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Experience of flying to Canada during Covid

Experience of flying to Canada during Covid

Old Jul 28th 2020, 4:45 pm
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Default Experience of flying to Canada during Covid

We finally moved to Canada yesterday and are now, at least for the next six weeks, residents of Hamilton Mountain.

We flew with Air Transat from Gatwick to Pearson having stayed in the Courtyard by Marriott at the airport the night before our flight. The entire experience was, as you can imagine, very different from any previous flying experience. Regulations means those that are not medically exempt must wear a mask at all times during the flight (except for eating of course) and at both airports. The hotel was incredibly quiet and all meals and drinks needed to be ordered either via a tablet on the restaurant tables or by scanning a QR code in your room.

Both LGW and YYZ were also eerily quiet, again which is to be expected, and the flight was about 40% full. We couldn't get online check in to work on the Transat website so did it all at Gatwick and were asked a bunch of Covid-related questions in addition to the usual stuff. The in-flight experience was also very different as the offering was significantly streamlined; both the meal and the snack were fully enclosed in a box and the drinks menu was reduced. There was no duty-free shopping either, which meant the cabin crew (who were also masked up of course) had nothing to do for long periods of the flight.

Upon arrival at Pearson the plane was met by CBSA officers, who, much to the surprise of the cabin crew, said that anyone who hadn't completed the ArriveCAN app in advance had to fill out the paper form BEFORE disembarking. Those had had used the app could leave the plane immediately but had to show the code it generates to the officer upon disembarking.

TIP: if you use the app, fill it out for everyone in your party AND take a screenshot of the code it generates before closing it down, and save it in the photos on your phone. Luckily I had done this because when I opened the app again the code had vanished and could not be retrieved.

After leaving the plane it was the usual walk to the immigration kiosks, which, it seems the QR code scanners were not working on because I had filled out the eDeclaration app but it would not scan, so we entered the info manually, along with, again, Covid-specific questions on top of the usual ones. We then took the slip to the officer at the desk who again verbally repeated the Covid questions and asked us questions about our quarantine plan. Thankfully this was approved and we were on our way to the equally quiet baggage hall.

From there it was a taxi straight to our Airbnb and our quarantine begins. Hope this is helpful for anybody intending to fly soon.
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Old Jul 28th 2020, 4:51 pm
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Default Re: Experience of flying to Canada during Covid

Were the restaurants open at Gatwick?

Did they let you off row by row or was it the usual rush to get off the plane?

Thanks
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Old Jul 28th 2020, 4:55 pm
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Default Re: Experience of flying to Canada during Covid

Originally Posted by juels275 View Post
Were the restaurants open at Gatwick?

Did they let you off row by row or was it the usual rush to get off the plane?

Thanks
Some restaurants were open, the only one I can specifically recall was Wetherspoons.

The original plan was to let us off by rows but that plan had to be quickly modified once it became clear that half the passengers had to complete the paper form.
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Old Jul 28th 2020, 10:23 pm
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Default Re: Experience of flying to Canada during Covid

Originally Posted by crofty82 View Post

Upon arrival at Pearson the plane was met by CBSA officers, who, much to the surprise of the cabin crew, said that anyone who hadn't completed the ArriveCAN app in advance had to fill out the paper form BEFORE disembarking. Those had had used the app could leave the plane immediately but had to show the code it generates to the officer upon disembarking.

TIP: if you use the app, fill it out for everyone in your party AND take a screenshot of the code it generates before closing it down, and save it in the photos on your phone. Luckily I had done this because when I opened the app again the code had vanished and could not be retrieved.

After leaving the plane it was the usual walk to the immigration kiosks, which, it seems the QR code scanners were not working on because I had filled out the eDeclaration app but it would not scan, so we entered the info manually, along with, again, Covid-specific questions on top of the usual ones. We then took the slip to the officer at the desk who again verbally repeated the Covid questions and asked us questions about our quarantine plan. Thankfully this was approved and we were on our way to the equally quiet baggage hall.
They should be careful. If they keep treating people like garbage in that way then they may not have any tourism sector left when they finally see fit to so treating every other nation with hostility.

I'm glad your flight went OK though. It must be a bit of a weight off your mind.
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Old Jul 28th 2020, 10:51 pm
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Default Re: Experience of flying to Canada during Covid

Originally Posted by crofty82 View Post
We finally moved to Canada yesterday and are now, at least for the next six weeks, residents of Hamilton Mountain.

