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Germany: How to Fly in the Corona Crisis, New Rules at Airports and on Aircraft

Until Corona hit, flying could be rather annoying, because of all the waiting, the crowds and the long walks to the gates. It just became even more annoying.

Before Corona, getting to the airport was the easiest part. But those check-in lines were a pain. So was getting through security and passport controls. The worst part was all the waiting. In short: Flying was a pain in the neck.

Return to the Skies

After the Corona pandemic basically ended passenger flights for several months, some of those Airbuses and Boeings parked on tarmacs between Hamburg and Munich are being prepared to do what they do best again. Flying. It’s about time to return to the skies.

The airports in and around Berlin implemented new rules. Photo: Imanuel Marcus

The bad news is that passengers have to get used to a million new rules. Not only will we be squeezed into large metal tubes that move through the air close to the speed of sound, but we also have to follow orders in order to earn the right to be flown.

List of Rules

FBB, the operator of Tegel Airport in Berlin and Schönefeld Airport in Brandenburg, sent out a statement with new ground rules (!) and airborne rules, as well as other changes. Here we go:

  1. Distance markings on the floor, at check-in counters, security, passport control and baggage claims will show passengers how close they may get to the next person. The distance everyone needs to keep to others is 1.5 meters (5 feet). Splendid.
  2. Acrylic glass windows are being installed at check-in, security and passport control points. That way nobody will breathe or cough into other people’s faces directly. Alright.
  3. “Touch-free” dispensers for disinfection fluid and paper towels are being installed too. Passengers are supposed to use them to disinfect their hands, smart phone displays and any surfaces people touch. Yes, Sir.
  4. Information about the distance and hygiene rules will be provided on screens and in loudspeaker announcements. Wow. Can’t wait to hear those.
  5. In spite of the fact that there will be far less flights and passengers at airports for a while, all passengers are supposed to arrive two hours before their flight takes off because processes will generally take longer. Yawn.
  6. In order to speed things up, passengers are being asked to check in online and to load their boarding passes on their smartphones. Noted.
  7. At this stage, each passenger may only have one piece of carry-on luggage. This rule was implemented in order to make sure Germany’s Federal Police can speed up security processes. What about passengers who already booked their Ryanair flights with two pieces of hand luggage? This information is not being provided.
  8. Taking off shoes at the security check will not be required anymore. Finally some good news.
  9. Protective masks have to be worn at the airport and on the plane. Sure.
  10. Passengers are supposed to leave the terminal the moment they arrive at their destination airport. What? First they want us and then they kick us out?
  11. Individuals who intend to pick up arriving passengers need to wait outside, in front of the terminal. So, they won’t wait right on the runway?

Good Service at Frankfurt Airport

“Flying under Corona conditions creates new challenges for all of us”, FBB’s CEO Engelbert Lütke Daldrup stated. That is why the airports in and around Berlin had implemented measures that made sure passengers would not risk their health and that they had a pleasant stay.

Ryan just parked his aircraft. Photo: Imanuel Marcus

Things look similar at Germany’s largest airport in Frankfurt. Except they offer more services. At their medical center, passengers can actually get a ‘Sars-CoV-2 Antibody Test’ (meaning a Corona test) for 120 to 245 Euro (137 to 279 U.S. Dollars or 108 to 220 Pounds Sterling).

No Distance on Aircraft

Of course there are rules to adhere to on aircraft as well. While the authorities wanted to leave a certain number of seats vacant, the airlines rejected that idea because that way they would not have made the money they needed after those Corona flight bans.

Brandenburg looks nice from above too. Photo: Imanuel Marcus

Masks have to be worn aboard though. And they are supposed to be changed every four hours. So, passengers on their way to Atlanta, Addis Ababa or Adelaide need more than one mask. But first they need flights to those destinations. There are none.

Sinatra Is Right

Airlines might not serve drinks or food, with the exception of mineral water, in order to decrease the risk further.

Flying is even more of a pain in the neck now, but nobody – except for conspiracy theorists – disputes the Corona rules implemented at airports and on aircraft (as well as everywhere else) are necessary. In spite of it all, Frank Sinatra is still right: “It is nice to travel, to New York, London and Rome …”.

By the way: The publication you are reading, The Berlin Spectator, was established in January of 2019. We have worked a whole lot, as you can see. But there has hardly been any income.
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