Food and Travel

Finally, I’m Home! My First Flight Experience Since the Lockdown

In a typical year, the “ber” months signal a few things. People are rushing to buy gifts. We find it hard to commute especially when living in highly-dense cities like Cebu. Traffic flow becomes heavier. Christmas music is heard everywhere, and all are busy with the upcoming parties. In a typical year, those who are not city residents like me would be double-taking at the calendars, planning our vacation leave ahead. It’s the time of the month we realize that we already need to book our flights to visit our family back home before the airline ticket prices skyrocket! However, year 2020 is not a typical year. At first, I thought that I won’t be home this Christmas. Fortunately, domestic flights are already available and you can avail of it only if you are willing to go through the process. It’s not easy, but never impossible. In this post I’m going to share my first flight experience since the lockdown –  a flight back to my hometown, Gensan.

first flight experience since the lockdown

Make Sure You’re All Set!

It is fortunate for us that the government has lifted the lockdown restrictions. Thus, airlines and airports across the Philippines have now been allowed to resume operations. Well of course, with stringent measures in place. Before, you can book your flight anytime and arrive at the airport with no hassle. The only concern you would have is not to be late or else, you will miss your flight. But everything has changed since the pandemic began. A single flight will require us weeks of preparations, and passengers have to abide by all the procedures if they wish to fly anytime soon.

Requirements include, but are not limited to, medical certificate, travel authority, letter of acceptance from LGU of destination, and even negative RT-PCR result. I have shared in this post my experience of getting a free swab testing at VSMMC in Cebu City. So, I made sure that everything was set before I headed to the airport that day.

Almost Empty Airport

Eerie. It was a surreal experience when I first walked into MCIA to see what resembled a ghost town. The same check-in procedure was followed, only that they asked for additional documents such as the negative swab test result. After the security, the ghost-town vibes heightened. Boarding gates and most of the shops were closed, and you can only see few people walking around. Lights were off at some areas. Thankfully, Dunkin Donuts was serving coffee!

However, that didn’t bother me at all because I was with some friends who were also going home for the holidays. We walked around for a little, and I remember myself marveling at the fact that I was inside MCIA again after a long time.

I savored the moment, because not everyone is given opportunities to be there – to fly again. I was grateful. Even till now, I am.

Moreover, if everything will be back to normal, I will never see this quietness at MCIA again. So, I lived at the moment.

Getting Back Up in the Air | First Flight Experience Since the Lockdown

Once we got on board, I noticed that the plane was almost full. No wonder because flights to Gensan, which was once done everyday, are now down to once a week. We were required to wear mask and face shield the whole time, and queuing for the toilet was strictly prohibited. If you wish to use the lavatory, you have to raise your hand so the attendant can accommodate you.

It was only an hour-flight, and I managed to entertain myself while I was up in the air. I took the window seat and had no one beside me even though the flight was almost full. After the landing, the flight attendants asked us to stay seated until the row in front had gathered their luggage and exited safely. It was like a graduation rite. We finally graduated from the plane (haha). Everyone was compliant, thankfully!

Getting Cleared at Gensan Airport

After getting off the plane, we lined up to wash our hands before entering the Gensan airport.

I tell you getting cleared at Gensan airport is a different story. The line getting yourself cleared required us a lot of patience. We arrived there almost lunch time, and only got ourselves cleared 3 hours after.

If you didn’t have your breakfast prior the flight, you were unlucky because you had to endure the long hours of waiting. Arriving at Gensan even when we had our negative swab test result would still require us a 14-day quarantine. All the passengers have to be cleared first before we were delivered to the quarantine facility.

Nevertheless, we survived that day, and now we are on our 3rd day of quarantine in the facility. Meals are given three times a day by the government. Family and friends are also free to hand us food anytime they want. Food Panda delivery service is also available with a few clicks away.

Bottom Line

My first flight experience since the lockdown was less stressful than I thought. The airports and airplanes were the cleanest and personnel are making sure that safety protocols are followed. I’m not concerned about getting back on planes in the coming weeks. The bottom line – it was great to be back up in the sky!

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December 5, 2020 11:57 pm

I can imagine what you’re saying about the airport looking like a ghost town. It’s good that the flights are now okay and yes, strict protocols must be followed. I read that 80% are probably asymptomatic, which makes it really tricky for all of us to be in public bec if we fall into the 20%, we don’t want to get infected, and if we’re in the majority, we don’t want to cause anyone to get sick.

December 5, 2020 11:36 am

I havent traveled all pandemic.Im glad you had safe travels.

Kuntala Bhattacharya
Kuntala Bhattacharya
December 5, 2020 2:57 am

Understand its different now to travel in flights. I have heard from many of my friends and colleagues. One says that its tough to wear all the gears and sit long hours inside the flight. And then the wait. But after all safety issues are important.

December 4, 2020 2:18 pm

Glad you made it home safely. It’s a bit challenging to travel during these times.

Nicole Anderson
December 4, 2020 12:24 pm

We are indeed living in such different times now! It was so interesting to read your experience flying in the Philippines. The aviation authorities certainly have developed a strict routine to keep everyone as safe as possible in the circumstances. I was surprised to read about the 3 hour wait until you were transported to quarantine but I guess it is always better to be more cautious. I hope your quarantine goes smoothly and that we can all benefit from an effective vaccine soon.

December 4, 2020 5:09 am

A ton of people flew this Thanksgiving here in the States. From what I saw on the news, your airport experience was safer.

December 4, 2020 1:30 am

I can’t wait to get back out there and travel with the family. It’s not nearly as safe to do that here in the States as it was for you. I’m still eager to start traveling again, though.

December 4, 2020 1:22 am

It sounds like they’re doing all they can to keep everything safe for passengers. I think that’s the most important thing.

December 3, 2020 9:56 pm

Great to read about your experience. Sounds like all went smoothly. 🙂 Can’t wait to get travelling again!

Bong G
Bong G
December 2, 2020 9:19 am

thanks for sharing. Travel by plane in this pandemic is not that stressful as i thought. i have been there too!

Bible Verse of the Day

Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin.

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