Greece announces reopening for tourism
In the last week or so, it suddenly seems like we may be able to travel again this year. Whether you actually want to is another matter once the FCO warning against all but essential travel is lifted. Personally, if I was young and healthy I would definitely consider travel to places with a low rate of COVID19 when it is deemed safe to travel. But everyone needs to assess their own risk and of the destination and airline too.
Greece has had a very low number of cases recording just 166 coronavirus-related deaths and 2,850 confirmed cases.
Yesterday the Greek Prime Minister announced that:
- Seasonal hotels in Greece will be allowed to reopen 15 June (originally it was planned for 1 July)
- International flights (outside EU) will gradually resume from 1 July.
- Health officials will conduct sample coronavirus tests at the airport but it is not clear how many people will get this
- Temporarily reduced value added tax (VAT) on all transport – flights, bus journeys and rail travel – to 13% from 24%
Easyjet returns to the skies
EasyJet took a very extreme reaction to the current crisis and pretty much grounded its entire fleet. With signs of recovery firmly insight, they have finally announced that they will be taking to the skies again in June. Although we focus mainly on luxury travel, I actually don’t mind Easyjet for short haul travel, particularly if you pay for all the extras to jump the queues. You can read my review here.
easyJet has announced that it will resume a small number of flights on 15 June. Services will be operating from London Gatwick, Bristol, Birmingham, Liverpool, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, Belfast, and Isle of Man in the UK. In addition, flying will resume in France from Nice, Paris Charles de Gaulle, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Nantes, Lyon and Lille, as well as from Geneva in Switzerland, Lisbon and Porto in Portugal, and Barcelona in Spain.
Flying will principally be on domestic routes alongside a minimal number of international routes. The airline expects to increase flying as customer demand continues to build and restrictions are relaxed. During the lockdown period, the fleet has been grounded the aircraft have been maintained in a flight ready condition to enable the airline to resume flights quickly at the right time.
New safety measures
It doesn’t sound like a huge amount of fun as you will have to wear a mask onboard and there will be no food service on board.
The measures have been implemented in consultation with aviation authorities ICAO and EASA, and in line with relevant national authorities and medical advice through the airline’s chief medical adviser.
The additional cleaning and disinfection procedures for aircraft cabins are on top of an existing daily aircraft cleaning schedule. Every aircraft will be subject to a daily disinfection process which provides surface protection from viruses that lasts for at least 24 hours.
All passengers and crew will be required to wear masks onboard at all times. Initially, when flights restart, the Bistro and Boutique service will not be available. Furthermore, all flights will be equipped with spare sanitary equipment including masks, gloves and hand sanitiser to ensure these are available to customers and crew at all times onboard, if required. easyJet’s aircraft are already fitted with state of art filtration technology. High efficiency particle arresting filters filter 99.97% of airborne contaminants in the cabin, including viruses and bacteria. These filters are the same as those used in hospitals and through them the cabin air gets replaced every 3-4 minutes.
To protect customers and ground crew in the airport, customers will be able to use the automated bag drop to check in their hold luggage and screens will be in place at our check-in desks and at airports where auto bag drop is not available. Ground crew and cabin will not handle any customer documents during boarding so customers will be asked to present and scan their own documents. Ground crew will also wear gloves and masks at all times when transporting customer luggage to and from the aircraft.
Further recommendations for airports indicate there may also be measures in places at airports such as wearing masks, self-declaration health forms to be completed ahead of departure, and temperature screening. The airline is working with all airports where it operates to understand what measures will be in place to protect customers.
There has been a lot of talk of whether customers should social distance on aircraft. Realistically, while it may be just about possible at the moment when there are a small number of customers on board, you can’t sustain that without increasing airfares to a point where it would be unsustainable for most airlines. So easyJet has chosen to go down the route of encouraging social distancing in the airports, at gates and during boarding. However, onboard, and where possible, they will only provide social distancing where there is space for it.
Now that BA are not offering any real onboard service (water and a snack even in Club on short-haul), would you consider flying easyJet? Would these measures make you feel safe?
Let us know in the comments below or on social media