We flew with Air Transat from Gatwick to Pearson having stayed in the Courtyard by Marriott at the airport the night before our flight. The entire experience was, as you can imagine, very different from any previous flying experience. Regulations means those that are not medically exempt must wear a mask at all times during the flight (except for eating of course) and at both airports. The hotel was incredibly quiet and all meals and drinks needed to be ordered either via a tablet on the restaurant tables or by scanning a QR code in your room.

Both LGW and YYZ were also eerily quiet, again which is to be expected, and the flight was about 40% full. We couldn't get online check in to work on the Transat website so did it all at Gatwick and were asked a bunch of Covid-related questions in addition to the usual stuff. The in-flight experience was also very different as the offering was significantly streamlined; both the meal and the snack were fully enclosed in a box and the drinks menu was reduced. There was no duty-free shopping either, which meant the cabin crew (who were also masked up of course) had nothing to do for long periods of the flight.

Upon arrival at Pearson the plane was met by CBSA officers, who, much to the surprise of the cabin crew, said that anyone who hadn't completed the ArriveCAN app in advance had to fill out the paper form BEFORE disembarking. Those had had used the app could leave the plane immediately but had to show the code it generates to the officer upon disembarking.

TIP: if you use the app, fill it out for everyone in your party AND take a screenshot of the code it generates before closing it down, and save it in the photos on your phone. Luckily I had done this because when I opened the app again the code had vanished and could not be retrieved.

After leaving the plane it was the usual walk to the immigration kiosks, which, it seems the QR code scanners were not working on because I had filled out the eDeclaration app but it would not scan, so we entered the info manually, along with, again, Covid-specific questions on top of the usual ones. We then took the slip to the officer at the desk who again verbally repeated the Covid questions and asked us questions about our quarantine plan. Thankfully this was approved and we were on our way to the equally quiet baggage hall.

From there it was a taxi straight to our Airbnb and our quarantine begins. Hope this is helpful for anybody intending to fly soon.
Hello from Hamilton Mountain!!!

Thanks for the very useful post - I'm sure it will be of help to others coming over at this time.

Last edited by Siouxie; Jul 28th 2020 at 10:53 pm.
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Old Jul 29th 2020, 8:30 am
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Default Re: Experience of flying to Canada during Covid

Originally Posted by crofty82 View Post
We finally moved to Canada yesterday and are now, at least for the next six weeks, residents of Hamilton Mountain.

We flew with Air Transat from Gatwick to Pearson having stayed in the Courtyard by Marriott at the airport the night before our flight. The entire experience was, as you can imagine, very different from any previous flying experience. Regulations means those that are not medically exempt must wear a mask at all times during the flight (except for eating of course) and at both airports. The hotel was incredibly quiet and all meals and drinks needed to be ordered either via a tablet on the restaurant tables or by scanning a QR code in your room.

Both LGW and YYZ were also eerily quiet, again which is to be expected, and the flight was about 40% full. We couldn't get online check in to work on the Transat website so did it all at Gatwick and were asked a bunch of Covid-related questions in addition to the usual stuff. The in-flight experience was also very different as the offering was significantly streamlined; both the meal and the snack were fully enclosed in a box and the drinks menu was reduced. There was no duty-free shopping either, which meant the cabin crew (who were also masked up of course) had nothing to do for long periods of the flight.

Upon arrival at Pearson the plane was met by CBSA officers, who, much to the surprise of the cabin crew, said that anyone who hadn't completed the ArriveCAN app in advance had to fill out the paper form BEFORE disembarking. Those had had used the app could leave the plane immediately but had to show the code it generates to the officer upon disembarking.

TIP: if you use the app, fill it out for everyone in your party AND take a screenshot of the code it generates before closing it down, and save it in the photos on your phone. Luckily I had done this because when I opened the app again the code had vanished and could not be retrieved.

After leaving the plane it was the usual walk to the immigration kiosks, which, it seems the QR code scanners were not working on because I had filled out the eDeclaration app but it would not scan, so we entered the info manually, along with, again, Covid-specific questions on top of the usual ones. We then took the slip to the officer at the desk who again verbally repeated the Covid questions and asked us questions about our quarantine plan. Thankfully this was approved and we were on our way to the equally quiet baggage hall.

