to make skimming easy.

Travelling by plane within Europe shortly after the COVID19 lockdown
Germany and Denmark began to open up gradually, internally first and in the middle of June more border traffic became possible. Last weekend, June 19th to 21st, I used the airports in Copenhagen (CPH), Denmark, and Frankfurt (FRA), Germany for the first time since the reopening for ordinary traffic. Below are some observations:

Arriving at the airport and the mask controller
CPH Friday June 19, 2020 at around 8:30 a.m.: Not many people were on the train to the last destination on the metro line. Where were the others?

When entering the airport, I had to put a mask on. I already knew that, there were signs and to make sure I did, there was a "mask minder" sitting on some stairs just ahead of the critical zone. He like all other employees was not wearing a mask, but a hat with a transparent screen. Pilots and their crew were of course dressed according to the "international standard", but I thought the screens were more human. I told the mask minder, I had bought one with orange stripes and even had a cap of the same colour in case of need. He was happy, color was not a problem as along as there was a mask. I had in fact also brought along a classical surgical, but it is flimsy and I had opted for a more sturdy dust mask from a hardware store.

Departure area and security, less shopping activity, more spacing between seating
At the departure screen there were listed about 70 planes - covering the whole day until 21:20. That is not much! At security there are usually many busy lines and a waiting time of 5-8-12 minutes. That morning there were two lines with a handful of people in each. I have never seen it that empty, except once when I came as the very first when they opened shortly after 4:00 a.m. When going through, I noticed a new scanner, or is it just the US model that reached Europe? One has to stand with raised hands, feets place in marked areas, stand still, and then turn around 360. As I exited, I was asked to keep the mask on but just lift and turn it around, so they could see it was empty. The photo showed several places, like knees, an elbow, an areas around the waist. I did not think I had anything, but they explained it could be due to a crease in the clothes, or heat while I proposed magnesium supplements to explain the knees :-) Jokes are perhaps not welcome, and I was picked for some closer hand inspections by the security wearing the transparent screen and a pair of blue laboratory gloves. While this was happening there was a smell of alcohol. On the other side a security was spraying to make a pretence of disinfecting a luggage tray, or was it an item caught for inspection. I watched him to see if he was earnest in his efforts, but this I could not confirm. It seemed like something he had to do once in a while, but not so often, he got a sniffing effect and become high.

In the duty free-area, it was slow business and no line as usual in front of the cashiers. Further it turned out many other shops were still closed, with no light or people in the fashion shops. Darkness and shadows prevailed, as if it was a provincial airport, or a town mall in recession.

Even if there were few departures, people filled up. Two meter distance becomes a long line with even 50 people among whom some preferred more than two meters. At the waiting area one was only allowed to use every other chair.

In the plane "antifreeze" napkins for hygiene
In the plane, we sat next to each other as usual. A few had secured themselves with blue lab gloves, and I sat next to one of those. We received a package with a napkin moist with disinfectant. It was at least twice the size of the small square ones one could usually get on Air France flights. The instruction explained how to use the napkin and what to be aware of. One has to keep using the tissues, maintaining the hands moist for 60 seconds, but only use it in a well ventilated place - like in an airplane cabin, where most ventilators are turned off :-) - as the "antifreeze" can act like a solvent, affect the brain and is flammable. It appeared to me that several did not bother to use it, but put the item in their bag for later use, or simply left it behind.

Safety procedures: If you need the oxygen mask take off the other mask first!
During the safety procedures, they told us about the oxygen masks and added that in case they fell out, and we needed them, we would have to remove our other mask first. Good to know :-). Another detail was that we were by law required to keep out safety belt fastened at all times when seated. Maybe this is old news, but I only got the message now. In an increasingly unstable atmosphere this is probably good advice anyway

No inflight magazine yet - just the security sheet
Contrary to previous trips with Lufthansa there was no snack, except for business class. For the rest there was half a liter of water. In front of the seat there was no inflight magazines, only the minimal plastic security sheet. There was also no inflight sales, but I noticed that business class was given a small sheet that looked like a price list. After a few seconds and no interest, they were collected and disposed of.

