Travelling during a pandemic

Oh the joys of coming back to Vancouver. Now I love to travel. Always have, probably always will. But more and more recently I’ve come to dislike airports and airplanes. When I fly from Dubai to Vancouver I have to go through Toronto. The flight from Toronto to Dubai is like 14 hours. And I fly economy. So yeah, being packed like a sardine for 14 hours isn’t my favourite thing in the world. Add to that the stress of a pandemic and you’ve got a flying experience which I would never want to go through. 

My first flight from Dubai to Toronto:

I had heard that if you’re flying to the UK you needed a negative PCR test to even board the flight. So that was a concern of mine going into the airport. One call to the Emirates help desk cleared that up. Since Canada is doing a mandatory 14 day quarantine, you do not need a negative PCR test to fly. This is good news for me since I don’t have to go through the discomfort of a COVID test. But it also means that no one else on the plane has been tested, which means a simple surgical mask won’t cut it for me. I decided to play it safe and get an N-95. 

I do this thing before long flights, where I don’t sleep the entire night before. So that I could sleep in the flight. The risk with this is that I’m usually so exhausted by the time I reach the gate that I’m always afraid I’ll miss the flight by falling asleep at the gate. To counter this, I try to call as many people as I can speak to. 

Now I thought I’d fall asleep for at least 8 hours during this flight. But that didn’t happen.

The flight was PACKED. I thought during a pandemic they would enforce some social distancing but it was properly PACKED. The flight itself was fairly uneventful. Masks were mandatory, and Emirates provided little covid kits with 3 surgical masks, hand sanitisers, and gloves. 

Once I was in Toronto, I decided to get some homework done since my classes were going on. I’m not going to lie, I felt very important. I had my laptop out, I had my phone charging. I felt very businessy. Even though I was procrastinating on writing an essay for a university course.

Terminal in Toronto was very comfy.

My next flight was with Westjet to Vancouver. When I was in line someone said “ouch, that’s a long flight” (referring to my Toronto to Vancouver). Even though I had gotten off a 14 hour flight, I had to agree. 

Now Westjet has a surprising amount of legroom. Emirates is considered this ‘luxury airline’ even for economy class, but the Westjet seats were definitely roomier. They weren’t as comfortable and barely reclined, but you have to give credit where it’s due. Westjet was also less packed, and as a result could enforce social distancing.

WestJet had a surprising amount of legroom

There wasn’t any in-flight entertainment and we did hit some turbulence. But the lack of sleep finally caught up and I was able to sleep throughout most of the flight. When I finally woke up I had about an hour and 30 mins left to land. So I paid for an hour of in-flight wifi, which I can wholeheartedly say is a scam. I paid around $17, I couldn’t use any social media except Whatsapp, and I couldn’t even send pictures. It was also extremely slow and because of the time difference, none of my friends were awake so I had no one to text. I basically paid to look at old messages. 

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