In these challenging times, airports and travel suppliers recognise the huge part they play in ensuring travellers they are safe and give them the confidence to travel. Even though travel demand is currently down, airports and suppliers still have to manage a large volume of people passing through each section of the airport, boarding aircraft etc. every day.
I recently travelled from Manchester Airport with Jet2, so I was able to experience the full procedure with all the new safety measures in place.
I had pre-booked car parking with the Official On-Airport Meet and Greet Service. It is located outside the terminal doors so only a short walk from the main building. The whole service was automated so there were no queues or waiting around to hand over your keys. There was a self-service kiosk to add your booking reference in, which then generated a bar-code ticket to use when collecting the car when I returned. On return, you scan the ticket in the machine and a locker opens with your keys in it. Attached to the key are details of which section of the car park your car is parked in.
Moving into the airport terminal the first thing to mention is…. there is hand sanitiser EVERYWHERE! It is outside each entrance, before and after passport control, in the walkways, inside and outside the toilets, throughout duty-free and at the entrance of every shop and restaurant. I had taken a small bottle (under 100ml) with me but only used it on the aircraft.
Face coverings must be worn at all times inside the airport, it’s probably best to make sure you have a comfortable, breathable, face covering that isn’t too heavy or hot as you are wearing it for a long time. There will be queues at check-in, security and onboarding the aircraft so best to be prepared and make sure you have a few spares. You will be asked to remove your face covering when presenting your passport on check-in and when boarding…. The only other time you can remove the face mask is when are seated in a restaurant or coffee shop.
The actual check-in process was excellent, I had already checked in online (which everyone should do where possible, as this confirms your intent to travel and re-confirms your seats) so I used the self- service baggage drop area. Jet 2 had plenty of their team on hand to help but it really was very easy. After queuing for a few minutes in a socially distanced line, I used one of the many self check-in points. The process was simple. Scan your passport, lift your suitcase onto the scales and as long as you are within your allowance, your luggage tag and boarding cards are printed for you. You can then just take your luggage to the conveyor belt point and off it goes.
I had pre-booked Airport FastTrack and I have to say, it was well worth it! As you can imagine the queue for security was long (due to social distancing) and the airport staff were being extremely thorough, so understandably it was taking longer than normal. The Fast Track lane had only a few people in front of me, I was through security within approx. 15 minutes. £5 well spent!
Throughout the airport, there are plenty of signs and instructions with safety measures. One-way routes through duty-free shops (Yes, they were all open), reminders to social distance and to keep your face covered.
In general, I felt very safe and think both Manchester Airport and Jet 2 have done a great job. Yes, there may have been the odd person that may not have kept to the rules and got too close but I suppose that’s no different to what we experience every day in supermarkets and in the street.
I found myself using the Good Travel Management Covid-19 Business travel checklist before, and during, my trip and it does help to get you prepared in advance to save hassle and time later.