Clothes packed, Passports with us, checked in on line and we have our masks..... we are ready to go! As we drive to Luton airport it’s the usual continuous chat from our girls but this time it was more coronavirus based. At 7 and 9 they are definitely aware of the changes in society and they ask the important questions like can we still have a box of pringles on the plane and how do we eat them if we’re wearing a mask!
When we arrive at the airport it’s tranquil, calm and nobody is there. This is the first week of the summer holidays.... no queues for taxis (in fact there weren’t any taxis!) no children whizzing up and down on their trunkies, no squeals of excitement and as I turn my head to the right just rows of aeroplanes grounded.
Anyway, as we approach Departures there are signs informing us to wear a mask, we all place them on our face including our four year old boys as they wanted to be the same. When we entered, the silence continued, it felt like a ghost town.... the few people there were just casually pulling there suitcases with there masks on in tow! Then you hear a familiar sound, raucous laughs entering the airport as a hen do arrives, matching t shirts with their names written on and the bride wearing the most sparkly, dazzling hat on declaring she is the bride! This made my kids giggle and the muffled whispers of why are they dressed like that came from their mouths, as they approach us.
Baggage dropped off (including 4 scooters that squeezed in to a golf bag.... minus the clubs!) we walked along the trailing path through duty free which was boarded up with Heres fencing to stop you entering and the cosmetic stalls wrapped in industrial cling form for what reason I do not know, as you couldn’t enter in the first place. In the departures lounge everything is shut no restaurants, no shops except Boots (thank god they sold earphones... epic fail on my behalf.... I forgot to charge the headphones!) and two coffee outlets. As a result of this, all the people just congregated here leaving the chairs which were meant to empty. At this point, the masks were off for the majority of the people. Surprisingly, what I did find alarming and which did ‘ruffle my feathers’ purely because I didn’t understand why they were doing it was the police who were parading around the airport with no face masks on....hardly setting a great example!
The gate number flashes on the board and we head towards it and line up trying to keep our social distance but surprisingly there, unlike everywhere else had no markers on the floor.
We enter the plane, which wasn’t full and are greeted by cabin crew with face masks on... nothing was different, but what did surprise me was that when the seatbelt sign went off there was no mad rush to go to the toilet, like there usually is, and there was no restrictions on their use.
It was an evening flight and as the alcohol flowed some people did get ‘jolly’ and masks were gradually hanging of an ear for maybe a longer period of time then what was expected.
When we were landed, we were asked to depart row by row, the majority of people obliged. As we landed we were greeted by a temperature checker and handed in the relevant paperwork which we completed in order to receive a QR code which could be scanned. Where we live in Spain, the masks have to be worn at all times including outside if you are over 7 (the only exemptions are sunbathing on the beach, eating at a restaurant and exercising).
It was definitely an experience, but the most alarming thing was the solitude. There are hardly any tourists. People walking down the street with lilo’s in tow are at a minimum, restaurants empty and the buzz of the summer season is definitely not apparent.
...... I also not only forgot to charge the headphones I also forgot to pack the hair straighteners....looks like it is time to embrace big humidity hair!