Aside from a one night stay in Charlotte back in June, this is the first trip report from J5Travel since last December. I've felt it very important to be focused simply on inspiring you all to keep on dreaming of future travel. Finally though I feel that it's time to show those who are contemplating travel now or in the next several months just what it's like out there and what to expect. Whilst my trip reports are usually rather glamorous and highlighting the spectacular hotels, destinations and local connections, this first report for 2020 will instead talk you through the practical aspects of todays travel environment, with a little bit of inspiration thrown in of course.
We remain, Ready When You Are.
It was pretty early on Sunday morning, but I was still stunned by the vision that greeted me at Charlotte Airport's Main Concourse (above), with every single one of the famous rocking chairs sitting empty, a sad reflection indeed of 2020.
Top 5 - What Does Travel Look Like Today?
1. American Airlines
Delta I believe are the only major domestic US airline still blocking middle seats and they have committed to do that through the first week of January. Bravo.
With the continued reduction of flight schedules due to increased financial pressure, more flights are actually filling up. By boarding time in Charlotte my AA flight to DFW reached 80% capacity I'd estimate. TSA security had been a breeze, though they did ask for my phone and swabbed it. That was a first for me.
The first leg was super smooth. Masks were worn by all and the requirements seemed to be being followed to the letter by everyone. Onboard service is very limited. In the photo above, everyone gets handed the 3 items on the left in a clear Ziploc bag, and First Class had the choice of my turkey and brie sandwich on the right or a fruit plate, and I took a coffee with it.
2. DFW to SJD
I promised to be honest so here you go...
My second flight of the day between DFW (Dallas) and SJD (San Jose del cabo) had me feeling mildly uncomfortable. I was seated in the front row of economy class which is not the reason. Ahead of me in the 4 rows of First Class was a party of 6. No spirits were available but beer and wine was free flowing. Now the "rules" state you can remove your mask to eat and drink, but all 6 in polite terms, "flouted" this, proceeding to have a drink in front of them almost the entire flight and they were therefore maskless.
They were far enough away from me that I didn't feel vulnerable but there was an elderly couple in the middle of them, and it just didn't sit well. It's a borderline call if the flight attendants should have intervened, but they didn't. This is an important consideration in your potential travel planning, as you may be reliant on others to contribute to your safety. Economy really behaved itself well!
3. Why You Need a Travel Advisor!
I had to sneak this in. I was around 25th to deplane on arrival in Mexico, yet not one person in front of me had the correct documents completed and they were struggling to comprehend what they had missed.
You currently need 3 forms fully completed for entry to Mexico.
1. Immigration form (available electronically beforehand)
2. Customs form (handed out on the plane) though they often run out so I'm told.
3. Covid health questionnaire, which seemed to be what most had not realized was needed (also can be filled in electronically prior to travel)
As you'll see in the photo above, I was first to baggage claim, and luckily golf clubs and bag were pretty much first up also.
4. Arrival at airport and resort
I have been extremely impressed so far by the safety protocols being followed in the Mexico tourism areas. Every airport employee was wearing a mask. Every taxi/private driver I saw outside was wearing a mask. My private driver gave me a dollop of hand sanitizer so large, I could have enjoyed a full body rub with it. He also rubbed down my bag with a Clorox wipe and both my bags were sprayed with disinfectant before being loaded into my car. He also wore his mask for the entire journey.
Arrival at my first resort, the JW Marriott Los Cabos was bordering on overkill, dare I say, but certainly provided a secure feeling. My luggage was sprayed again and I was squirted with more hand sanitizer. My temperature was taken in a split second before I was allowed to enter. All lobby staff are wearing masks and a face visor.
One extra Covid questionnaire had to be completed along with the usual check-in documentation. I was staying in the upgraded Griffin Club area and so my butler gave me a quick lowdown as we walked to my room. Capacity is currently capped at 40% maximum and it does feel very quiet. Everything though is open apart from the jacuzzis in the Spa.
5. JW Marriott Los Cabos
So just a little resort inspiration for you with my photos here, but I also need to let you know how a resort like this is operating currently.
The room: A big label was stuck across the door, saying "we guarantee your room was sanitized". It was spotlessly clean. Seat pillows and reading materials have been removed.
The restaurants: Restaurant protocols such as a temperature check before being seated (for every meal), mask wearing when walking about, and tables 10 feet apart, along with all servers adorned in masks and visors provided a real sense that the resort takes health and safety very seriously indeed. I even had to sanitize my shoes after coming off the beach in order to enjoy breakfast.
The Spa: A few treatments are currently not available, but with appointments you are going to enjoy private and safe experiences. I've just moved on to my second resort of the trip and next week will focus a little more on the great resorts and activities Los Cabos has to offer.
If you might be ready to "Book Your Bubble" please hit the button below.
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