With international travel severely locked down thanks to The Bat Kiss, most of us can only dream of flying. Or maybe some would consider flying a nightmare right now, what with the whole lack of social distancing and prospect of breathing in recycled air for hours (even if there are hospital-grade filters, the idea is still off-putting).
While the epicentre of the pandemic has shifted from Asia to the Americas, countries like India, China, Iran and Turkey still have a large number of cases, and you’d have to be pretty brave to be travelling around just for kicks.
YouTuber ‘The Luxury Travel Expert’ recently posted a video of a business class flight they took with Hong Kong-based airline Cathay Dragon from Phnom Penh to Hong Kong in late February. This journey, recorded at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in Asia, is an intriguing insight into how airlines have been handling flying during what’s been one of the most challenging times for the industry in living memory.
Departing from the small but very modern Phnom Penh International Airport, our expert’s flight to Hong Kong only took two hours. One commenter observed how weird it was that “the airport and lounge was pretty chilled given that the pandemic was building up at that time.”
It was interesting to see how Cathay Dragon’s staff were adapting to the pandemic – wearing facemasks, handing out antiseptic towelettes instead of hot towels, and a much slower boarding process than normal.
Otherwise, things weren’t as grim as you might think. A full, decent meal served in normal tableware – hell, you even got a full tub of Häagen-Dazs ice cream! Not bad for a two-hour flight.
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Measures have become more drastic since the video was filmed in February. Since May, Cathay Dragon has required passengers to wear facemasks as well in order to travel, and flights across the world have become far less frequent than normal.
Cathay Dragon, a subsidiary of Cathay Pacific, was one of the first airlines to implement safety measures because of COVID-19 as it flies to many destinations inside China. Australian airlines are no doubt looking to how Asian airlines have dealt with the pandemic now that Asia seems to be recovering quickly compared to other regions. It’ll be interesting to see how the mood then compares to the mood now in airports around Asia, Australia and the world.
It’s cool to see how less scary flighting seems right now. Honestly, the video just makes us wish we could escape the winter weather and have a cheeky little holiday in Asia.