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What’s It Like Traveling Internationally Right Now

As most people in the Going Global community are aware we have a very international team with a footprint around the world. We are also travel fanatics and tend to put on 100,000’s of miles each year criss-crossing the globe. Of course that was until March 2020 when our crews, like petty much everybody else, were grounded.

Well we’re happy to say that some members of our Toronto-based team recently travelled abroad to take our first steps in retuning to production, and we thought that it would be helpful to document the process. International travel certainly has changed but it is doable right now under the right conditions.

It’s A Whole New World

Our team has just retuned back from Italy and found it to be very organized (which of course is a sentence no one has previously ever uttered). This was our advance team’s first trip outside of Canada in 19 months. Their last trip was a long trek through Asia which ended in mid-February 2020 as the pandemic first began to rage, so needless to say lots of things have changed. These are their thoughts on the process.

Traveling from Canada to the EU was reasonably straightforward and logical. Fully vaccinated travelers don’t need to quarantine but have to complete a negative Rapid Antigen test before travel and within 72 hours of landing in Italy. They are also required to fill in the EU digital Passenger Locator Form online. 

Air Canada’s inflight service in Business Class was modified but the crew was excellent, the food good and the wine cold, so no complaints. They have capacity controls at their main lounge in Toronto and now only offer pre-packaged foods and drinks served by staff so it was slow. But outside was worse, with long line ups and wait times.

Transit through Frankfurt was about as easy as it ever is (busy, crowded and there’s still construction). But a very helpful Air Canada Concierge met us to ease us through the terminal. We love this service provided to SuperElite 100Ks. After all of the formalities the Lufthansa Senator Lounge was very organized, had a decent selection of food and drinks and fast WIFI.

The short flight from Frankfurt to Venice was from a remote stand which meant overcrowded buses and a very chaotic boarding. That was a fail from a COVID mitigation perspective.

Italy has the EU Green Pass system which seemed to be widely used and enforced. For non-EU residents hotels and restaurants accepted printed or electronic proof of vaccination. Our vaccination status was confirmed at most hotels and checked at all restaurants. This is interesting as any non-EU tourist would have had to already prove their vax status before entering the country or complete 14 days quarantine before going out. Our conclusion is that Italy is doing a great job of enforcing the rules.

It’s All About The Paperwork

Returning home was a bit more difficult as Canada requires proof of a negative PCR test 72 hours before departure and that meant we couldn’t use the testing facilities offered at Venice Airport. Having Canada accept a Rapid Antigen test would have made things much more convenient. Still it was easy finding a lab and receiving the results online.

Canada also requires travelers to use the newish ArriveCAN app where you upload your proof of vaccination, negative PCR test and fill in quarantine details and respond to health questions. It was slow to navigate at first but seemed to work well.

Arriving back in Toronto took a little longer than usual. The airport now routinely enacts capacity controls to slow the flood of arriving passengers. This meant that rather than deplaning Business Class passengers, Premium Economy and then Economy, people with connecting flights were allowed off first. Only one Jetway was in use and so this was a slow process that made people line up in the aisles. However once inside the terminal things were well organized.

All-in-all the trip was fairly seamless and felt safe. Hopefully this is a harbinger of things to come. Our adventure proves that with the right paperwork and a little bit of patience you can fly internationally right now.