A changed world for passengers and crew - who is behind the mask?
The journey itself was uneventful. I was sitting behind the row next to the emergency exit and next to the aisle. At take off and landing one of the crew was seated facing the passengers next to the exit. As we were approaching, I looked in the direction of the crew member and noticed a pair of eyes already looking at me. For a tiny fraction of a second we explored each other, as if who is there behind the mask? I then wondered what it might be like to have entered a career that includes going to places, seeing things, interacting with lots and lots of people, perhaps having been chosen for a friendly facial appearance and then suddenly finding oneself hidden behind a mask having to reduce contact with everyone and only knowing others as mask covered objects, while at the same time many in the same profession have been sent home or layed off. It is probably not easy.

Frankfurt airport in limbo
When I arrived in Frankfurt there was some time to explore the arrival area. As I exited, I noticed the luggage conveyors were all still, the area had only the essential lights that allowed for passing by on the side, as if nothing had happened all morning. When I came out of the security area I soon noticed there were loud speeches and whistles on the floor above. I wondered what happening was taking place. Was it Black Lives Matter, some climate activists like Extinction Rebellion, immigrants like in France, or a loud company that was about to go for some major travelling and fun time and needed the last instructions and admonitions before departure? None of that, it was loud but measured speech, different speakers, no party, no riot. I went up to find out it was Lufthansa staff discussing their future, the agreement between Lufthansa and the German state, that should secure Lufthansa did not contain the expectation that the company would guarantee the jobs of the staff. From an ordinary business point of view, I can easily understand that, but then again, I could also see the situation of the staff.

Returning - fewer self check-in counters available
On the return the picture was in many ways similar, but there was a little more life at the departure. It was Frankfurt after all! Police and security were addressing and reprimanding people who had no masks. Two out of three of the self check in desks had been closed down to allow for more space between those that used them. Not that the line was long, but the process had been made more cumbersome, compared to what I was used to. A person in front of me, a Croatian, had a problem with the language and asked for help which suddenly reduced the distance by a hundredfold, because where to press on the screen when it was all in German? The event created confusion in the person who had taken up my 2 meter spot, when I wished to resume it, because were the two people in front of her not together? That I also had a problem was another thing checking in, but I went to ask, how I could know if my passport was a biometric one, which was what the machine asked me about. I don't know why it asked, because when I came back the boarding card was ready, as if the machine had figured it out in the meantime. I noticed that some other people also spent time at the counters and it looked like a couple had to start over.

Security - more scanning and checking, but some show transparency to security
When I entered the security check an officer had a pair of thongs with which he could dish out masks to those unfortunates that were insufficiently equipped. I thought that was a kind service, but they were satisfied with mine. The scanning ordeal was exactly the same and with similar results. The person in front was more lucky, but also so transparently dressed it confused me the ethnic appearance was like that often found in Turkey, Iran and the Middle East. If nothing else it was an example of how to escape the padding, but then clothes may also protect.

Duty-free did not invite to impulse shopping
The open duty free area where one usually can walk in an out between the passage and the shop only had one entrance where a yellow vest assistant was guarding to make sure not too many came in at one time. There was not chance. All around it was limited with red-white plastic strips, as if it was a road repair or closed by the police. I refrained from taking a closer look at their goods, and I wasn't the only one, but wondered how they will even be able to pay their rent and their staff.

No printed tourist information - download if you need
Waiting at the gates, it was every other seat, as when departing from CPH. In the Frankfurt airport there were also none of the usual tourist and airport information folders. All the stands were empty, just empty grey shelves, and only one newspaper shelf was still stocked.

