Last week, I went to an airport. This was my first time since February 2020 – a period of over 500 days. I felt both excitement and trepidation at revisiting this once too-familiar routine. Just a few years ago, I might have passed through an airport a hundred times in any 500 days, an energy-draining experience at several levels and one leaving a carbon footprint the size of a dinosaur.
Last week’s return visit to Copenhagen worked smoothly. Happily, both planes were on time and after two vaccinations, my EU pass sanitaire proved an open sesame in Denmark (green listed). I saw Europa Capital’s recent property investments, stayed in a hotel with character and had lively conversation with our local partners on subjects from beyond a French echo chamber. After a long confinement within France’s borders, I learned new things and felt my horizons broadened.
Roissy Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) looked familiar but different. The sense of suspended reality in airports felt magnified by masks and seating areas where every other chair had a big X labelled ‘Don’t sit here!’. The pandemic has famously accelerated the adoption of technology. In an airport context, it seems that means less printed boarding passes and more QR codes on phones. Judging from CDG last week, the pandemic may also have accelerated a change in airport dress codes – stretchy leggings and hoodies seem to be replacing jackets and smart shoes. Some travellers were even shuffling around the terminal with no shoes at all.