There are way fewer international flights than normal these days, and the ones who are operating are pretty crowded. At least, the European ones.
My flight to Frankfurt was at 6-30 AM. Usually, I am trying to avoid that flight, because it is way too early, but this time it was the only option. In normal times, Boris would insist that there is no reason to arrive at the airport before 5-30, even if I want to shop duty-free, and even if I need to drop off the luggage. Oh, and about the luggage. I had a “light” airfare, which means – carry-on only, and as I’ve mentioned, I came to Helsinki with an almost empty suitcase. I thought that even if I buy some clothes, it will still fit. But then, I ended up buying more for my girls. It was a gradual process. First, I was not even sure whether I will do any shopping, then I did some, and then I thought that god-only-knows when I would be able to come again, and then I thought that I could buy en extra luggage :).
Boris favored that idea, and we ended up buying a very nice duffle bag, which could be converted to the backpack. I used it to pack the clothes, and also some yogurts. I started to smuggle dairy products from Finland in my luggage some time ago, which worked great.
I tried to check-in online, and as expected, got the message that the boarding pass could be issued only at the airport. We agreed that we will plan to be there at about 5-10. That meant getting up at 3-45 and taking a cab, but that would be unavoidable in any case.
When we entered the terminal, we saw a huge line. People were trying to maintain the distance, so the line became very long and spiraling.
When we finally reached the counter, it was 25 minutes before the departure, and I was freaking out. When you pay for extra luggage, they usually send you somewhere else to process your payment, and it could easily take another 15 minutes. To my surprise, the agent said that she could take my luggage free of charge since it is under eight kilograms.
Still, there were only twenty minutes left till departure. Technically speaking, I still had time to make a short stop at the duty-free, but I didn’t realize that the departure gate was not my usual one and that I had to go in the opposite direction to reach the store. I also didn’t notice an email about delayed departure and didn’t know I have fifteen extra minutes:).
Well, whatever done is done, and I left Helsinki without chocolate! Also, I didn’t get breakfast at home and didn’t have time at the airport, and they didn’t feed us on a flight. In Frankfurt, all the food stands in the Z wing were not operating, but I found an open bakery and bought amazing pastries and a large cappuccino.
The long flight was about the same as inbound. The middle seats were empty, the food was all vegetarian, and the internet connection was very bad.
We were given the health forms:
It looks like they were not updated since March: China and the EU are on the list, but Mexico, India, and Russia aren’t. Funny thing: we were not given the customs forms, and we were not allowed to use the passport control machine, so there was no way to declare anything even if you wanted. The health checks were fine – no wait, no crowds, they just took my temperature and asked where I was traveling. And, as usual, the longest was the wait for the luggage! I do not know how they manage to have such a long wait with a half-full aircraft!
Now the funny story is that I have to self-quarantine myself for two weeks after being in Finland :). But overall, it was not a bad experience at all!