I sent my neighbours a text message as I made my way to the airport today.
Chatting with one of them the other day, she said “Well if you end up staying longer, send us a message so we won’t worry.”
The last time I flew was back in June. I was planning on spending a couple of weeks here, anyway, so I didn’t think to mention it.
But after a couple of weeks she noticed my absence, and she sent me a text asking if I was okay.
And here we are again. I’m flying again, and COVID numbers are increasing again. And I’m feeling apprehensive about the next few weeks.
Since the start of COVID, there have been (probably) less than five times when I’ve felt quite uncomfortable about my surroundings. There have been a couple of times when I’ve entered a bar and have left straightaway. And there have been a couple of times when I’ve decided not to get on public transport. In both cases, there were “too many” people around for my liking.
Today, I was sitting in the Qantas Business Lounge at Sydney Airport. I’m a regular Qantas Club member and there have been a few times when I have been lucky enough to get an “upgrade”, normally around things like Christmas Day travel. To be honest, there’s not a lot of difference between the two lounges. But it felt a little bit “special” to get the upgrade today, because the regular lounge was closed. Today, however, there was a lengthy queue to enter, and the staff were especially wanting to be sure I was eligible given my flight was with Jetstar. They seemed under pressure.
On entering the lounge, I struggled to find an empty seat. The queues for food and beverages were also quite lengthy. With so many people around, and with COVID cases increasingly dramatically each day, it didn’t feel all that comfortable. Earlier than I’d planned, I left and made my way to the Jetstar terminal.
The queues at Terminal 2 were also fairly lengthy. Thankfully I only had hand luggage to worry about. The flight left about forty-five minutes later than planned and it was very full. I don’t think there was a spare seat.
Today was quite a contrast to my travel experiences over the last eighteen months, where I’ve sometimes been the only person in a row of three.
But I made it. I’m home in Lismore for Christmas.