I felt like I was trapped and there was no sense of freedom during the months of lockdown. When it was raining here in the UK and browsing photos of my travels to South America, reminiscing about the beach, sand in my toes and hearing the waves.
Cabin fever isn’t a pretty sight so what does someone do when they get itchy feet? Look at going away!
Slowly, the UK was lifting travel bans and adding countries by the day to the list of places Brits can travel to without quarantine and of course cases of COVID-19 have significantly reduced.
After umming and ahhing on various locations, I picked Sicily – the land of great wine, mount etna and beaches. I planned to visit in August when the weather is hot, eat some tasty arancini and I get to explore Sicilian culture.
Off I go with my Ryanair flight flying to Palermo from Manchester Airport. I still have an Airport Pass and nowhere on the internet stated that it was closed so you can imagine my face when I turned up and they were ALL CLOSED :(.
There is the COVID-19 quwining system where there’s spots on the floor to separate customers and a one way flow system with seating areas stating ‘please leave this clear’. The airport has done a lot to try and separate and comply with COVID-19 travel rules. BTW, there were some good offers in the airport like 3 for 2 on perfumes and branded luxury skin products – I guess all the quiet months during lockdown meant that they have a lot of stock to try to shift. Shops like Boots, WHS Smith, Dutyfree, coffee cafe and restaurants were open with COVID-19 guidelines so the airport is functional…but I wish the lounge would be open!
Going onto the flight itself, there is a strict ‘wear a mask’ rule, no queuing for the toilets (you have to press the need help light button above you) and wait for a flight attendant to tell you that it is ok to go to the toilet. You can still order food, drink and duty free items (no cigarettes though). But you are sitting next to strangers and it is still random seating too.
As a personal rule, I have hand sanitiser and tissues to wipe down the seatbelt and armrest. People will remove their mask to eat or drink (which is fine) and that is the experience on an aeroplane.
This is different from my flight when I was returning from Mexico as they spaced us out (since there were plenty of seats available) with the rule to wear your mask.
On the return flight from Palermo to Manchester, the airport did the same thing as everyone must wear masks, cafes, restaurants, duty free and some shops were open following COVID-19 guidelines. Airport lounge is under refurb so that was a no go. But you can get some tasty Sicilian dessert (before security) and get very expensive frozen arancini to take home.
I’ve done a list for you so you are ready to travel during these times.
Optional but good items to have:
Key opener (so you don’t need to touch door handles etc)
Bacterial wipes to wipe down surfaces (optional)
Let me know what your experience is and safe travels!