We arrived at the airport nice and early. I was just taking a carry on with me this trip so I checked in on the Qantas app to keep everything contactless.
There weren’t too many people at check in so it was easy to keep our distance. Unlike in the US, in Australia you don’t have to take your shoes off going through security which speeds everything up.
Qantas Fly Well Pack
As you board the aircraft, Qantas has these little Fly Well Packs. It is a zip lock bag containing a face mask and two sanitation wipes. I used the sanitation wipe to clean the tray table and surfaces around the seat. I didn’t wear my mask heading to Sydney but I did on the return flight. There seemed to be a greater risk that someone on that flight might have had COVID-19 returning to Brisbane.
Seated close together
Qantas is usually my carrier of choice, but it did seem a bit weird. There were all these safety messages about COVID-19 and keeping your distance while in line. However, as soon as you got on the plane you were crammed in together. On the flight to Sydney, there weren’t any spare seats between passengers so social distancing was reduced from 1.5m to 1.5cm.
There was no entertainment provided on Qantas during COVID-19. I heard another passenger asking why – as he couldn’t see how watching a movie would spread germs. My only thought was that maybe it was to do with preventing the spread of germs from the touch screens. I suspect, though, it is more to do with cutting costs when Qantas has so few flights at the moment.
The beverage services were also reduced to just water rather than the traditional soft drinks, tea or coffee. In terms of food, it was just a small snack – some kind of fruit and almond slice which was tasty.
When we landed in Sydney and when we were returning back to Brisbane, Sydney Airport was completely quiet. It felt eery as I had never seen this airport so quiet. The upside was that there were no queues which made getting through security a breeze. That said, most stores inside the terminal were closed with the exception of a couple of food stores.
Boarding by forward and rear doors
On the flight returning to Brisbane, you can board by the forward and rear doors, which is not something Qantas traditionally does. I suspect this was to speed up boarding and reduce the amount of people entering through the front of the aircraft.
Returning into Brisbane
The most difficult part of the journey was returning to Brisbane airport. I had assumed there would be some security with the borders being closed. On our way down to Sydney, I had seen the Police, Army and Fire Service personnel checking people getting off a previous flight. They were determining if passengers would need to self isolate for a period of 14 days or not.
I went through this security to get back to Queensland. I only had a Victorian driver’s license, so I didn’t really have a way to prove my residency. We had only moved to Queensland about a month prior to this work trip. I had my border pass printed out but the Police wanted to see proof of address. Thankfully, I had my tenancy agreement in a folder which showed that I had an address in the state. This was far more thorough than driving into Queensland at the NSW border where the police just wave your vehicle through.
Aside from that, the journey went pretty smoothly, though I think I will be holding off any further travel until things calm down a little more.