Industry Update
External Article 9 December 2020

"I've never felt such silence" - What it's like to work at an airport right now

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CNN — Gaëlle Simon, a check-in and boarding agent at Brussels Airport, Belgium, used to feel lucky to work at an airport.


"It's such a big and loving family," Simon tells CNN Travel. "Everyone feels connected with each other. Even with the passengers. Each day you come across so many beautiful people and stories in an airport. I never came home without something to tell."

But the past nine months have turned Simon's job upside down – working in an airport during a pandemic has stretched that family to breaking point.

As with the rest of the world, air travel in Europe has slumped drastically because of the coronavirus. Due to lack of demand, Simon, who is employed by a baggage handling company at Brussels Airport, has spent most days "sitting at home worrying about everything." Her work has dwindled to about five days a month.

"When I have to work a shift, it's not that fun as it used to be," says Simon.

Instead, she says her normal tasks have become dominated by trying to stay on top of the complicated entry regulations that now vary from country to country. Simon and her colleagues have to constantly check which places require negative Covid tests, which are closed, which are open, which require visas, or which have exceptions for certain travelers.

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