MADE BY MEMBERS • August 2021
Bronze Member Nicola Kerr is a preschool teacher currently living in Windermere, Florida. As travel opens up around the world, we track her first flight back to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland, with us and our joint business partner American Airlines. Take it away, Nicola…
Finally, after two long years, the wait is over. Cases packed and with a negative pre-flight Covid-19 test, I make my way to Orlando International Airport. Excitement is brimming, along with a little trepidation about new procedures like mask-wearing on such a long flight. I needn’t worry. Our check-in agent is charming and, before I know it, we are through security and enjoying a drink in the American Airlines Admirals lounge.
After boarding our (almost full) flight to Miami, with everyone wearing masks and being offered packs of sanitising wipes, there’s a meagre delay as the typical Floridian summer storms cause disruption to arrivals at Miami International Airport. Normally, I wouldn’t give this a second thought, but my onward flight to London Heathrow is a relatively tight connection.
Landing at Miami at 20:10, with my Heathrow flight set to depart at 20:45, means a very brisk walk to the departure gate. New UK regulations mean British Airways staff need to see paperwork that proves we’d booked day two and day eight tests upon arrival, as well as the required passenger locator form. The colleagues are kind, polite and helpful, and, before I know it, it’s time to get on board.
I almost cry as we take off from Miami. It feels almost surreal that this is finally happening. The flight is fairly empty, in line with travel rules for late June. The cabin crew are attentive and friendly, and I find it easy to wear a mask because the air conditioning system with HEPA filters on board keeps the cabin air cool and fresh. Dinner is chicken in a white wine sauce, and everyone does a great job of minimising time without a mask. Then the cabin lights dim and it’s time to sleep. I normally watch movies on the in-flight entertainment, but this time I decide to help my inevitable jet lag and sleep until breakfast – a warm filled croissant plus coffee and orange juice. Perfect!
We land at Heathrow. Passport control is a breeze, and passenger locator forms are checked again. And then it’s a safe masked ride to a pre-booked Airbnb in central London and our ten-day quarantine. The day two and day eight tests arrive conveniently and phone calls are made to my mobile phone from the test providers to check we are doing OK. I order plenty of takeaway food directly to the flat and a lot of TV is watched!
At last, the final part of the journey arrives. Tests come back negative, quarantine is over and we hop back to Heathrow. I say farewell to London and, as I walk under the Union Jack lights into the airport, I can’t wait for British Airways to take me home to Glasgow. After an easy bag drop process, we head to the Terminal 5 Galleries South Lounge (my husband is in Silver tier). It’s encouraging to see it’s fairly busy, but everyone is wearing masks and ordering from their table. The lounge staff bring me my yummy sandwiches and a glass of bubbly.
I sit back and think how happy I am to be back travelling again. Thank you, British Airways – I’m finally able to go home and see friends and family.