How to find your feet (and F.L.I.P F.L.O.P.S) again in a new world of travel

Let’s Play Bamboozled!

So, our F.L.I.P F.L.O.P.S contestant Emily, Media Assistant at Sunny Heart Travel, has finally packed her suitcase in a flurry of excitement for a 3 night solo holiday to Portugal, has her Covid Test Results all sorted and set her alarm ready to rise bright ‘n’ early to catch her flight… Onto Round 2 of my interview questions!


How did you travel to the airport? 

“The early rise at 4 am to drive down to the airport, even before the birds singing, was the trickiest part, but that pre-plane buzz got me up and going! That and the concierge service that Sunny Heart booked for me so I didn’t have to worry about Airport Parking, a nice touch of added luxury which helped me feel relaxed. There were later flight times available but I like to arrive at my destination as early as I can to make the most of the day I arrive too.


What have you missed most about having your well-deserved summer holidays?! …Cool cocktails with a slice of pineapple watching the sunset at the hot, hot, hot beach perhaps?

Yes, I’ve missed looking out to golden beaches, bright blue oceans, clear skies and sipping a few fruit cocktails a lot! But the excitement of my Portugal holiday becoming reality was enough to shake off those eye bags… I’m too excited to sleep anyway!”


Where did you fly from and what was the overall feeling in the airport…?

“So here I am at Stansted airport, wheelie case at my side and Sunny (the Sunny Heart Sloth) under my arm. There is a palatable buzz in the air… Portuguese and English alike, all masked up and queueing for the Bag Check-in. Young couples, families, business people and airport workers look ready and thick with anticipation for the excitement to come…”


So, now you (finally) have your Boarding Pass (your golden ticket to paradise or as we say in the F.L.I.P F.L.O.P.S Game of Bamboozled, your ‘Wicked Wango Card’ which takes you higher than the clouds!) What were the differences between airport scenes, procedures and personal feelings to pre Covid-19 times? Did you Check-in Online and is it worth getting Priority Check-in?

“I actually think that the airport is BETTER organised now than it was before! Covid has forced more signs for a safe and seamless set-up which now makes the whole process run like CLOCKWORK. I was called up with all the other Faro bound passengers to our own queue. I can hear the chatter of Portuguese around me and my tummy started doing flips for joy! The queue moved quickly and I reached the front, welcomed by the polite and jovial check-in man. He requests my “Wicked Wango Card,” a.k.a my Boarding Pass, Passport and Covid Test Results. So out comes my glamorous plastic wallet and I hand over my documents with fingers crossed… “Fabulous, Emily, looks like you are all set!” And… Breathhhhh… He hands me a little white slip to prove my Covid Free status, places my bag on the conveyor and bids me a safe trip. I sail through security, making sure to stop at all the sanitising stations on the way. A man tries to sneak past without a mask and an airport worker is on him like a hawk. He is given a mask and told to wear it properly then sent on his way. Safe and sound.”


Your holiday is sooo close, yet so far as you wait (patiently I’m sure) for that all-important Gate Number… What changes to duty-free shops were there? Were the bars open in the airport? Could you get food for children if needed? Were the airport lounges open?

“It’s busier than I expected but most of the dining options are closed. You’ll find good old Duty-Free and a few options are still standing strong. I swan into the Pret to grab a flight snack and then to Boots for some last-minute suncream. Now to wait for my gate number… I watch as a little girl rolls around on her ridable suitcase and think, ‘Wow, it’s SO nice to be back!’ My gate comes on the board and people start to walk over from the airport lounges. I’m politely asked for my white slip and ushered to the assigned waiting area…”


I bet it felt special/ surprising/ bizarre/ great/ different/ daunting to be hopping on a real plane to Portugal after such a long time…?! (As we say in the F.L.I.P F.L.O.P.S Game of Bamboozled, as it is the ‘Super Speedy Speed Round,’ with a flight time from Stansted to Faro in just 2 hours 40 minutes, you can get the ‘Hopping Bonus’ for ‘hopping on the plane!’)

“I hear the airport announce: ‘Ladies and Gentlemen, we are now boarding the 8.55 flight to Faro.’ YES, my Portugal holiday is actually happening! I still can’t believe it, even as I’m handing over my Boarding Pass and walking onto the tarmac. I can see my plane! The stairs up to it feel like a catwalk! I strut my way to find my seat… 22…23…24F Yep, that’s me! Of course, it is just as I’m putting my bag in the overhead locker that my Mum decides to call… “Hello?”
“Good morning Darling, are you at the airport? Is it busy? I hope you didn’t have to get up too early? Did you remember everything? I hope they all have masks on!”
(I am now balancing the phone on my shoulder and trying not to hit my fellow passengers with my bag.)
“Mum I am literally just getting to my seat, I…”
And I drop my phone. Boarding a flight mayhem and excitement? Oh, how I have missed you!”


What differences can you expect aboard the plane throughout the journey… Did you feel settled and cosy in the cabin enough to sneak in a little snooze, like sweet Sunny the Sloth does so well?

“Our pilot Marcus comes over the tannoy and we are cleared to fly. Wow. It’s finally time. I have my podcast in my ears and Sunny strapped in next to me. Time for a long-needed nap. Next stop: PORTUGAL!”


This is part of a Bamboozled Blog Series, so click on the next part of F.L.I.P F.L.O.P.S for Round 3 Arrival in resort and hotel highlights… 

© Copyright Author Kathryn Glover Sunny Heart Travel Ltd. 2019 to present day. All rights reserved.

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