Last week, Callum’s story showed us that the overall travel experience has changed. With changes to restrictions taking place nearly every day, we want to continue keeping our community informed about what to expect when traveling right now. Today we spoke with another Ambassador, Iulia Dumitrescu, who shared what her experience was like traveling from Brussels to Valencia.
Tell us about your overall departure experience?
I had a 6am flight out of Brussels. The TSA lines were quite long (around 20 to 25 people in front of me when I got there) but it was moving pretty quickly — I think it took around 10 minutes. There were social distancing signs everywhere on the floor and around, but in line, they were not always respected by everyone. I will add though that the TSA did a good job controlling the line and they were only allowing access to about half of the queue at a time, which helped with the social distancing.
In terms of the airport experience, most of the stores were closed (I would assume it was also because of the early timeframe). The restaurants and cafes were actually open though and very full of people. Each place had hand sanitizers at the counter and the lines were respected. Tables were marked where to sit or not so the distance was maintained. I only had a coffee in the morning and although the cafe was respecting the rules (hand sanitizer, everyone wearing masks) all the tables were full, and if you could find a seat, I suspected it probably had not been disinfected before the last customer.
What was your inflight experience like?
I flew with TUI Fly Belgium in economy class in mid July. The middle seat was occupied. The flight departing was actually 90% booked and I saw very few spots left unoccupied. Everyone was wearing masks (it is mandatory) and the crew even gave out hand sanitizers before take off. No food was served on board as it was also only a 2 hour flight.
How was the arrival process in Spain?
I landed in Valencia and honestly wasn’t very crowded — It’s also not a big airport. Social distancing rules were still applied here, all lines had markers on the floor and everyone was respecting it! I didn’t stay very long at the airport on arrival, but while departing I remember most restaurants were open in my terminal. Social distancing was being practiced by everyone departing, there were marked tables for seating and the airport was not that crowded. All duty free stores were open as well.
What was your experience in Valencia like?
In terms of a COVID test, it wasn’t required. I just had to hand in a form, which I completed on the plane (or it can be done online and you get a QR code generated that you show at the arrival desk). The form is a self declaration stating that you don’t have any symptoms and of any recent past trips.
My hotel didn’t have any special policies in place. I did notice these extra precautions: hand sanitizers were available in reception, wearing a mask in all common places was required, breakfast buffet was not available and the room key was replaced with a code entry. Overall, everyone was wearing masks on the streets in Spain. I also travelled inside the country by train and it seemed safe and everyone was respecting the rules as well.
After this trip, would you recommend others to travel during this time?
I would recommend others to travel as long as they can stay flexible with dates and duration (you never know if during your stay the country or region to/from will change their rules and require quarantine). So you need to make sure you plan for this, whether it’s budget, flexibility or needing to take a test. I do believe it’s easier to travel within the EU, and that is what I chose for this summer!