Sunday 13 December 2020

The joy in travelling is on leave

The new state of travel

After 32 hours from door to door so much has changed regarding travel that flying is now just a rudimentary means of get somewhere, all the pleasures and accoutrements completely stripped out. The idea that the journey itself before you got to your destination was part of a rewarding experience is quite far gone.

As a loyal AirFrance-KLM flyer, my journey to Cape Town consisted of 3 legs, it could have been two, but I was not satisfied with the comfort level, the cost was higher and I would have arrived late at night. I travelled Manchester – Paris – Johannesburg – Cape Town with the stopovers in Paris and Johannesburg taking a little over 12 hours together.

Now, whilst the leg of travel between Paris and Johannesburg of almost 11 hours could not have been able to justify it, there was a noticeable difference from when made the same journey a year ago. The flights within the two-hour duration were completely no-frills, all Covid-19 security and safety measures brought to bear. No trolley service, heck, they weren't even hawking their tatty duty-free goods.

The end justified it all

On the European leg, we at least got a cup of water, none of that happened between Johannesburg and Cape Town. If you didn't bring your own sustenance, you had better have done enough to sustain you for the journey. It was a no-touch policy, the cabin crew weren't going to help stuff your unwieldy hand luggage in the overhead cabins and you are not to put anything in the seat pockets behind the seats in front of you.

It is unsettling and the only expectation is at the end of the journey the pleasure of meeting up with loved ones. Business travel will not be exciting and leisure travel is now without the component of leisure. The world has changed around us in ways we could never have anticipated, we progress undeterred, little frustrations paling into insignificance.

Having thankfully and safely arrived at my destination and in the company of Brian, for the little pain, the greater gain is the victory of love. I probably have curbed my excitement and enthusiasm better than him, boy, am I so glad to see him.

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