How COVID-19 Changed Air Travel for Good

airplanes parked at the airport
Photo by Ahmed Muntasir on Pexels.com

Before COVID-19, airports worldwide were buzzing with activity, with one flight after another taking off to an exciting destination. Families went on vacations together, and friends planned annual summer trips, sometimes flying to the other side of the world.

Everything changed when COVID-19 happened. Suddenly, airports were shut down, and airline companies had to park their planes and keep them inside hangars. Everyone had to stay at home.

Even if things have eased up a bit after three years, things aren’t really back to normal. There is some level of normalcy, but COVID-19 protocols are still very much around. The rules may no longer be as strict as when air travel first reopened, but some changes need getting used to – for both the travellers and the airline industry. After all, the pandemic is still here – and it probably will be for a long time.

Airline companies have gradually started operating again, but things are not how they used to be as certain changes have had to be made in the global aviation industry. Commercial airlines are back in business, but for those who have the financial capability, the best option is to charter private plane services wherever they have to go.

Whether you take a commercial airline or charter a private plane, certain changes in air travel may be around for good – or at least for several years. Fortunately, with the current positive developments in the COVID-19 situation, some of these changes may be welcome news for you and other travellers. 

Changes in Air Travel Post-Pandemic

1. Pre-travel information for travellers coming into the U.S. and those travelling to other countries. 

If you are travelling to international destinations, it is your responsibility to get information about COVID-19 protocols and related recommendations, including those coming from the U.S. State Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The said government agencies may have firmer rules and warnings for some countries, especially those with high numbers of COVID-positive individuals.

Similarly, you also need information from authorities in other countries you are travelling to. Requirements and restrictions vary according to the current COVID-19 status of the destination you are headed for.

2. Face masks are no longer mandatory in many countries.

Woman putting on a face mask
Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

Masks are a sensitive issue for many travellers, with over 5,700 reports of passengers displaying disruptive, violent behaviour while on the plane, mostly because of disputes about wearing a mask. This will no longer be a problem, however, as U.S. authorities recently announced that face masks are no longer necessary for airline travel.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) have also dropped the mandatory wearing of face masks in airlines and airports. Both authorities, however, still recognize that wearing face masks is still one of the most effective and easiest ways to protect oneself from the COVID-19 virus.

However, passengers who are sneezing and coughing are highly encouraged to wear face masks at all times during their travel. Vulnerable passengers must wear high-protection masks, such as KN95, N95, or FFP2.

The rules for face masks vary from one airline to another, specifically those travelling to destinations where mask-wearing is still a strict requirement.

3. COVID-19 vaccination

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC no longer requires travellers from foreign countries to submit a proof of negative COVID-19 test or documentation of recovery before going onboard their flight. This took effect on June 12, 2022, at 12:01 AM ET.

However, the CDC will continue with its periodical assessment of the need for testing, particularly when there are new COVID-19 variants. Since the virus continues to evolve, the CDC will implement full health and safety measures to protect the public when the situation calls for it.

While COVID-19 tests and recovery documents are no longer necessary, authorities still require non-citizen, non-immigrant travellers entering the U.S. to present proof of vaccination against the virus.

4. Change in booking behaviour

Although the number of bookings continues to increase, airline representatives still notice some hesitation on the part of travellers. Many now prefer to book their flights or buy tickets at later dates, sometimes even one day before their chosen departure date. Planning flights months ahead is considered by many as too risky with all the uncertainties of the pandemic.  

5. Budget airlines

Several low-cost airlines did quite well during the pandemic, and some new ones have even launched their services quite recently. While these flights are nothing like the business class types that sell for thousands of dollars, there are reasonable enough alternatives for travellers who need to travel on a budget, especially now that airline fares continue to shoot up.

Most budget airlines travel U.S. and European routes and allow the affordable purchase of one-way tickets. Amenities, such as in-flight meals, may not be available for all flights.

Aside from low-cost airlines in the U.S., travellers may also want to check out budget airlines in Tokyo and the Dominican Republic. Travellers looking for new destinations to visit may also find budget airlines interesting.

