Essential tips for essential travel

Airplane seats waiting and ready for boarding

Not everyone is ready to get back in the air, but many people still have trips they need to take. Travel is slowly increasing with essential travel leading the way. If you’re in that boat (or plane, actually) there are some things you should know before you go, i.e. essential tips for essential travel.

Most importantly, you should know that the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) has instituted several measures to ensure your security screening experience is as safe and secure as possible.

Wear A Face Covering

People travelling by plane from and within Canada need to bring their face covering. Face coverings need to cover the nose and mouth, be made of at least two layers of tightly-woven fabric (such as cotton or linen) and secured to the head. (Check out Public Health Agency of Canada’s guidelines, including instructions on how to make your mask.)

Use Hand Sanitizer When Out and About

At major airports, hand sanitizing units have been placed by the checkpoints to be used by the public. You can also have one bottle of hand sanitizer up to 355 mL in your carry-on – that is in addition to the 100 mL bottles that fall under the usual liquids’ restrictions. Keeping hands clean is especially important to help prevent the virus from spreading.

Screening Checkpoint at Security

Temperature screening at an airport in Canada

If you’re flying out of one of Canada’s 15 busiest airports, you’ll have your temperature checked when you arrive at the screening checkpoint. You will not be permitted to proceed through screening if your temperature, after two separate tests, is at or above 38⁰C. Note that if you exhibit symptoms of illness such as a cough or difficulty breathing, you will be required to leave the checkpoint.

While in the queue and the screening checkpoint, you must keep two metres between yourself and other passengers. Hold on to your own electronic or printed boarding pass or other documents of entitlement while they are scanned.

Travel Safely

Travel myths abound but the facts are the facts. Aviation is an essential service, ensuring people and goods get to where they need to go, and CATSA has taken every step possible to ensure this happens safely. You can go to their website for more information, or you can download their app for Android or iOS.

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Business Travel in a COVID-19 World

This Post Was Originally Published on the Plus Travel Group Blog on August 4, 2020 by Mark Crone

Business Travel in a COVID-19 World is different. Nothing seems normal in a pandemic and travel is no exception. As the economy reopens and we all move forward, it’s time to travel again. Business needs to travel for a variety of reasons including company growth, customer visits, internal company meetings, etc. I flew with Air Canada from Toronto to Montreal on July 16, 2020. Here is what a business trip looks like right now:

Business Travel in a COVID-19 World – Toronto Pearson Airport

Boarding the plane in a Covid -19 world

There are more people travelling than you might think. On the day I flew, there were 15,000 passengers moving through Toronto Pearson. Airport parking was busy with 2 floors full and several other floors with minimal space. As you walk into the terminal, you will need your mask on. You’ll also be stopped by security to confirm that you are a traveller (only travellers are allowed into the airport). The terminal does not look busy, but travel activity is growing week by week. Toronto Pearson has initiated a “Healthy Airport” program in response to COVID-19. This includes anti-bacterial fogging, UV cleaning technology, enhanced sanitization, and physical distancing measures. As you make your way to check-in, you will notice these measures throughout the terminal.

Check-in and Security

Air Canada Touch Free Check-In Kiosk

Advanced check-in is now more important than ever. If your flight is busy (70% or more), and you prefer to travel on a different flight, you will have an option to change to another flight operating within three days or to the next available flight without additional fees. Touch-free check-in at select airports includes seamless TouchFree Bag Check service. During mobile check-in, select the number of checked bags, print your bag tags from dedicated kiosks, and then drop off your bags at the TouchFree Bag Drop.

You’ll see physical distancing measures in place as you line up for security, with decals every two metres on the floor. As you walk up to security, your temperature will be taken by airport personnel. You now scan your own boarding pass at security and proceed through inspection. Hand sanitization stations are available at security screening and throughout the airport.

Airport Lounges and Pre-Flight

Social Distancing  seats near a gate at Toronto Pearson Airport

If you have access to an Air Canada airport lounge, you’ll be happy to know that they have re-opened. Seating has been readjusted to provide social distancing. Food comes in a snack box and drinks are handed to you by an attendant. There are also washroom attendants. As you make your way to your departure gate, some restaurants are open and seating at the gate has been adjusted with social distancing. There are more people travelling than you would expect but there is still plenty of room for physical distancing throughout the terminal.

Boarding and On the Plane

Selfie of the Author wearing a mask while flying on the plane

The number of boarding zones has increased (8 for my flight). There are fewer travellers in each zone with boarding by window then aisle and from back to front of the plane. At boarding, you’ll show your ID and boarding pass. But you’ll be asked to pull back your mask so that the agent can see your face vs. the picture on your ID. As you board the plane, you’ll be handed the Clean Care Kit (if you are flying Air Canada). The Kit includes a mask, antiseptic wipes, hand sanitizer, gloves, water bottle, a headset, and a snack. Seating is spaced out as much as possible. Given current travel activity, it would be odd to have someone beside you. Announcements on board will always remind you of COVID protocols including wearing your mask over your mouth and nose (unless eating or drinking).

