Travel is Back – Kind Of
Just got back from a lovely trip down to Puerto Vallarta, only my second travel adventures since the pandemic hit in spring. When the new Covid-19 testing pilot program was announced by WestJet, Calgary Airport, Health Canada the Alberta Government, I immediately booked flights to Puerto Vallarta for fall break. The accommodations for the trip were booked in March when I had to push out the reservation 7 months hoping to make it work around the Remembrance Day break. Basically, the stars aligned and I jumped.
Seeing bookings quickly increasing, and not wanting to take the risk with standby travel, I elected for our employee 50% confirmed travel tickets. As the date neared, I started researching the pandemic travel implications both enroute and at the resort in Mexico and I was pleasantly surprised. EVERYONE is as taking this really seriously but doing EVERYTHING possible to spark the travel industry.
As departure day arrived, I was full of confidence and the journey began. Flights would be through YYC (Calgary) so the day would be much longer than if I was able to get direct flights but I was on the way and that was all that mattered. Leaving the house at 0500, the driveway was clear and a light rain was starting to fall. By the time I arrived at the airport the rain had turned to snow grains and Edmonton’s first blizzard of the season was quickly engulfing the airport. As the flight took off large flakes were falling and the ground was covered. The transfer in YYC was very smooth. The airports have really stepped up their game with health and safety concerns addressed at every turn. Masks on EVERYONE, temperature checks at security, socially distancing monitors on patrol carefully spacing out folks in the cues and even Starbucks opened again for a much needed latte.
At the gate, folks were separated with many chairs blocked off and people generally giving each other plenty of room. The boarding process began with the typical rush of people eager to embark their journey but gate agents doing their best to manage the rush and proving a touch less checkin with boarding passes scanned and documents checked without anything changing hands. A friendly WestJet flight attendant met everyone with a large smile, hidden of course behind a mask, and Lysol wipe for us to wipe down our seats. Since this was the first flight of the day, the airplane was impeccably clean obviously having been deep cleaned over the night to great passengers with a safe environment.
The journey continued in much the same way with the entire WestJet team proving a wonderful travel experience. Arriving in Puerto Vallarta, the airport was clean and more