Summary: At the present times there are more restrictions at the airports. Even though the airports I used were not busy, it was good to have plenty of time. The self check-in counter took more time in Frankfurt. I experienced more scanning and body search than usual. Duty-free may be more sealed off to prevent unrestricted access to the shopping area. Seating facilities at the airport have been reduced to half, but with less people travelling it was still okay. If you think you need to find some map or airport information, perhaps it is better to prepare for the eventuality of less free printed tourist information and download it beforehand.

Adjusting a mask
This is a minor point, but as I studied how the hardware store dust mask worked, I found there was a small silicone disc that permitted exhaling and prevented inhaling since in a dusty situation inhaling should be done using the fabric filter. Below are two pictures of two different masks. One shows the inside and the other shows the outside. Only one is slightly modified to permit better air intake. From the outside there is no difference.
 

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SMM

The Living Force
Thank you @thorbiorn for such a detailed post. My family and I are travelling today from Bristol to Spain to meet another member of our family and close friend there. Much of what you've described we've experienced.

It seems on coaches, trains and buses, they are more lenient regarding masks in the UK. Less so on airplanes.

In a similar vein, they take your temperature before boarding some coaches, whereas when entering another country they take temperatures on all flights.

And the theme of tracking and tracing people's movements (to trace the virus) is strong with an additional public health form to fill in upon entering an EU country.

Those were the main things that stood out as worth mentioning. FWIW.
 

Mariama

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Contrary to previous trips with Lufthansa there was no snack, except for business class. For the rest there was half a liter of water. I

So, we are not supposed to eat on flights? I noticed the same thing on the train yesterday. A Dutch railway employee reminded the passengers that we should wear a mask at all times, which means we were not allowed to drink or eat anything. :-O What if it's hot and people need water? I will write more in the Corona thread, but this is inhuman. I was also thinking that perhaps this is a way of cutting costs. No food, less cleaning etc.
 

thorbiorn

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
So, we are not supposed to eat on flights? I noticed the same thing on the train yesterday. A Dutch railway employee reminded the passengers that we should wear a mask at all times, which means we were not allowed to drink or eat anything. :-O
Or could one say that the interpretations of the recommendations are not uniform. On the Lufthansa planes it was alright to eat, only food was not served. I could imagine the catering services are not working properly. Rather than taking offence at the rigid interpretations, perhaps one should try to find a hole in the fences. Sometimes there are openings, sometimes not. For instance, I have noticed many controllers of masks will accept a mask hanging below the nose, sometimes another may not accept it.
 
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Mariama

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Rather than taking offence at the rigid interpretations, perhaps one should try to find a hole in the fences. Sometimes there are openings, sometimes not. For instance, I have noticed many controllers of masks will accept a mask hanging below the nose, sometimes another may not accept it.

I was having a snack, so I wouldn't have to wear a mask. Two women sitting across from me were watching me all the time and although I couldn't make out what they were saying (they spoke a different language) it seemed to me that they were discussing amongst themselves what I was doing. When I was wearing a mask it didn't cover my nostrils, but subsequently the Dutch Railway employee made an announcement over the intercom and said that we should cover our nose as well.

It was rather quiet on the train, but the authoritarian followers were out in full force or so it seemed to me. Or perhaps Dutch Railway hired some 'mystery guests' to keep an eye on the passengers, in the same manner they are doing in Amsterdam right now to filter out "racists' among companies that are hiring.

BTW, this is the same railway which collaborated with the Nazis and supplied the trains for the deportation of resistance fighters, Jews and others.
 

Oxajil

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Hi @Mariama, it should be possible to eat and drink in the train. They 'advice' to eat and drink as much as possible before entering or after leaving the train, however there's not a hard rule that says you can't do so in the train. See:

Link & Link & Link

"De mondkapjesplicht is een regel van de Rijksoverheid. Reizigers worden natuurlijk verzocht het mondkapje zo veel mogelijk op te houden en bij voorkeur te eten en drinken voor of na de reis. Maar als je snel iets wil nuttigen, dan kan dat", zegt een woordvoerder van de NS tegen Editie NL.