6. More travellers prefer private jets.

Private jets at an airport
Photo by Asad Photo Maldives on Pexels.com

When airports reopened after the long lockdown, the private jet industry thrived because they became the preferred means of air travel by many. Private jets weren’t a new thing for the rich and moneyed, but they were for those who were used to saving so they could travel. Many of these travellers didn’t have the money to charter a private plane, but they still preferred it overriding a commercial airline and risking their health and safety.

Even with most pandemic restrictions already lifted, there are now significantly more private jet travellers. As of January 2022, there is a 40% increase in take-offs and landings in 2021 compared to 2019.

It is safe to say that flights to nowhere will be around for a while, though not all airline companies will adopt the concept.

7. New technologies

Even if millions of people have already been vaccinated against COVID-19, and even if face mask use is no longer strictly implemented, authorities will continue to explore new technologies that ensure the safety of travellers and airlines.

Airline companies will continue to offer contactless check-ins and various virtual services. Travellers will continue to look for safer alternatives for services and amenities they’ve been availing of even before the pandemic. More and more people now prefer to book their flights online. Financially-stable families would rather travel on private charter jets than on commercial airlines.

Long after the COVID-19 pandemic has ended, new technologies that ensure everyone’s safety will continue to emerge.

Regardless of where you are flying from, where you are going, or what airline you are flying with, expect changes to welcome you. After all, the travel industry is always changing and evolving, especially at a challenging time like the COVID-19 pandemic.

About the Author:

Melissa Hull is the Content Marketing Strategist for Aviation Charters, a West Trenton, New Jersey-based private aviation company that provides on-demand aircraft charter, aircraft management, and aircraft acquisition services. Aside from her passion for writing, she loves to travel and read espionage books.

How to Experience Vancouver like a Local

A view of the city of Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Depending on who you ask, Vancouver can be many things—an incredible hike, mesmerizing street art, unforgettable night downtown, coffee on the go, a splendid dish of ramen, etc. One thing is for sure, Vancouver is worth visiting. But, you already know that—that is why you are here reading this article. However, what you don’t know is how to experience Vancouver like a local, right? 

It doesn’t matter whether you just moved to Vancouver or whether you are just planning a two-day trip to this Canadian town—you can experience it like a local. You just have to do what locals do! We will help you out with that, without a doubt. Thus, before you put on your walking shoes, give this article a read—it is full of tips on how to experience local like a pro. 

Getting Around Vancouver 

Vancouver has the best of both worlds—a metropolitan city vibe and a breathtaking nature. So, it just goes without saying that it is here, in Vancouver, where you can experience the true spirit of Canada! But, in order for you to do that, first, you have to find a way to get around this gigantic city. If you ask the locals, they will tell you to either come with your own car or rent one as soon as you arrive. 

However, even though a car is the best way to experience Vancouver like a local, it is also the most expensive way. So, if you don’t want to overspend, you can turn to other transportation options (which are also used by the locals). For instance, you can take the bus or the Skytrain, or, if the weather is nice, you can rent a bike or a Mobi bike. Don’t run away from bikes—you can explore the entire city on them, just follow the bike lanes!

 

A woman riding a bike.
Riding a bike may be your best way to experience Vancouver like a local

Eat Where Locals Eat 

No trip is complete without trying out the local food and drinks. So, again, if you want to experience Vancouver like a local, this is something you have to do. And, don’t worry, even if you are the pickiest eater in the world, you will find something here. It is a known fact that everyone, and their mothers and grandmothers, agrees that the city of Vancouver has some of the best scenes not only in Canada but in the entire world.

The food in Vancouver is diverse and delicious, and once you try it, you will want to stay here forever. Many people have—especially those from Toronto! Well, who can blame them? All they had to do to eat this tasty food for the rest of their lives was hire good movers who planned their long-distance move and an easy transfer from Toronto to Vancouver. 

