Flying overseas right now is still a freaky thought for many Australians. Though we’re now able to leave the country, it’s still not on many people’s radars to actually do it. Why? We’re worried about insurance (or, at least, the potential complexities around it), how catching COVID (or getting stuck overseas because of COVID) affects your annual leave, and the inevitable question: “Why risk getting stuck with flight credit and getting burned on cancelled hotel bookings when I could just book one more year of holidays at home and return to overseas travel when it goes mainstream again?”
But what is it like to travel abroad right now? Surely some people are doing it. You’re right: they are. One such person, creative director, author and stylist Jeff Lack today set off to New York (via LA) from Sydney, flying with Delta. He sent DMARGE some footage of what it was like, noting some people are still wearing hazmat suits, and telling us the hundreds of dollars he spent on an exit row seat turned out to be a bit pointless (as the flight was sparse).
Jeff also recently spoke with DMARGE (after a trip to Fiji in late 2021) to share some more observations on what it’s like to fly overseas from Australia right now.
He said it wasn’t that much harder than pre COVID times. You just have to be a bit more organised, he told us. You can’t be a “flippant traveller” anymore.
Jeff said the first thing that’s different is you “have to be double vaxxed – you did need that to book your flight.” So that’s the first hoop to jump through. Then, Jeff told us, “you needed to have a bunch of paperwork – entry visa required for where you were staying, a proof of a clean PCR [he told us there is a good set up in the airport for this which turned his results around in 30 minutes for $79] and then it was through and normal.”
“It wasn’t difficult at all.”
The main difference to pre 2020 travel was “getting the test” and “just being organised” Jeff said. “We were really lucky in the past to have such ease of travel. It reminded me of post 911 – wasn’t that level of caution but it was similar. You knew you had to be considered and thoughtful in your approach.”
Video: Passengers Wearing Hazmat Suits At Sydney Airport
Jeff also told us that it was great to see “the joy in the faces of the people working in airline industry and resorts.”
“It was wild – the first Virgin International flight in close to two years. They were so happy even though the plane was three quarters full on the way over and half full on the way back. It was really cool to be part of it.”
Jeff also said it was great to get back out there and get a stamp in the passport.
“I’ve been travelling internationally for 20 years and 2019 I had two trips – one to Japan and one to New Zealand – and in 2020 I missed it.”
If you, too, are missing overseas travel, hopefully this article will give you a bit of an idea about what it might be like the next time you step on an overseas-bound plane.