If you're eating and they question you, you can say your teeth hurt so you can't eat quickly. If you're not eating/drinking and you left your mask hanging below your nose and someone tells you, you could say "Oh, oops, I had no idea, I was lost in my thoughts" and put it back on your nose. :whistle:

I agree it's getting ridiculous! Can't wait for this stupid mask to not be mandatory anymore.
 

Mariama

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I agree it's getting ridiculous! Can't wait for this stupid mask to not be mandatory anymore.

I received an e-mail in which Dutch Rail reported that as of 30 April 2020 passengers can send an app or text to a special number if they think a situation on the train or at the station is 'unsafe' or if people are a 'nuisance'.( I can't link to it I'm afraid.). So, this is ideal for authoritarian followers who wish to report someone who isn't wearing a mask or in the wrong way. :umm:
 

thorbiorn

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
A few other travel experiences from post Covid19 Europe using plane, car, train and bus
I wanted to travel from Copenhagen, and bought a ticket in early June via an online agency. I showed up for the flight in early July, but had not received the information the flight had been cancelled. The company claimed it had tried to contact me by phone and mail, but not succeeded. While I can see no sms on the phone, there was one mail in the spam box. The problem created by the cancellation was solved. I bought another ticket and left the next morning on a Lufthansa flight.

During the journey, I took photos of the list of departures in Copenhagen and there were only destinations within Europe. It was still like a provincial airport. When I checked the list of departures in Frankfurt, there were over a period of eight hours a very reduced number of flights out of the continent, it seemed shockingly low.

Originally Frankfurt was just a transit point, but I was picked up in Frankfurt rather than at the destination. This was possible, as I had only carry on luggage. When I arrived in Frankfurt I went to the check-in counter and told Lufthansa that I would not be able to show up for the last leg of the journey that day, but that the return was not to be cancelled. I don't know if all companies are fine with such last minute changes, but in this case it was accepted with a thank you very much.

What was really surprising was that even if I had wanted to, there were no flights to Frankfurt available as early as the one I got to Zürich via Frankfurt. In other words, I arrived earlier in Frankfurt than would have been possible with a plane only destined for Frankfurt and the price was not much different. One can of course only make use of this, if one has carry on only, but that such paradoxes even exist, I did not know.
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Later, I needed to rebook the return flight to another day. The website was not very helpful or easy to navigate, even after having signed up. What helped in this case was to download the Lufthansa app. The app was more updated and had more numbers one could call. While I hesitate to download all kinds of apps for the phone, it can be useful to have apps installed for the companies one is travelling with, at least while the trip is not yet completed.

Travelling on the highways in France
When travelling on A36 between Besançon and Mulhouse, we stopped at a highway fuel and restaurant area. We had to wear masks inside, and the areas outside where people usually can sit and enjoy the beverages and snacks they bought were closed, due to Covid19. At the parking lot we found a few wooden benches, (well spaced of course) where one could sit. In general there were few people at the facility considering that it was close to lunch time.

Travelling by TGV train from Zürich to Paris
One has to wear a mask on train stations and in trains. The TGV reach speeds of up to 320 km/h, but as not all stretches are build to accommodate such speeds, it is often slower. A trip from Zürich to Paris takes just over four hours. It was Friday, but there were few people on First Class due to less business people and tourists, second class was much more occupied. When one arrives in Paris at Gare de Lyon, it is of course still with masks. Outside the station, we went to a small restaurant where the lady said business has been slow (catastrophic) this summer due to a lack of tourist.

