Be still my beating heart. No, I’m not lovestruck. I am about to get on a plane


Am I so excited to get on a plane again?

After a catalogue of medical oopsy-daisies and the dreaded Covid lurgy-lockdown, my wife and I board the big silver bird soon. For me, the first time in 20 months. Love Malta as I do, you can carpet it in an afternoon. I have increasingly felt like Dustin Hoffman or Steve McQueen in Papillon, waiting to jump off a cliff with a net bag full of coconut shells to drift away to somewhere new.

I really don’t know what to expect at the departing or arriving airports. It appears things are totally random. When my wife flew to the USA earlier this month the words Covid or vaccination were never uttered in Washington DC, yet as she flew out of Frankfurt she was made to feel she should be hermetically sealed and vacuum packed. We have friends who have been grilled with more questions than a debrief of a defecting spy, while others drifted through without ever producing a vaccine certificate. As usual there is no consistency or joined up writing between what various health ministries decree and what happens on the ground

...and another thing

Of course I shall have to wear a mask on the plane where there is at least some segregation and an air conditioning system, but at some arrivals, passengers from every departure country will be herded like sheep in pens, with no distancing rules and non compulsory mask wearing. Go figure.

So what does a post Covid flight entail? Are the nuts that go with drinks handed out by tweezers? Is loo-paper wrapped in separate bags by the sheet? On the safety briefing do I have to disinfect the oxygen mask that falls from the ceiling in emergencies before I can use it?  God knows how many times I need to wipe my passport?

...and another thing

However, there may be opportunities to improve my journey. I can insist that the child in the seat behind me whose feet are performing a drum solo on the back of my chair is not socially distanced. Perhaps he might like to play outside? Or if a beached whale squishes into the seat next to me, I could tell the steward that something is wrong with my food and drink as I cannot taste anything. Follow up with a deep cough. I suspect the passenger concertinaed between the two armrests will look for another seat to swim to?

Same as standing in the passport queue. Start snuffling and sniffling and let out a couple coughs and you will be more ostracised than if Pablo Escobar was in that lane.

The truth is I just need a change of scenery and I am so grateful to seize the chance. Let you know the reality later.

Stay safe.

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