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Working remotely and communicating with our clients and business partners through video calls has become the new normal, after nearly eight months in lockdown. Which means taking that first business trip flight can feel a little daunting. However the Flight Centre team recently took a management trip to Cape Town and reported that there’s nothing more ‘normal’ than getting back on a plane.

“All that it takes is that first flight to help you shed those pressing concerns and realise that absolutely everything has been done to prioritise your health and safety above all else.”

“The prospect of hopping on a plane for the first time may cause some anxiety, which is understandable considering what we have all been through over the past year. However, all that it takes is that first flight to help you shed those pressing concerns and realise that absolutely everything has been done to prioritise your health and safety above all else,” says Oz Desai, GM Corporate Traveller.

South Africa’s domestic airlines have adopted all of the World Health Organization’s recommended safety protocols – and more. For example, airlines have introduced High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters within their planes, which capture 99% of airborne microbes as they filter the cabin air.

They have also implemented no-touch policies which mean travellers can avoid touching any surfaces until they settle into their seats on the plane. These solutions include:

  • Easy-to-scan mobile or WhatsApp boarding passes
  • Digital downloads of in-flight magazines
  • Elimination of catering on-board

Tips for flying domestically in lockdown level 1

Based on their experience, the Flight Centre team shares the following advice:

1. Arrive at the airport a full 90 minutes before your flight departs, as many of the safety precautions such as temperature screening and answering health-related questionnaires add to the time needed for check-in.

2. If you are driving yourself to the airport and parking there, give yourself an extra 30 minutes to find long-term parking. On this note: ACSA (Airports Company South Africa) has reshuffled all available short- and long-term parking since lockdown restrictions were lifted, so your ‘usual’ spot may no longer be one you can use. Complaints have been made that there is minimal signage placed to indicate this change – which has resulted in many travellers being slapped with hefty parking tickets costing thousands of rand. So spending a little extra time to find the right parking spot could really pay off!

3. Better yet, get dropped off at the airport. Transfer services are a convenient solution, or you can catch an Uber.

4. Be aware that most business lounges are still closed. However some coffee shops and restaurants are up and running and provide a comfortable spot to get work done. Just check beforehand which are open, so you can go directly there.

5. Remember that you will be required to wear a mask at all times, so make sure you have one that fits comfortably.

6. You will need to print out a health declaration document before arriving at the airport, which you must complete on arrival at your destination. (Return flight passengers will therefore require two copies.) You can find the document here.