Travelling by long distance bus from Paris
If a train has a first and a second class, then a bus is a little lower. There are no official classes, but there is less space for sitting and for moving around, although the opportunities to breathe fresh air along the way can be appreciated if one makes use of them. If anyone would like to travel by bus from Gare de Bercy in Paris, (gare routière Bercy Seine (quai de Bercy)) map, video1 video2 map and tickets, here are a few observations. At the moment the ticket selling area and enclosed waiting area is closed, as were the public toilets. If one asks for a toilet, one is directed toward the public toilets in the park outside, but I can't say much in this regard, as I did not use them. It is probably more comfortable to travel with a companion, as it allows one to explore areas while leaving valuables with someone who is in a safer place. I did not have a companion, but for a period of 5 minutes I exchanged help with another traveller and we located a single toilet (staff? near the exit) in the car garage below the bus station. I also looked for a place to deposit luggage, but I did not find any place at the bus station. One may have more luck at one of the larger train stations.

In the Flixbus going in the direction of Orleans, Limoges, Cahors, Toulouse the toilet was also closed, but after the first stretch of two and a half hours there were more frequent stops along the way during which the two drivers also change. It was possible to choose a seat, and I had paid a little extra to be at the front, which was great except perhaps for the stretch when we drove downhill with what looked like 120 km/h. When one is on the ground rather than flying, and at the front rather than sitting behind, one gets a much better feel for the land.
 

thorbiorn

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Resume: Below are some experiences traveling from Southern France to Switzerland by bus and later to Denmark by plane. There may be a lot of details of little interest to those not traveling now, or not using such means of travel, or not traveling in Europe. I wrote it in case you do have to travel or perhaps like to read about travel experiences.

Traveling from Southern France to Switzerland by bus at the end of July gave a few more experiences. Before getting to the French bus station, I used a local train. A group of about five teenagers stood waiting on the platform, as they realized to their horror that they had no masks on them. One boy resolutely took off his shirt and began tearing it into pieces. Unfortunately, it was mostly plastic fiber, well sewn, and it did not tear easily at all. A girl in the group wanted to help too, she held out a piece of black clothing to see what that might do, but it was put away again. Perhaps there were too many holes in it? The train came and they entered, fortunately, there was no inspection on that train. If they had been caught it would mean a fine of 135 Euros for each of them or 27 times the cost of their ticket.

For the French phrase book one might like to add expressions like. "porte du masque obligatoire" which means that it is mandatory to wear a mask and some users may utter words of discontent like "sur le nez" (on the nose), in case one wears the mask below the nose (sous les nez) or worse, below the chin (sous le menton. I did not meet such hardliners though.

Traveling to Marseille in the first leg of the journey and traveling exclusively in France, I had somehow chosen a seat that faced toward the rear. This did not give me much opportunity to see the road or the landscape, as it was very dark outside, but it protected the eyes from the lights of the cars. The bus was lit with white LEDs, and wearing sunglasses was very soothing.

From Marseille to Switzerland
In Marseille, the Saint Charles Station is very beautiful and looks more like an airport with its marbled floors and shops scattered around. The small police station office is temporarily closed. Perhaps in response, the toilet next to the station has changed its hours of operation and is now closed from 23-07. I looked at the elaborate way they have made it easier for the blind and weak of sight to find their way, but if the same people have a need of nature between 23-7 in the morning? On the other hand, I understand the closure, because when the privatized toilet opened at 7:00, a strong young man crossed the barrier where one has to enter 0.9 Euro for the gate to open. The lady in charge and incidentally of similar origin threatened with the police, but in vain looked for them in the vicinity, and did not call them as she had promised. Did they have a silent agreement?

While I could have spent time reading in Marseille, I didn't, I tried to be observant and aware of what was happening around me, just in case. I also wore a set of shorts within the pants to provide extra pockets, but they were not needed at all. When one observes one learns. Shortly after arriving at the almost empty station, I sat on a bench not far from two ladies. After a while, they were met with what I gathered was a trainer and handler of police dogs. The male and female German Shepards he brought along were well maintained and managed. Until they left there was a lot of "dog-talk", in French. I did not get the whole thing, and of course, I was not expected to or even interested, but I was left with an idea of what it means to have two big dogs. Before leaving where I had been staying, somebody had warned me about crazy people, and indeed there was one instance where I felt it was better to gently move away. It was not a violent person, but something was off.