From there it was a taxi straight to our Airbnb and our quarantine begins. Hope this is helpful for anybody intending to fly soon.
Thank-you, that is most useful, especially the tip about using the ArriveCan and saving the code. I've seen others saying the eDeclaration is a waste of time so I don't think I'll bother with that.
What was in the food box? Do you have any tips on what might be a useful supplement in the form of trail bars or the like?
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Old Jul 29th 2020, 8:38 am
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Default Re: Experience of flying to Canada during Covid

Originally Posted by btar View Post
Thank-you, that is most useful, especially the tip about using the ArriveCan and saving the code. I've seen others saying the eDeclaration is a waste of time so I don't think I'll bother with that.
What was in the food box? Do you have any tips on what might be a useful supplement in the form of trail bars or the like?
The contents of the meal box are on the Transat website. The only thing they don't mention, and crofty didn't either, is whether you get a choice of sandwich which is a particular issue for me because I don't eat cheese.

There are pretty much no restrictions when it comes to taking food into UK airports though and Transat are happy for you to take your own food on board.
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Old Jul 29th 2020, 10:28 am
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Default Re: Experience of flying to Canada during Covid

As DG said you can bring as much food on as you like. We normally take a snack or two but personally this time I found the in flight offering sufficient, due to a combination of having eaten in the hotel and the stress of carrying so much luggage while it was so hot.

We splashed out and flew club class for the first time, mainly for the luggage allowance (4 hold cases up to 32kg each) so the meal was Moroccan chicken and couscous and the snack was continental deli meats and salad.

The meal in economy was a grilled chicken sandwich or a grilled vegetable sandwich but I’m not sure what the snack was.

I forgot to mention that the shuttle bus that goes between the hotels and the terminals at Gatwick still isn’t running so if you’re staying in one of them like we did, you need to get reception to order you a taxi.
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Old Jul 29th 2020, 11:40 am
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Default Re: Experience of flying to Canada during Covid

Transat Club Class seems like a bit of a rip off atm. Back in the day it was a total bargain and pretty much the only way to go. You could get it for around £100 more than a usual ticket and after the extra luggage allowance, the priority security access, the champagne, liqueur coffees, better meal and whatever else, it had pretty much paid for itself and then some.

These days the price difference is much bigger though and it sounds like the service is greatly scaled back atm. It might still be worth it if you're moving and would be paying for extra luggage anyway but otherwise I'm not sure if I'd see the point especially since the flight between the UK and Toronto isn't very long.
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Old Jul 29th 2020, 12:09 pm
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Default Re: Experience of flying to Canada during Covid

If we are flying from LGW, we normally stay at the Sofitel at Gatwick North terminal. It is on airport and connected to the terminal itself, so an easy walk with luggage. Not sure if it is open during these Covid times though.
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Old Jul 29th 2020, 12:12 pm
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Default Re: Experience of flying to Canada during Covid

Originally Posted by Hurlabrick View Post
If we are flying from LGW, we normally stay at the Sofitel at Gatwick North terminal. It is on airport and connected to the terminal itself, so an easy walk with luggage. Not sure if it is open during these Covid times though.
It's closed atm, probably due to low passenger numbers. A lot of companies in the hospitality sector are trying to milk that government furlough cash cow for as long as possible.
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Old Jul 29th 2020, 1:57 pm
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Default Re: Experience of flying to Canada during Covid

Originally Posted by DigitalGhost View Post
It's closed atm, probably due to low passenger numbers. A lot of companies in the hospitality sector are trying to milk that government furlough cash cow for as long as possible.
They're between a rock and a hard place - volume of customers now allowed makes profitability difficult, and retaining staff through months of closure isn't financially viable for many either.
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Old Jul 29th 2020, 1:59 pm
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Default Re: Experience of flying to Canada during Covid

Originally Posted by R I C H View Post
They're between a rock and a hard place - volume of customers now allowed makes profitability difficult, and retaining staff through months of closure isn't financially viable for many either.
Not only that, I'd imagine that hotel normally makes a lot from Americans and right now, although Americans can technically fly to the UK, the mandatory quarantine will make it pointless for most.
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Old Jul 29th 2020, 3:58 pm
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Default Re: Experience of flying to Canada during Covid

Originally Posted by R I C H View Post
They're between a rock and a hard place - volume of customers now allowed makes profitability difficult, and retaining staff through months of closure isn't financially viable for many either.
So true. Hotels are a pretty high cost business, if you can't at least hit your break even point, there is no real point in staying open just to lose even more money.


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Old Aug 2nd 2020, 7:00 pm
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Default Re: Experience of flying to Canada during Covid

Originally Posted by crofty82 View Post

Both LGW and YYZ were also eerily quiet, again which is to be expected, and the flight was about 40% full..
How much was the ticket?
I have to go to LGW later this year, have they put the prices up to compensate for the low numbers travelling?
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