The Airport – Part Two
This is the part that gives me the most anxiety, officials, paperwork and systems that don’t often talk to each other.
I have worked in the IT industry for many many years and I know first hand where you get officials doing it all by the book and a system that tells them the wrong thing – you don’t have a chance.
What I have:
- My luggage
- Passports x2 (Valid)
- Tickets – printed
- Paid seat evidence – printed
- Negative Covid test evidence – certificate – printed
- Printout of my border force exemption (even though they say they dont require it)
- UK locator form QR plus details – printed
- UK Covid test receipt and details – printed
- An Australian vaccination certificate (for what it’s worth – both jabs (in the 10% of All Aussies done to date – 17th July 2021)
The airport – Sydney Kingsford Smith International
Saturday morning at 11:15 am I arrive at Sydney International Airport, I arrive early for check-in just in case.
Gladys has just announce a raft of new measures for Sydney including locking down a number of LGAs for all but non essential workers.
The airport is eerily quiet, a smattering of people wander around and feels quite apocalyptic and half expect to have to drop everything and have to run from zombies.
Face masks are obviously mandatory and hand sanitiser is everywhere – airport staff outnumber passengers at this point in time by 2:1.
I wander up to singapore airport check-in where a lady is setting up for the day, she explains where I will need to queue and it opens at 12pm.
I wait for a while and listen to a group of concerned airport staff talk about the new LGA measures, are they essential workers? They all appear quite confused about what this means for them as they obviously live in those areas.
See video below the whole post to what it is like.
You can see there are not many flights listed on the board…
The airline check-in (Singapore Airlines) during Covid
The queue is short when I check-in, maybe 15, 20 people and about 5 staff working the desks.
The staff ask you in the queue if you have an exemption to travel and if you can get your documentation out ready to check.
Before you get to the counter you have to show your Covid test certificate, passport and your temperature is taken – I highly recommend printing ALL your documents to make your life easier (and theirs).
The staff are all friendly and helpful and appear have smiles under their masks.
When you are at the desk they call to Border Force to check your exemption, so if you don’t have it then you are going to be disappointed.
They also recheck the Covid clearance and if you are going to the UK check you have the necessary QR code that comes with your passenger locator form – again print it out so they can see it and you don’t want people touching your phones.
I had no issues at all, I was concerned that due getting an Aussie passport after I had submitted the request for exemption they would not be linked up but they were – awesome.
Airport security and passport control during Covid
Going through airport security and passport control was the fastest I have ever been through. There were two ladies on the counter and very few people in the queue… super fast and easy.
Security and scanning was the same process as ever with fewer people in the way, so was all done in 5 mins.
Waiting for departure during Covid
Once I was cleared in the main Sydney airport departure lounge I went for a wander to see what was open… and wow, not much, even Mcdonalds was shut!
I took a few videos and photos to show the extent of a highly restricted trade environment looks like so you get the idea.
You can buy some duty free, and there is a couple of coffee shops open along with WH Smiths.
Now if you want a beer, wine etc there is only one place I found is is opposite the main McDonalds and you pay a pretty penny for it!
Food is premade rolls, sandwiches etc at standard airport prices.
On the plane – First leg
Boarding the plane took no time, there were very few passengers on my first leg, maybe 20 in my cabin and I had a row to myself.
Masks are mandatory the entire journey apart from when you eat or drink, and are provided along with hand sanitiser and alcohol wipes.
I found the elastic hurts your ears after a while, so maybe take one that you know you can tolerate for long periods.
The food was link any other lane food I have had before, no big changes there and the get it to you as soon as you are airborne.
Staff are polite and offer drinks without any hesitation if you fancy a couple.
Transiting Singapore Airport during Covid
Singapore is wrapped in plastic – see photos. Staff are friendly and head to toe in PPE, way more than Sydney.
You have to stand in line and get coloured wristbands as you disembark, you are then taken by escort to your correct zone.
They have a temperature camera to check for abnormalities as you go and again masks are mandatory.
The lounge is quite large with a bunch of covid space chairs and quite a few people in it transiting, way more than I saw in Sydney.
Apparently you can order food in but I didn’t see many people doing that. There is a kind of food and drink trolly setup that offers the bare minimum but you can get a beer or soft drink.
Getting on to the connecting flight was a bit of a debacle, they call you flight and then everyone loosely huddles around the middle of the lounge not sure exactly what to do.
They eventually form you in to lines and you go through a ticket check and security check before going in the the next holding lounge.
Once the plane is ready to board its works as normal, based on ticket, seat priority.
On the plane – Second leg
The second leg was busier than the first with a lot more people booked on, and I expect this is because Singapore is a central transit point in Asia with “Green” status for the UK and others.
I didn’t get a full row to myself this time, but it wasn’t an issue.
Nothing much varied in this flights apart from you got fed at the beginning and the end. However on both flights they did run out of one food option by the time they got to me on both flights.
Arriving in London Heathrow
London Heathrow was a bit busier than I expected but certainly not as busy as it should be on a Sunday. Everything was social distanced and there were sanitising stations everywhere as you would expect.
This was pretty much just the flight I was on, so not too many people in the queue and it moved pretty quickly.
You will need your passport, your Covid test results, the QR and locator form plus evidence that you have got a test arranged or ordered.
I suggest bringing these in printed form as they ask for them…
See image the official image below.
By the time I had got out of passport control my luggage was off the carrousel ad waiting for me to collect, never have I collected it so fast.
A quick stroll out of the empty customs area and I was free, no more checks or any officials and with a good friend of mine waiting to take me back to my parents house.
All in all it was a strange trip, full of sanitisation, masks and checks. It hasn’t as unpleasant as the media have portrayed it in some stories, but If I didn’t have to do it I wouldn’t have done during Covid.
My Covid test is already here waiting for me at my dads and will be done first thing Monday (they say to do it on a weekday). I will wait for the results before going and seeing my family, better to be safe than sorry for everyone’s sake.
The UK is going through a massive surge in cases at the moment and it will be interesting to see how life compares to Australia.
My mums current situation remains the same and I am hoping to get to see her as soon as I am Covid cleared – time to get her fixed up!