The Flixbus to Budapest in Hungary and Bratislava in Slovakia on which I traveled with from Marseille to Switzerland had, contrary to the two long-distance French registered busses, no mask sign (porte du masque obligatoire) and there was an open and functional toilet. The drivers took shifts about twice as long as the French drivers and made only necessary stops except once where they filled air in a tire and used the opportunity to have a smoke, buy a coffee and an ice cream. In the afternoon, after driving for more than four hours, the oldest driver moved his legs slowly, as if he was in quite some pain, but he did not show it otherwise and enjoyed his dinner which looked like 850-900 grams tin of meat stew. These drivers worked very differently than others I had encountered and chated most of the time! The whole drive is more than 25 hours, but I got off after only 11 hours of driving through a beautiful landscape which is more easily appreciated from above the ground than when driving in a smaller car.

A police check in Switzerland
When coming into Switzerland, it was easy to cross the border, but after 160 km, the bus had a stop in Bern to pick up one passenger. However, four people were waiting. The three others, one woman and two men, were police dressed in civilian clothes. Honestly, one would not know they were police from their dress. They looked as civilians, though middle class, as one could imagine. The woman went in through the front door, the two men from the middle, one going left, the other right. In this way, the three officers had the whole bus covered. I had moved to the panorama seat just above the entrance in the front and was the first that part of the bus to be shown a police badge and asked to produce a passport, to answer if I had any alcohol, tobacco or meat, and whether I came for work or visit. Standard questions, and all passengers except one went through the check. I could not quite figure out the origin of the person they took outside; he could be French, Spanish, Italian etc. He was of course wearing a mask, but as he handcuffed and outside the bus tried to answer questions his mask had come down quite a bit. Before walking off with the apprehended person, the strongest officer, who had picked up his bag from the storage, gently lifted the surgical mask of the apprehended from below the nose (sous le nez) to on the nose (sur le nez). Later, I asked the chief driver why the guy was taken off, he indicated by signs and a few words that there were some problems with the documents. By the way, I was not carried off even though the officer encountered me wearing a privately sewn one layer mask hanging loosely below the nose.

When traveling long distances by bus
While not related to any of the legs of the journey, but the duration, I should say the part of waiting from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. was the most tiring, not due to the lack of facilities in Marseille, but I had slept rather little during the first leg, a few power naps was all and to prevent missing my departure, I put on the alarm as I was sitting and waiting for the bus to show up. On the trip to Switzerland, I slept more, but arrived, shall we say, comfortably exhausted. When I finally went to bed it was a broken, feverish kind of sleep. I slept the usual amount of hours, and the next day I was back to normal at around noon, although I was happy I did not have to travel anywhere immediately. Much depends on age, individual conditions, means of travel, and travel companions, but if the travel is long and of the bus kind, one might need to add an opportunity for vertical rest and real sleep. One thing that I could have done, was to go to Barcelona by bus, wait for ten hours and continue by plane to Switzerland. I may try that another time. Traveling by bus gave a more genuine feel for what the land is and looks like, which one misses when flying above the clouds.

Sometimes, I can have swelling in the legs when sitting very long in one position. This was not a major issue, but I later learned there are some special support socks to prevent swellings when traveling by train, plane, or bus. A pair of those may be something to consider as a precaution in the future; they are super light and take up little space.

If you go by long-distance bus and choose a seat in the front, or one with a table, it costs extra, but only a couple of Euros. What I noticed was they and especially the night bus in France was less filled, maybe because there is also more noise from the front field of action, where the drivers work. At any rate, I prefer the front to the back. Beware that the distance between some rows of seats may vary. After feeling a bit confined, I discovered I had three to four cm less leg space in row three on the left side than I had had in row three on the right side. That may be a unique case, and they do not tell you when you choose a seat, but if you meet this issue, the drivers may allow you to shift around if there are free seats. At least they allowed moving to free seats on the busses, I used.

