One of our latest members to participate in our Pandemic Travel Series interview is Katarzyna Kielar. Kasia flew to Poland in order to celebrate her son’s birthday with family. A trip that was scheduled before COVID’s spread and rebooked. Read her interview below for her experience.  

What was the date of your departure? Was it a direct flight or with layovers?

Date of departure was October 2nd. Flight with layover in Toronto-Warsaw-Rzeszow.

What was the purpose of your travel?

We were visiting my family for my son’s belated birthday.

Which airline did you fly with?

LOT Polish Airlines.

Was there a noticeable decrease or increase in the cost of travel?

There was small increase in the ticket price. We bought tickets in January but we had to rebook them later because of the lockdown in spring. We were supposed to go to Poland in May.

Did you experience longer or shorter wait times at the airport?

All controls, check in and boarding process to me was shorter just because there is less people traveling.

Were there additional health screenings?

Temperature check at Pearson airport before going to Poland. And temperature check in Rzeszow going back to Canada. At Pearson airport kids under 2 years old are not being checked.

Were social distancing measures in place and if so, how were they enforced?

At the airports, yes, there is a distancing. The distance is marked on the floor. On the plane from Toronto to Warsaw and from Warsaw to Toronto there are 3 seats to one person. Warsaw-Rzeszow there is no distance on the plane.

Were masks mandated at the time of your travel?

Masks are mandatory during entire travel.

Did anything strike you as different during the flight?

Only masks and distancing is different then before pandemic to me.

When you arrived in Poland – did you notice any differences in the protocol at their airport versus at Pearson?

The only difference in protocol in Poland vs Toronto- everyone’s temperature is being checked. In Toronto no temperature check for kids under 2 years old.

Was there a mandated quarantine period for you and anyone else you may have traveled with?

Mandatory quarantine only in Canada for everyone. No quarantine in Poland.

Did you experience lower costs? Were there fewer travellers?

No lower costs. Very little travelers. I have never seen such empty airports and planes.

You travelled with your young son, was it made easier for you to travel?

Traveling with my son now was to me more comfortable because there is more room on the plane. I had 3 seats for myself and my son same as my husband. There was no problem to lay him down to sleep during the flight.

Any other insights you may have about travel during this unprecedented time and tips for our members considering to travel for business or pleasure?

I find traveling now pretty safe and more comfortable. More comfortable than before the pandemic just because there is less people, less lineups, and more room on the plane.

If you are planning to travel during COVID make sure to check the government websites of the country you will travel to. You need to be up to date with the rules and documents that you have to bring. For example, my mum who was traveling with me to Canada had to show my birth certificate as a proof that she is my mum. There was also more additional questions at the customs and an additional COVID form to complete traveling from Poland to Canada.