What it was like travelling abroad during Covid
- Credit: Andra Maciuca
2020 was a strange year. I never thought that I would be flying in a pandemic, wearing a mask and socially distancing in the airport.
I started 2020 very homesick, despite the fact that I had been to my home in Bucharest in November the year before. The pandemic came, my Easter and summer plans were cancelled, and for months I refused to even go for a walk.
In July, I booked all my annual leave for December to January, hoping the pandemic situation would improve.
When the November lockdown came, I thought my flight would be cancelled. I had only met about one person throughout the whole pandemic, and out of everyone I knew I seemed to have left the house the least. I was longing for social interaction and to see my family.
I got very lucky and the restrictions lifted on the day of my flight to Romania. With my mask on, a suitcase in each hand and a heavy bag hanging from my neck, I got the earliest train I could find from Audley End to Stansted Mountfitchet - at just after 5.30am. The train was empty. On my second train journey to Stansted Airport, there were only a few people.
The airport was well-organised. A bar code reader machine scanned my ticket. There were floor markings to ensure social distancing when queueing to go through security, and there were clear plastic screens separating passengers who were putting their belongings on security trays.
I got on the plane praying it would not be full, as, in normal times, not a single seat is free, especially in the run-up to Christmas. To my surprise, both the flight to Romania and the flight back were only about half full, and I did not have to sit next to a stranger.
Ahead of my return to Stansted, I had to fill out a form to give an address for my 10-day self-isolation. I am at home now, so that process is ongoing.
- 1 Essex fire crews tackle around 70 incidents in three-hour window after rain
- 2 Essex A-level results 2022: Students celebrate grades
- 3 Celebrity MasterChef 2022: Saffron Walden's Cliff Parisi battles Chris Eubank in kitchen contest
- 4 Recap: Tree on the tracks disrupts London, Stansted and Cambridge trains
- 5 Newport man vows to protect river after round the world sailing trip
- 6 IN PICTURES: Sir Tom Jones' Heritage Live concert at Audley End House & Gardens
- 7 MP welcomes increase in police officers across Essex
- 8 Dance in the Square heading to Saffron Walden
- 9 Mischief Theatre's The Play That Goes Wrong will have you crying with laughter
- 10 IN PICTURES: Elbow's Heritage Live headline concert at Audley End House and Gardens
In my six years of travelling by plane, my suitcases have never arrived quicker. It was however a big trade-off with how hot you can feel carrying suitcases while wearing a mask.