Flying from Central Europe to Southern Scandinavia
On July 30, I had a flight from Zürich. The day before I got a mail saying "Please call back your Lufthansa Service Center" Allegedly they had tried to call me. The booking number looked fine, so it was not a fake, but when I called they said all looked fine, and that I would be able to check-in. I tried to check-in online, but it was very difficult even though I tried to log in with the frequent flyer option and the ID option. When I finally got through to a link that said I could check-in, it led to another that said I couldn't. After too many tries, I gave up, but a friend called the company next morning and after the standard choose French or German -> German->Press "1" for English and quicker service he was told that a random check had chosen my booking allowing only check-in at the airport. At the airport, it was mostly empty with just three to seven flights every hour. All the check-in machines and all the counters of section three were closed. I had to go to section one, but found again no machines operation and of the 20 counters of Star Alliance, only two counters were open, one for Business and one for Senator/Gold members. The first was busy with one customer, and my choice was to try the latter which asked for a passport, and the person quickly gave me what I needed to board. At security, I found an official line of 1- 3 minutes but a practical situation, where I was free to choose between counters with nothing to do - at nine o'clock on a Thursday morning! The duty-free and departure area was similarly empty, the music to calm nerves and encourage shopping clear and audible and hardly a murmur or sound from people passing by was noticed. As such, I listened in on the instruction of one cleaner to another on how to do the windows, and at one coffee counter, the only customers were to two airport security officers discussing what to choose. This surely also happens on "normal days", but today there was no hurry.

In Frankfurt, the newspaper shelf in the gates A area, usually filled with various free papers was reduced to emptiness except for carrying the New York Times, and Bild, - at noontime! Places to sit were, despite the every-other-chair-only policy, not missing. One used the many options to lie down for a nap.


From the flight attendant
On both flights with Lufthansa, there was one male and three female flight attendants. In both cases, the speaker was the male. The script was done in a light style, as if inspired by a stand-up comic. They were similar, but the first had added a bit which had a flavor of the one speaking while keeping the light style. He expressed the need to carry the mask - over the nose, but also how difficult it is to do so all day, based on his personal job experience. He added: "we still smile, you can see it on our eyes", and "when we smile, we appreciate when you smile back".

Copenhagen control
In the airport of Copenhagen, there was a lot of police, at least they were visible and all passengers had to go through passport checks to an extend, I have not seen in Denmark for a long time, but similar to what was experienced in Toulouse a couple of years ago after some of the terror attacks in Paris. After that, I saw two officers with a mission, two huge guys, two meters + and ap. 120 kg each, but without the automatic rifles one would see in France. Later a couple in front of me had a random customs check, which I have also not seen for a very long time. Later at the entrance, there were besides airport security two more average size officers. Now, I wonder how they would scale that level of control and presence up if the number of passengers went back to normal. Outside the airport, I could take off the mask, but later in the day, I read, that such a sense of relief may be shortlived.

