After months of lockdown, just seeing a row of plane seats on a flight from London Gatwick to Ibiza was exciting.
Many of us have felt the pull of wanderlust as we were itching to take to the skies once again.
Restrictions have eased slightly and there are some countries you can travel to, but you might still be unsure about what it’s like to go abroad again.
TUI is one of the travel firms that resumed operations in July, a few weeks after easyJet flights resumed back in June.
The travel operator is running a limited number of flights and holiday packages to the Balearic and Canary islands including Ibiza, Lanzarote, Palma in Mallorca and Tenerife.
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Towards the end of July, they plan to add other Spanish summer hotspots including Malaga, Alicante, Menorca and Gran Canaria.
Holidays to Greek islands including Crete, Zanta, Koz, Rhodes and Corfu will also be added.
From 1 August, TUI will be offering flights from nine more UK airports, flying to 24 destinations.
So if you’ve felt adventurous and booked a flight to sunnier weather elsewhere, here’s what you can expect.
As with flying before the pandemic, the checking in process is still the same; you can check-in online from 24 hours before departure or at the airport, depending on your airline.
But to reduce queueing and to ensure social distancing TUI encourages online check-in.
There are also a limited number of in-person check-in desks available at the airport for those who aren’t able to check-in online.
Before you land you’ll also need to fill out a passenger locator form detailing where you’ll be staying to help manage and track coronavirus cases.
Not all countries require it but you can check with your operator if you are unsure.
On the way back you’ll also need to fill out a passenger locator form 48 hours before arrival, even if you live in the U.K.
You’ll need to wear a face mask as you travel through the airport and follow floor markings where necessary.
Other than a few changes, the airport travel experience is still similar to pre-pandemic, however it’s a lot quieter and many shops, cafes and restaurants in the airport may be closed.
On board the flight, you’ll need to keep a mask on the whole time if you’re aged six and above.
Make sure you pack enough masks to be able to change it every four hours.
TUI doesn’t offer face masks on board but some of their hotels do if you’re booking as part of a package.
Cabin crew will try to minimise the number of interactions with passengers so don’t be surprised if you don’t see them walking through the plane as much. You can still alert them if you have any issues.
All onboard staff will also be in PPE and offer the safety instructions in their kit too.
Staff won’t be able to help you store overhead luggage so make sure to have suitcases and bags that fit within overhead compartments.
Food and drink will be available on TUI flights but contactless methods of payment are preferred.
Once you land in your TUI destination, you can expect changes too.
Most places are a shell of their former tourist glory, Ibiza included. You’ll still find some bars and clubs open, but it’s far from the party island image it’s known for.
The Balearic island makes up 90% of its economy from tourism and as airlines are opening up flights, there are hopes it can go back to what it once was.
But the experts in the industry are under no illusion that the travel landscape will just go back to what it was like before lockdown.
Ricardo Muñoz, commercial and marketing director at Tui Blue Aura – one of the hotels that TUI guests can stay at as a package holiday – sums it up best.
He tells Metro.co.uk: ‘This is not a summer to get rich, it’s a summer to bring confidence back.’
If you do book a package holiday, your experience of the hotel is pretty much the same as the airport – you’re expected to wear your face masks when in public, there are compulsory hand sanitiser stations, and your temperature is taken before entering certain areas including restaurants.
And while the buffet is a much-loved staple of many holidays, you can now expect to walk around the restaurant (while wearing a mask) and point to all the food items you want instead of helping yourself.
As of 13 July, everyone in the Balearics must wear a face covering while they’re out and about except for at the beach, the pool, or while eating. Failure to comply can result in fines between €100 (£90) to €6,000 (£5,400).
Most restaurants have also removed paper menus and instead offer a QR code that can be scanned with your smartphone camera to pull up the menu on your phone.
Facilities such as gyms, spas, restaurants, and other entertainment venues will allow fewer people inside at one time.
At Tui Blue Aura, the waterpark allows 150 people rather than the 250 it normally allows, and the kids club is open to 10 kids at a time instead of 30. At the gym, you can only have five people per session.
There are cleaning times between each interval and sun loungers and pool ladders are disinfected regularly.
You’re also not allowed to move furniture yourself which is to prevent people from sitting too close.
Bear in mind that you’ll be considered one party with the people you travel with, regardless of whether you live in the same household while in the UK.
Where to stay in Ibiza
With many restaurants, and entertainments currently unavailable, a package holiday may be ideal as they offer many services within the hotels.
TUI Blue For Families is offering seven nights on an all-inclusive basis at the 4T TUI Blue Aura in Port des Torrents, which can range from £502 in October to £576 in July, per person based on two adults and two children sharing and including one free child place.
TUI Platinum is offering seven nights on bed and breakfast at the 4T Ibiza Twiins in Playa d’en Bossa, from £770 per person based on two adults sharing. Half board and all-inclusive options are available.
The price can range depending on month, from £627 in July, £770 in August, £741 in September, and £513 in October.
TUI package holidays also include Covid-19 cover (which works alongside personal health insurance).
The cover offers overseas testing for suspected cases, medical assistance if a customer contracts COVID-19 while on holiday.
It will also include costs associated with an extended stay and a new return flight home if customers are asked to self-isolate while on holiday.
Check the TUI website for more information.
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