express– Fiona Mallinson spent 20 years working in the travel industry, with 16 of those as cabin crew. She’s been everywhere, from paradisiac Caribbean islands to freezing cold Greenland, and is now sharing her knowledge and insights with Doors2Manual customers, and Express.co.uk readers.
Fiona, like the rest of the world, was grounded during the pandemic.
As soon as she could, however, she went travelling, and the experience of jetting off to Portugal “when it briefly opened up in June” has given her some insight into what it takes to have a “proper holiday” without worries.
She said: “I did so much research, by the time I got everything together, our tests, our passenger locator forms, I knew it was the right thing.
“When the day of travel came, I was confident in my holiday booking.
“You need to go into it prepared.
“And we had an absolutely wonderful holiday, with no hiccup at all, because I’d done the preparation in advance.”
With two young boys, Fiona had to get it right for her holiday, and being cabin crew didn’t give her more information than the rest of the country.
She continued: “I think a lot of people have relied on social media or word of mouth, but if you’re thinking about travelling, check the government website.
“They have the most up to date information, it’s accurate, there’s no hearsay, it tells you exactly what you need to enter a country, whether it be your destination or coming back to the UK.
“It gives it to you in black and white, there’s no fluffiness, it tells you exactly what you need
“At the moment as well, with leaving the EU, there are issues surrounding passports.
“You need more time on your passport than you did before, so it’s always worth checking that as well.”
But Fiona’s knowledge is not limited to Europe, and she had one incredible tip for long-haul flights.
She said: “If you’re travelling business class, I would never sit at the back.”
While this may come as a surprise to many, the back of business class “backs on to the economy cabin, and in that economy cabin, the front is where they put the baby bassinet”.
Paying for business class and ending up with the economy’s babies is probably not what travellers have in mind when splashing the cash.
Fiona continued: “If you’re at the back of business class, it’s very likely you’re going to have a baby right behind you, in economy class.
“It varies slightly from airline to airline, but as a general rule, that’s often the way it works out.
“I know I’ve been that person in economy with a screaming baby at the front.
“There’s nothing worse than being the person in business class with a screaming baby behind the curtain, essentially.”