Air traffic between Russia and Turkish resorts has been operating since August 10. And, as these three days have shown, rumors of draconian security measures in the country are greatly exaggerated. Aside from the need to keep your mask on the plane and maintain social distance in the restaurant, not much has changed. It is noticeable that in a pandemic, tour operators have a hard time and they are trying to save money – instead of a guide on the bus, tourists are accompanied by an audio recording, and in hotels representatives of travel companies are not visible at all. In some places they will be ready to accommodate you even with high temperatures. At the same time, some of the hotels have not yet opened, which means that visitors have a risk of ending up not at all where they planned. The Izvestia correspondent, who was among the first tourists from Russia to arrive here, was convinced of this.
At Sheremetyevo, the temperature is measured at the entrance. We are transported by an airline that has both regular and charter flights, and check-in takes about 15 minutes. But a low-cost airline is taking luggage nearby, and there is a queue to its counters, in which there is no question of distance. However, we also had to spend 20 unpleasant minutes on the bus, which took us to the plane – there were a lot of passengers in it – without any corrections for the pandemic.
The rules of baggage transportation have changed: now you can take only a handbag, a computer, and children’s things into the cabin. However, as it turned out later, at passport control in Antalya there were passengers leaving the plane with small backpacks.
The board is large – a two-deck Boeing-747 for several hundred seats, while there are no free seats in the economy class. All staff are wearing masks and gloves all the time. Passengers are also asked not to take off their masks and are warned: visiting toilets is limited, standing in the aisles is prohibited.
At the Antalya airport, the temperature is measured with a special camera aimed at the queue that was moving towards passport control. An ambulance is on duty right there – and this was the only moment in three days when we saw the medical personnel.
On board, tourists are asked to fill out a questionnaire: name, age, name of the tour operator and hotel, whether they have had COVID-19. These documents must be submitted at the airport upon arrival. But before our eyes they flew into a huge garbage bag – this is how they were collected by an employee of the Antalya air harbor. Who and how deals with these papers further is unknown.
By the way, my family and I ended up in a completely different hotel from which we planned – so according to the data indicated in the questionnaire, it will be impossible to find us. Already on the spot, it turned out that the hotel had not yet opened, so the guests were being taken to a completely different place.
There were much fewer guides: there was no escort from the tour operator on our bus, we did not find a single guide at the hotel either.
At check-in, the temperature is also measured. When asked at what values they will not be allowed in, the employee replies: at 38-38.5 C °. And then he explains: a person can overheat in the sun, this must also be borne in mind.
Masks at the hotel are asked to be worn everywhere except the beach. Boxes with them stand at the entrance to the restaurant. And the staff really make sure that guests do not approach the common food without protection, but in the beach bar, no one thinks about precautions anymore.
All staff, including waiters and cleaning ladies, wear masks at all times. The tables are disinfected after each visitor. It is forbidden to put food on the plate yourself – this is done by the chefs and their assistants. By the way, food has become smaller, and it is offered quite sparingly. And the mask can be removed already at the table. But there is nowhere to put it, so the devices often touch the used personal hygiene products.
Many hotels have not yet opened, but where there are tourists there are many. Although this year there are much more travelers than usual from Turkey itself. There are also enough Russian speakers, although there are both Arabs and Germans.
Parachutes and other pleasures of the Turkish holiday work, while there is no sold-out in the sea. But on the beach with sun loungers, no one observes social distance. And there are no restrictions on visiting the outdoor pool. Only the closed one does not work, but, for example, you need to sign up for the gym in advance.
Evening entertainment also remained from the dock era: discos – both for children and adults – are taking place. And nobody forbids leaving the hotel.
And a new price
Izvestia interviewed several major aggregators. They record an increase in the price of tickets for flights to Turkey compared to August-September last year. The spread is quite large – in some areas, price increases range from 19% to 71%.
Aviasales say that a round-trip ticket to Turkish resorts with a departure on August 10-31 costs an average of 24.7 thousand rubles per passenger, which is 30% more expensive than a year ago. Aviasales does not disclose absolute figures, but they say that on these dates Turkey overtook Gelendzhik in terms of the number of tickets sold.
The average check for flights to Turkey and back in August-September increased by 25% compared to last year to 17.8 thousand rubles, according to Biletix. OneTwoTrip records an increase in prices from 21 thousand to 25 thousand rubles.
The demand for tickets is growing every day, but at the moment it has not reached last year’s volumes. For September, the most favorable prices for tickets to Antalya: the average minimum cost for a one-way flight from Moscow is 5.7 thousand, from St. Petersburg is already more expensive – 8 thousand rubles.
For tickets already sold for August-September from Moscow to the resort, prices have increased by 26%, according to Tutu.ru. The average check for a round-trip flight between St. Petersburg and Antalya increased by 35%, between the Russian capital and Dalaman – by 71%.
The most notable increase is observed in tickets from Moscow to Bodrum – they have jumped in price by more than two times, Tutu.ru reported. The flight from St. Petersburg to this resort has risen in price by 45%. And the most affordable tickets from Rostov-on-Don to Bodrum and Dalaman – they have fallen in price by 17% and 40% compared to last year.