Last July I had the opportunity to fly again after 6 months in semi London lockdown, a time in which I was prevented to witness the sky splendour from an aircraft window seat. Although it wasn’t that bad since I had time learn some new skills, and have some travel reminiscences, but still I wanted to return to sky!. I am grateful for the countless travel experiences that I would not change for the world… or in fact… I would change for the world!,
Well, I was keen to start travelling the moment airports and destinations opened their frontiers. So I followed updates day-to-day. I realise that sometimes is easy for us, as to criticize about the management of this virus in terms on travel governments regulation, but at the same time I recognise that this virus has taken us all by surprise, it has taken over the world, a world where airlines and airports have seen the major challenge of all times.
The first city I wanted to visit again was Rome since I have amazing friends there and the region itself has unlimited blessings of nature and cultural spots. As soon as feasible flights were available I reserved my flights and there I went to delight in Italian culture and cordiality once again.
I flew from London Heathrow Terminal 2 directly to Rome Fiumicino with Alitalia, on-board the Airbus 321. In normal circumstances flights from Sky Team airlines depart from Terminal 4, but due to the current situation, airlines frequencies have changed dramatically and utilisation of resources at airports too. Ensure you always check your departing terminal at the time of doing your web check-in. This will allow you to be on time and have a pleasant airport experience.
The cost of this round trip airline ticket was GBP226, from which GBP76 was the actual fare, GBP13 Air Passenger Duty, and the rest were a list of various other jet fuel surcharges and airport taxes. It did not include checked baggage, only hand baggage, which was fine for me.
Travelling to Heathrow airport was stress-free by tube. Upon arrival the navigation process was prompt and efficient, only travellers are allowed in the terminal. There was a counter with sanitising gel and facemask complimentary for passengers.
As I was entering the baggage drop area, I was handed a paper health check questionnaire, which I had to fill and hand over before proceeding to be allowed to travel to Italy. Maybe it would have been better for Alitalia to create an online form for such questionnaire to be actioned at the time of web check-in,
The ambience of Heathrow felt bizarre to me, I travel from Heathrow regularly and one way or another I like the convergence of people, over 80 million inquisitive minds normally cross-paths at this airport per year. The normal dynamism has always been unique, so alive, so busy… but not that day, that day it felt restrained, passive, and at times gloomy.
Temperature checks were being undertaken to all passengers at the boarding gate and boarding was carried out by groups (according to your seat number). The aircraft was the Airbus 321, from the A320 family, best sellers for short hauls flights. Upon entering the plane was spotless, with stylishly renovated interiors.
Middle seats were left empty, which I think would be a short term procedure, while things get back to normal since this is not sustainable for airlines economics, I was thrilled to have more space though.
Arrival AT Rome Fiumicino AIRPORT
The flight went smoothly without any particular differences pre-Covid apart from being at half occupancy and people wearing facemasks. Upon arrival at Rome Fiumicino airport, it was relaxed process, no additional health checks and no further questions were asked, (I guess with the initial airport form at Heathrow was enough for the Italian authorities). I was now ready to enjoy Marina di Cerveteri, a coastal location 40 km of Rome, where my dearest friend Mile lives. Happy days!
Fiumicino International Airport is named after the one of the most famous renaissance painter, Leonardo da Vinci. The normally serves as middle hub for Italy, with over 45 million passengers per year. The feeling was also of unusual calmness.
Departing back to London:
My flight was departing form Terminal 1 at Fiumicino, and when I entered the terminal I had the chance to appreciate briefly some great pieces, which illustrate the legacy of Leonardo Da Vinci. These can be appreciated in the departure area. The exhibition was called “The wings of Leonardo. The genius and flight”, and was inaugurated in May last year with pieces such as. “The Flying Man” the aim of the exhibition was to recreate the artist genius mind and the first flying machines in history. I think is a great initiative to bring cultural heritage and art to the airports of the world, I love It.!
I checked out other piece such as Vitruvian Man, Da Vinci believed that the human body is an analogy for the workings of the universe, I can agree with him!
I also checked out a gorgeous piece, which I particularly liked called ”el abrazo” by the Argentinian artist Alejandro Marmo. This piece of art showed me about people experience at an airport, good bye hugs, and welcome hugs, overall emotional hugs, those that we have been missing so much this year but that will return soon. Well that was my personal interpretation anyway.
Thanks for reading!
“In every crisis, doubt or confusion, take the higher path – the path of compassion, courage, understanding and love.” Amit Ray
Note: Several airlines have irresistible flights offer to travel to Italy and several other countries. If you need advice or best destination to travel to at the moment, please contact me as I offer bespoke travel advice.