The following day on Thursday 16th July a Jet2 flight from Birmingham landed at Dalaman and in this report we tell you about that journey on a pandemic prepared plane.
This article also looks at what Dalaman airport expects to see over the remainder of 2020. There is some good news for those hoping to travel later in the year.
But let’s start with that BHX to DLM flight on 16th July. A flight that finally materialised after earlier cancellations and a last minute change to the flight time.
The bit at Birmingham airport
We arrived at the airport early at 07.30 for our 11.30 flight. The terminal was quiet with probably as many staff as passengers. Most people were keeping their distance and wearing masks.
A coffee shop was open with Covid-19 safety markings on the floor to indicate the direction customers should walk at a safe distance from each other. Drinks were prepared behind a glass screen and payment was by contactless card - no cash. Hand sanitiser was in plentiful supply.
Helpful Jet2 staff were wearing masks and maintained their distance as they checked the boarding passes on our smartphones. We checked in our cases with no delay. Our tickets showed we were allowed 10kg of hand luggage but our cabin bags were not weighed. This appears to contradict the UK FCO web site which says you will be limited to 4kg of hand luggage.
Onwards to security, trying not to touch surfaces such as escalator handrails. Passengers queued in an orderly fashion according to markings on the floor. Baggage checks and body scans were no different to usual, including an unexpected pat-down due to a rogue 20p coin lurking in the corner of a pocket.
Staff were helpful and courteous and passengers seemed quite relaxed as they were processed through to airside.
Not all of the shops and cafes were open but many were including Wetherspoons, Boots, Next and the duty free shop where it seemed like business as usual, apart from the absence of fragrance testers. WH Smiths was closed.
There were Covid-19 safety signs and floor markings throughout the terminal including in all shops and cafes.
In cafes people were mostly observing social distancing rules but obviously had to remove their masks whilst eating. Staff were properly prepared and observing Covid-19 safety rules.
At the boarding gate people did their best to leave spaces between seats. Some people stood rather than sitting too close to other passengers. Most people continued to wear their masks.
The aircraft was boarded at the front and rear with passengers invited to move from the gate to the airport apron where they were asked to join one of two queues. Most people attempted to maintain their distance from others but a small number seemed oblivious of the need for social distancing.
The bit on the plane
Once on board people stowed hand luggage and took their seats. There was no problem using overhead lockers for hand luggage.
The aircraft was probably three quarters full and people made use of spare seats to enable them to sit further apart from others.
The crew made regular announcements about observing Coronavirus safety rules. The vast majority of people continued to wear masks as they took their seats but some did not.
A small number were clearly in holiday mood and decided they would relax the rules and totally or partially remove their masks. This made for an uncomfortable journey for adjacent passengers.
The flight attendants wore masks throughout and were friendly and helpful. The only change to the pre-flight safety announcement was a bit about taking your mask off before putting your emergency oxygen mask on. Sound advice.
Food and drinks were served as usual and it appeared that any duty free purchases had been ordered prior to the flight.
Toilets were available as usual but people were asked not to queue. This seemed to work.
The temperature of the aircraft was quite cool. This may have been due to increased use of the aircraft’s air conditioning system.
Cabin crew checked to see if passengers had completed a contact tracing form that is required by the Turkish authorities. If you didn’t have one you were given one to complete and hand in. You can download and complete a form before you travel - click on this link to download the IATA Passenger Location form.
The plane came to a stop at the Dalaman terminal and any minimal social distancing that was possible up to this point went out of the window as people stood up and jostled to get their bags so that they could get pole position to leap off the plane. Except of course that this never happens and people just end up packed in the aisle for a few minutes exchanging smiles and potentially pathogens.
We got on the plane using both front and rear doors but we disembarked at Dalaman using the front door only. Disembarkation was probably the low point of the flight in terms of Covid-19 safety rules. The best you could do was to stay put in your seat and keep your head down until the over-eager ones moved on.
The bit at Dalaman airport
As we entered the arrivals hall a thermal imaging camera checked our temperature.
There were helpful markings on the floor as we queued at border control. Most people attempted to keep a safe distance from other passengers. All staff were wearing masks and border police were behind the usual glass screens.
At the baggage carousel there were markings on the floor to help keep a safe distance between passengers - a minimum of one metre is required. It is entirely possible to do this but again a small number of people took no notice and some discarded their face masks. For a few, holiday excitement trumped thoughts of Coronavirus safety.
Duty free shopping was available.
Passing through the exit to the car park was straightforward and there was no issue keeping a safe distance from others.
It is obligatory to wear face masks at all times but some people removed them once outside.
Our airport transfer driver was wearing a mask and as a passenger you are also obliged to wear a mask inside the vehicle.
Overall impressions of the journey
Birmingham airport and Dalaman airport appear to have all necessary Coronavirus safety signage and markings to guide travellers. The staff we encountered along the way seemed to know what they were supposed to do.
The majority of passengers acted responsibly by observing safety requirements pretty much throughout the entire journey. However a small number of travellers paid lip service to the new rules and showed a disregard for the wellbeing of their fellow passengers.
This probably reflects the reality of human behaviour anywhere in the world. Wherever you go it's the same story.
UK to Dalaman flights for the rest of 2020
Turkish Airlines started flying from London Gatwick to Dalaman on 21st June, but Jet2 was the first UK carrier to arrive in Turkey since the international travelling rules were relaxed.
The first British Airways flight landed at Dalaman on Friday 17th July.
By the end of July there will be 39 incoming flights a week from the UK, including Turkish Airlines flights.
Other carriers will arrive from 1st August giving an average of 130 incoming flights a week. By September and October Dalaman expects 160 UK incoming flights per week.
We are aware that easyJet are one of those carriers starting to fly to Dalaman on 1st August but you may like to know that they will also be flying to Dalaman after the usual end of the tourist season.
In November there will be two easyJet flights per week from London Gatwick and another two from Manchester. And in December there will be two flights per week from London Gatwick and one flight from Manchester.
All of the above flights are direct from the UK to Dalaman but of course there are other options such as Antalya or flying via Istanbul.
If you are coming to Kalkan this year please observe the Coronavirus safety rules during your journey and also when you arrive in Kalkan
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