Pictures of departure lists attached with comments
The first picture from Zurich airport shows the list of departures from 8:45 to 22:40. There are 84 flights of which those within Europe are more than 70 while those out of Europe counting Israel are the remaining. To South America, there is Sao Paolo and to North America, there is Toronto, Chicago, New York, Washington, and Montreal. Other destinations are Doha, Dubai, Singapore, Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Tel Aviv.20200730_084545[1].jpg
Next is an image of Terminal 1, at around 9 in the morning. There were two sections with two counters open in each.
20200730_084844[1].jpg
Next is an image of the list of departures from Copenhagen between 15:40 and 08:15 the next morning. Of these 6-7 are domestic flights. The remaining approximately 45 flights are within Europe, or should we say they are European domestic flights. Of these several go to Germany, France, the Netherlands, and the Nordic countries. The reception and check-in area in which I found the board below was very empty.
20200730_153407[1].jpg
I have not planned any flights or travels over the next few months, but if I look back and compare traveling now with traveling six weeks earlier, the wonder is really how little activity there still is. I mean this used to be a busy traveling season. Now the airports, or several of them, are crowded with parked planes whose air intake has been covered up to protect the engines. Planes that used to fly in the sky and were filled with passengers, tourists, and business people eager to meet new challenges and adventures. I thought the transition to the new normal would be short, or is something similar to the present, the new normal, a normal where they keep scaring people with new hotspots, new outbreaks, and new measures to counteract the "hotspots" and the "outbreaks". What will traveling look like in six months, one year or two years? I don't know, but if you travel, have a safe travel.
 
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BHelmet

Jedi Council Member
I did fly recently in the US. Buying and consuming food and drink on the plane grants one the "right/opportunity" to remove the mask. You better believe I ordered a glass of wine and an iced coffee so I could breathe the whole trip. Interestingly, the consensus on the plane was mixed. A lot of people did the same. And plenty of people ordered drinks and kept the masks on.

Here is a funny one: I went into the bathroom before boarding the flight. I realized, as I sat down, that I could remove my mask (mandatory in the airport) in the stall without being seen. I never thought I would go into a public rest room for a breath of fresh air?!?!?!? 😹
 

edgitarra

Jedi Council Member
I also flew to Greece for a couple weeks, then to Romania. Things are way more relaxed in there, but given to a certain number of combinations. I flew from Copenhagen to Athens on the 29th of June and even though we were told that when we arrive we will be tested, nothing really happened. We waited 15 minutes in the plane upon arrival, filled a form, which afterwards was thrown in the garbage by the stewardess saying they don't need it anymore.

We simply got out of the airport and went our way. No one really wearing masks except the waiters in the restaurants. Two weeks later, we arrived in Romania, same thing, no control no obligations to wear the mask. It was mandatory to wear masks in the supermarket but that's about it. The supermarket guard was always checking the temperature but in a very ignorant manner :)) Like taking the temperature of the arm; in one funny instance the guard took my temp and it was 30 degrees celsius. He said: "youre fine" and I said: pff 30 sounds like hypothermia :))
 

fabric

SuperModerator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
For anyone that might be flying to France in the forseeable future:



Passengers traveling to France have fallen foul of a little-known piece of legislation banning reusable masks on flights. The Decree, published in July, stated that passengers must wear disposable, surgical type masks, rather than the popular reusable type. While enforcement of this rule seems to vary between airlines, some passengers are now reporting a refusal of boarding unless a surgical mask is worn.

[...]

The legislation it refers to is Decree Number 2020-860 which was issued by the French government on July 10th. This states that,

Anyone eleven years of age or over wears, on board aircraft providing public transport to, from or within the national territory, upon boarding, a disposable surgical-type mask meeting the characteristics set out in the Annex 1 to this decree.
Annex one, for those curious, basically sets out that it should be a standard surgical mask, with no further details. However, the inclusion of ‘disposable’ in the decree means that the popular and widely used fabric, washable face coverings are, in theory, unacceptable.

[...]

While easyJet appears to be taking a hardline approach to this regulation, other airlines are not so strict. French airlines such as Air France have reportedly demanded surgical masks all along, but other operators including Ryanair have not demanded any specific mask type.

For now, at least, those traveling to France would do well to take a stock of disposable masks with them to ensure they can board the flight.
 

Beau

Administrator
Administrator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
The Decree, published in July, stated that passengers must wear disposable, surgical type masks, rather than the popular reusable type. While enforcement of this rule seems to vary between airlines, some passengers are now reporting a refusal of boarding unless a surgical mask is worn.

I'll be honest - I don't even know what the difference between a disposable and reusable mask even is.
 
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