After nearly three months of lockdown, and the ever present uncertainty of the future, government made the decision to allow domestic travel for business between Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town. A few carriers took to the skies early in June and our CEO, Morne du Preez managed to get onto one of them.
Who better to experience the “new normal” in travel, with all the new regulations and procedures, than someone with millions of miles under his proverbial travel belt! Our CEO was best placed to lookout for any gaps in the current procedures as well as to provide expert tips picked up on this mini-adventure. Here is a snippet of his day.
“We arrived at OR Tambo International airport, and made our way to parking level two where the drop off takes place. This was my first experience of a slight queue but all went relatively quickly.
Boarding the flight was slower than usual, and understandably so. In order to ensure that social distancing was maintained, Safair crew boarded the aircraft two rows at a time, starting from the back. Where it was possible (based on availability), passengers were seated apart with an empty seat between them. Naturally, this will not be the case on a full flight. Part of the protocol is for all travellers to wear a mask at all times and this is maintained on board too! There is no food or beverages served on board, so there is no reason to remove the mask.
On arrival in Durban, I proceeded to Europcar. Everything was spotless with regular sanitizing taking place. Everything was prepared ahead of time and the keys to my vehicle were first sanitized and then handed over the counter by means of a napkin. The vehicles are all sanitized before and after each rental.
I arrived at the AHA Gateway Hotel in Umhlanga and after a quick screening on entering the hotel, I was able to check-in. It was comforting to note that each room door was sealed with a sticker covering the key card mechanism which I had to remove prior to using my key card. This is done to ensure each guest that the room has been sanitized and no one has entered the room before you. All magazines and TV guides have been removed from all the rooms and only room service, with disposable utensils is allowed at this stage. Nicely done AHA!
All the suppliers that I booked with have taken all the necessary precautions and followed all the required protocols to ensure traveller safety is a top priority.
A few top tips for all those wanting to travel:
Expect a bottle neck at the airport as you enter the building. This is due to the screening taking place at the entrance.
Try and complete your forms prior to arriving at the airport. If you are using Travelit for your bookings, the system pre-populates the forms for you so you will only need to print and sign.
WEAR A MASK
Since you are probably going to have to wear your mask for an extended period of time, ensure you have a comfortable (yet compliant) mask.
CARRY SOME CASH
R10 will do – for the tollgate you encounter when you exit the airport in Durban. This way, you don’t need to hand over your card to be swiped.
TAKE A SNACK
As no food or beverages are served on board, take a few small snacks with you.
Overall, the experience was not as daunting as the perceived expectations that are being portrayed. I believe we are ready to travel!”
Morne du Preez – CEO of Tourvest Travel Services
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