London — Recently I flew from London to the West Coast of the US — my first time on a plane in four months. This trip is one I took regularly in the pre-Covid era, to go see my parents, but this time each leg of the journey had an element of surprise.

Moving through an empty Heathrow airport, in which the hand-sanitising stations seemed to outnumber the travellers, was quieter and more pleasant than usual. But speaking to airline staff, when all parties are heavily masked, turned out to be difficult because of the muffling effect. Preparing for take-off, I suddenly appreciated the way the air stewards checked everyone was wearing a face covering. Landing in the US, passengers had to fill out a short health form for Covid-19.

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