Several airport and flight procedures have changed since I last traveled overseas, pre-pandemic, in 2019. (Fortunately there are no longer Covid protocols , for now at least. ) Here’s a few I noticed as a US citizen during our recent trip to London:
No more entry stamp in our US Passport for the UK: sadly, this is no more, thanks to today’s person-less immigration procedure (aka automatic epassport) involves interacting with a computerized machine, not a human. I don’t miss the sometimes hostile questions from the old human immigration officers, (how long you’re staying? when you are leaving?) But I still find it spooky to have to stand in front of a facial recognition machine, bleary-eyed after a long flight, to check while scanning my passport atop a screen — to check my identity by making sure my face matches my passport. Fingerprinting is also spooky…I watched some people, presumably not American citizens, doing this when entering the US.
No more paper forms to fill out before (or after) landing: this includes the once-standard form for entering the UK, which required you to give the address where you are staying during your visit. Upon returning to the US, we actually conversed with an immigration officer in a booth who took our photos, looked at our passports and gave us a form to declare our purchases for customs, if need be. (No need.) In the past you needed to fill out a customs form and do so in the plane. Bn
Older, less perfect-looking or polished flight attendants – Not that there is anything wrong with this but our flight attendants this trip appeared to be in their 50s or 60s, and dressed more casually. One female attendant was full of good humor; another looked downright unhappy, like she hated her job…Or maybe passengers.
More passengers with carry-on luggage, although still plenty of overhead compartment space – We gave up a rare chance to check our bags free of charge and instead lugged our suitcases onto the plane in order to avoid our bags being lost amidst other checked luggage and/or to shorten our journey out of the airport.