Here’s what it’s like flying to Edinburgh during the pandemic
Be prepared for a lot of sitting around
At the end of August, I flew to Edinburgh from the States for my second year of uni. After a harrowing few months in the country with the most COVID cases in the world, the rockiest political situation, and actual anti-mask protests, I was expecting something of a reprieve. After a seven hour plane ride, a six hour layover, and a two week isolation period during which I subsisted off plain pasta and Deliveroo, I began to wonder if it was at all worth the trip. Then, I watched the presidential debate. Yeah, definitely worth it.
Looking back on the journey I had, there were a few things I wish I had known before booking my plane tickets back in June. Hopefully, this will serve as a guide for those international students who are still debating whether or not to return to Edi, and maybe even for domestic students if rules start to get stricter (which, let’s be honest, it’s looking like it). It all depends on whether or not you enjoy spending hours in your flat watching Netflix and waiting for Learn to work.
Airlines seem to have never hear of social distancing
When I boarded the plane to Dublin in late August, I did not expect to see many people at the gate.
I didn’t know many people who travelled during the summer, let alone flew, but when I did meet someone who had travelled by air, I heard stories about mostly empty planes with enough room to spread out. I was expecting to have multiple seats between myself and the next person over, maybe even multiple rows. On top of everything, I truly expected airlines to at least try and adhere to social distancing, especially on long haul flights like mine was. I was wrong.
Just about every seat on the relatively small aircraft was filled. It felt like flights had before COVID-19, except, luckily, everyone seemed to be wearing a mask. Nevertheless, there was no end to the crowd of travellers, except maybe in the plane bathrooms.
So, if you are planning on flying to Edinburgh, consider bringing a packet of antibacterial wipes and maybe a face shield, just to be safe.
You are going to have a looooong layover
When I arrived in Dublin after a stressful plane journey, sleep deprived and in desperate need of a shower, I realised that it would be at least three hours until I was able to check in for my flight. With very few flights leaving from Dublin Airport, I took what I could get. That meant having to spend three hours in the airport McDonalds sipping on lukewarm coffee in a booth next to someone who looked as if they’d been waiting for their flight for a week. I feel you stranger, I feel you.
I would recommend bringing a book, a couple of extra pounds for a snack, and maybe some camping gear. You could be there for a while.
You will spend a small fortune on Deliveroo
You may be like me and have an absolute saint of a flatmate who might leave you a couple of things to subsist on during your two-week quarantine. You might think that you won’t be ordering out often.
“I’ll cook every day,” you tell yourself. “I’ll meal plan and make the most of what I have,” you say.
Just order that self-indulgent, overly expensive food and move on. You’re living in a pandemic, you’re allowed.
You definitely can do all of your classes from home
At the start of week three I began to realise something: I can do all of my work from home.
If you’re a history major like me, you don’t know what it’s like to have all of your lectures recorded and ready for you. You don’t know what it’s like to just skip your nine ams and know that everything is there for you when you wake up at two pm after a night out at The Three Sisters. If I want to skip a lecture to sleep in, I have to accept the fact that that lecture is gone forever.
But now, not only are all my lectures online, but my tutorials are too. I would never have to leave the house again. In fact, I never had to leave my house in the first place.
Settle in, you might have to do this all over again for Christmas
If you are like me and you survived all of that, you aren’t very eager to do it again. If just the thought of sitting down on another crowded plane or spending ten hours in an airport gives you anxiety, you’re probably thinking of throwing in the towel and settling in for an Edinburgh Christmas.
If you’re brave and going to try to make a Christmas at home work (unless Matt Hancock has something to say about it), I hope these tips will be helpful for you. Unfortunately, the situation likely won’t improve much before then so you’ll likely have to go through all of this again.
Get your Deliveroo promo codes ready.