There’s a small thrill of excitement in the middle of my chest as the as the dull drone of the engines gets louder and I feel a slight pressure pushing me into the back of my seat. As the view out the window rushes by then drops away and I feel myself get pushed down into the seat, I realise that it has been more than a year since I have been on a plane and left South Australia.
This may have been my longest time away from an airplane (thanks COVID), and I had forgotten how much I loved going somewhere.
It doesn’t matter if it is for work or for holidays, I’ve always enjoyed getting on a plane. There’s a certain potential at the start of a trip – a possibility for interesting things to happen – that is exciting. And, it is different from my normal day-to-day activities.
June long weekend, we flew to Brisbane for a short holiday on the Gold Coast. It was a wonderful short break; we relaxed, walked through rainforest, watched a crocodile eat (at a zoo), and enjoyed the slight cultural differences we noticed in Queensland compared to SA. If felt like we really went somewhere.
Based on how full our flight was, there were a lot of South Australians taking advantage of the Queen’s Birthday holiday to escape the Adelaide winter for the relative warmth of Queensland.
Flying is, of course, a little different these days. At the airport, there are fewer required touchpoints, hand sanitiser everywhere (really, that should probably stay), and everyone is required to wear a mask.
We haven’t been required to wear masks in South Australia, so many South Aussies are not used to having them on for long periods. Frankly, I didn’t think it was that big of a deal. A decent mask should be comfortable, so it is worth the small purchase. You are also allowed to take your mask off while eating or drinking, so your ears get a bit of a break.
The masks do make for some wonderful people watching.
People watching is always a fun activity at an airport. While waiting for my flight or luggage, I like to guess where people are from and why they are travelling. Masks add an interesting new layer. Even after all this time, there are still people can’t seem to wear a mask properly. Are they aware they are wearing it incorrectly, or are they deliberately wearing it wrong? The masks people choose to wear is also interesting. For example, I was surprised that the well-dressed travellers with the expensive-looking luggage were wearing the hospital masks handed out at the airport rather than a cloth mask that complimented their outfit.
Other than the masks and increased focus on cleanliness throughout the airport and the flight, flying is pretty much the same as it was pre-pandemic. There is a mix of routine and novelty. Two-thirds of the passengers ignore the safety briefing, the food smells good but isn’t quite satisfying and for a few blissful hours I am disconnected from the rest of the world.
Meanwhile, out the window the world glides by while I enjoyed the excitement and anticipation of going someplace new.
How much travelling have you done since the pandemic?