Air Canada Clean Care Kit

At Montreal Airport

There are 3 security entrance points at Montreal Airport. As you enter, you will be required to sanitize your hands and have your temperature taken by infrared thermometer. Virtually every airport, including Montreal, follows updated COVID specific health and safety protocols. You are encouraged to use mobile check-in; you must wear a face mask; physical distancing measures are in place; and enhanced sanitization processes are ongoing.

Business Travel in a COVID-19 World – Summary

With the many biosafety protocols and procedures in place for travel, it quite frankly feels safer to travel than to buy groceries. It felt great to travel again as it seemed to for everyone else on the plane. The travel industry has spent considerable time and effort in developing new procedures to build trust and confidence- and it works! It really is time to travel. And business travel needs to happen to facilitate economic growth. Updated travel guidelines and procedures are the new norm and we are all ready for takeoff!

Flying on an airplane

Feel free to reach out for more information and to inquire about an updated travel program with Plus Travel Group. 

Check out my previous post for more information – Is it the right time to travel again?

Tips for Staying Fit While You Travel

This Post Was Originally Published on the TuGo Travel Blog on July 9, 2019 by Mark Crone

Travelling is very much about breaking your normal routine, but it’s also important to keep up with your fitness and workouts. Whether you’re staying in hotels or higher-altitude spots like towers, leave the elevators behind and climb the stairs instead. Find restaurants within walking distance from your hotel, because a nice walk back to the hotel after a meal always feels great—especially through a park or nearby shoreline. Here are more ideas for staying fit while travelling:

1.Turn airline terminals into walking tracks

In all likelihood, you’ll do plenty of walking at the airport, from checking in, through security, then towards your gate. But rather than just sitting in front of your gate waiting to board the plane, why not explore the airport? You’ll discover shops, restaurants, artwork and more by going on a discovery walk. There’s plenty of time for sitting on the plane, and a walk around the terminal is good exercise (even more so if you’re wearing a Fit Bit!).

2. See the sights on foot

From the magnificent parks of London to the streets of Paris, there’s often no better way to take in the views, scents, and surprises of the local culture than on foot.

While you can find some great guidebooks, maps and apps to help, why not have a local take you on a tour and show you the neighbourhood favorites? On my last trip to Paris, I took a walking tour with Context Travel. Context is a network of specialists and scholars who act as private guides and lead small groups on walking tours through some of the world’s greatest cities. Tours include archaeology, art history, cuisine, history, urban planning, environmental science, and classics. The tour of Marais continued for almost 3 hours and included various stops in a market, a bakery, butcher shop, foie gras shop, cheese shop, wine and Armagnac shop and a chocolatier.

We certainly hit 10,000 steps, even though it didn’t feel like it. Organized walking tours are immersive and well worthwhile to make you feel like a local (and less like a tourist). If you can, take your tour within the first few days of your trip. You’ll get a better feel for the city, culture, local area and the places that you’ll want to return to later.

3. Plan at least one activity everyday

Is the morning full of standing in shops and art museums? After lunch, change it up with some destination-specific activities. If you’re in unfamiliar territory, your concierge will point you in the right direction and to some safe pedestrian routes. Experience what the region is known for. Wanderingthe markets of London, rock climbing in Austria or surfing in Hawaii is a lot more fun than running on a treadmill in your hotel.

You can also book unique fitness outings with Airbnb Experiences. Like walking tours, these are activities led by locals who are passionate about sports, wellness, and getting outdoors—Rappel through East Zion Canyons in Utah, or go on a bike adventure in Toronto. You can get a real taste of the destination by combining a sightseeing tour with a workout!

4. Utilize your hotel amenities

The obvious way to stay fit while travelling is to book hotels or resorts with fitness centers and/or guest passes to nearby gyms. There’s nothing like a workout first thing in the morning, within minutes of waking up. Even doing a short workout is a whole lot better than doing nothing at all. You’ll have worked fitness into each day before your vacation day has even started.

The days of dark, small and ill-equipped hotel gyms are gone. Westin and Fairmont Hotels let you rent or borrow workout gear to hit their gyms or a nearby running route plotted by RunWestin concierges. Indoor cyclists at select Westin locations can even live-stream Peloton classes in a WestinWORKOUT studio. Hilton has Five Feet to Fitness, where select room categories offer a selection of equipment and accessories to do in-room workouts. Of course, you can always book a full-on fitness vacation. Look for yoga retreats with Yogascapes, immersive outdoor getaways with GAdventures, or biking escapades with Interpid Travel.

“Go, fly, roam, travel, voyage, explore, journey, discover, adventure.”


Safe travels,
Mark