But, let us go back to the food scene in Vancouver. Here, you can try anything from Italian to Chinese, from processed to organic, cheap to expensive. Because there are so many options, we decided to share some specific places you simply have to try out. And we did a thorough check—all of these places are loved by the locals. So, check out the following:  

  • Stevenson Pizza Company (for seafood pizza) 
  • Jinya Ramen Bar (for ramen, of course) 
  • Fable Diner (for comfort food) 
  • Chancho (for tortillas) 
  • Phnom Penh (for chicken wings) 
  • Kishimoto Japanese Kitchen 
  • La Mezcaleria (for Mexican food) 

Don’t Miss Out on the Beer

Yes, you have different beers wherever you go. So, what makes Vancouver’s beer different? Well, it is healthier and tastier than any other beer you have ever tried. This is because it was made from local ingredients and in local microbreweries. Thus, when you sit at one of those previously mentioned food places, be sure to order a pint. Trust us, even if you are not a beer lover, you will love these ones. 

However, if you are a beer lover, you should go on one of many beer tours (Vancouver Brewery Tour, Canadian Craft Tour, Vancouver Toonie Tour, etc.). These tours will take you to several local breweries where you will be able to try some of the best craft beer. And, you will even get a glass as a souvenir. All insider’s guides to Canada and Vancouver will advise you the same—beer tours are not only great for trying out different beers. They are also great for visiting the city’s outskirts, meeting the locals, and trying local finger food specialties. 

Two women drinking beer and laughing.
Don’t hesitate to join beer tours-locals go on them too!

Do Something Fun

As previously mentioned, Vancouver is a huge city. And as such, it is full of fun places and fun things you can do both as a tourist and as a local. But, as you are here, wondering how to experience Vancouver like a local, you are probably looking for something in between. No need to worry; we got you covered. 

First, we suggest visiting some of Vancouver’s neighborhoods. For instance, Gastown is great for enjoying Canadian architecture; Mount Pleasant is perfect for eating, drinking, and shopping; Chinatown is perfect for everything Asian. And, if you are into natural things, that is, if you prefer hiking, picnicking, and other outdoor adventures, consider going to Capilano Suspension Bridge, Grouse Grind, The Chief Hike, Stanley Park Seawall, English Bay, etc. You will certainly have fun while visiting these.

Just before going, don’t forget to follow those essential tips for essential travels even though you are trying to act like a local. That is, be sure to do research on the place you are going to and pack your backpack accordingly. In most cases, that means packing your comfortable shoes, sun protection, and a big bottle of water. 

A rocky shore during sunset—a way to experience Vancouver like a local
Vancouver’s nature is something you should not miss out on.

And, Do Something Kind

Okay, you have been eating and drinking, and you have been neighborhood hopping and exploring the great outdoors of Vancouver. And, now, all that is left to finish your Vancouver journey is to do something kind. That is, to do something that will support the city and all its artists

A great way to show your support is to pay a visit to one of the many art galleries and studios where locals display their art. Or, check out the street performers—they are on every corner. Buy something from them and praise their work. Doing this will help them and will enrich you! And, it will help you experience Vancouver like a local. 

My Favourite Hotels Around the World

This Post Was Originally Published on the TuGo Travel Blog on November 25, 2019 by Mark Crone

The list of my favourite hotels around the world could go on and on—it’s almost unlimited. But I’ve put together a shortlist based on the hotel and the destination experience. There’s a mix of larger hotels and smaller properties. While it’s great to enjoy the hotel and its facilities, it’s also great to enjoy the area and destination. I’ve stayed at all 5 properties several times—they’re all comfortable and highly recommended. Here’s my shortlist of favourite hotels, in no particular order:

Flemings Mayfair, London

The Flemings Mayfair Hotel on Half Moon Street in London

In London, hotel choices are limitless and highly dependent on location. The Flemings is situated right in the heart of central London, in the prestigious Mayfair area. The first time I stayed there, I went for a walk through Green Park (down the street and minutes away) and literally came upon Buckingham Palace on the other side. The small hotel (129 rooms) is located on a quiet residential street which gives a homely feel to the hotel. Flemings Mayfair is an independent, family-owned property and the second oldest established hotel in London, dating back to 1731.
Room prices are available from £250 per night, which includes breakfast. It’s great value for central London and a well-equipped, recently renovated property!

Kristall Hotel, Austria

Winter view looking at the Hotel Kristall in Austria

The family-run Hotel Kristall in Perisau at Lake Achensee is a must-visit. In the winter, the area is a winter wonderland with skiing, skating, snowshoeing and more. In the summer you can go biking, hiking, golfing and trek mountains nearby. The small (50 room) hotel has a luxury feel and a comfortable ambience. There’s a renowned spa, gourmet dinners in the new vaulted cellar and weekly wine tastings in the wine repository. The hotel is a short walk from Lake Achensee, mountain attractions and nearby cable cars and mountain ranges. Staying at the Kristall is an escape holiday, where you simply lose track of days and time (the best kind of holidays)! The combination of the gorgeous landscape and the surrounding alpine world creates a lasting memory of Tyrol!
Suite prices start at 150 Euro per person with special inclusive packages available.

Royal York, Toronto

Inside a guest room at the Royal York Hotel in Toronto, Canada

The Fairmont Royal York, formerly and commonly known as the Royal York, is considered one of Canada’s grand railway hotels. It’s a large historic luxury hotel located along Front Street West, directly across from Union Station in the southern end of the Financial District, in central Downtown Toronto.
The hotel opened in June 1929 and has 1,363 guest rooms and suites, including Signature or Luxury, along with eight types of suites. In addition to first-rate facilities, the Royal York is connected to the PATH system, a series of pedestrian tunnels that connect numerous buildings in Downtown Toronto. There’s also a tunnel directly connecting the hotel to Union Station and to Scotiabank Arena (home of the NHL Toronto Maple Leafs, NBA Toronto Raptors and major concerts).
You can’t beat the Royal York’s location in Toronto. Room rates start at $195.

Caesars Palace, Las Vegas

Caesar Palace Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas

Caesars Palace opened in 1966 and is one of Las Vegas’s largest and best-known landmarks. The hotel is located right on the Las Vegas Strip between the Bellagio and The Mirage. Caesars is meant to give a Roman Empire feel with statues, columns and a 20-foot statue of Augustus Caesar near the entrance.
It’s a large deluxe resort property with 3,976 rooms and suites in six towers, a convention facility, a large range of restaurants and outdoor pools, among many other features. The hotel operates a large casino and “The Colosseum”, a venue for live music and sports entertainment, featuring major entertainers for one-night shows and residence stays. There’s also a sizable shopping mall attached to the resort called “The Forum Shops at Caesars”.
Despite its size, the hotel is very comfortable and has absolutely everything on site, making it a great choice for a Las Vegas stay. Rooms can be as low as $99 per night!

Burj Al Arab, Dubai

Aerial view of the Burj Al Arab in Dubai

Dubai is one of the seven emirates forming the United Arab Emirates, and it’s a very unique destination . It’s one of the most sought-after destinations for travellers from around the world, with its endless choices for fine dining, shopping, and luxury accommodations. The 7-star Burj Al Arab is perhaps the top choice in Dubai (and possibly anywhere).
The Burj al Arab is the iconic “sail” hotel located directly on the Persian Gulf in Dubai. It features all-suite accommodation, which includes butler service and a private beach. You don’t need to leave the property (and might not want to with room rates). The Burj has 201 suites, 9 restaurants, 5 pools, a spa, fitness centre and much more. If you’d like to make a grand entrance, you can arrive by helicopter on their roof or by chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce. It’s the lap of luxury and pure fantasy rolled into one: a once in a lifetime hotel experience.
It’s still one of my favourite hotels of all time! Rates start at $4,300 USD including breakfast for two.

These are my 5 favourite hotels, but my hotel list continues to grow! What’s your favourite?
Safe travels,
Mark