Elma Smit documents her first flight during lockdown: ‘I felt pretty anxious for the first 20 minutes’

Elma Smit. (Photo: Instagram/
Elma Smit. (Photo: Instagram/ elmakapelma)

The lockdown travel restrictions have been a hard pill to swallow, especially for a thrill-seeker like Elma Smit.

Since the start of the lockdown in March, we’ve all been confined to our homes.

However, when regulations were eased under level 3 and domestic air travel was permitted again for business purposes, the radio host didn’t think twice before hopping on a plane to Cape Town to host a BrightRock live stream event at Newlands rugby stadium.

The sports presenter, who loves travelling locally and abroad, documented her flying experiences and shared it with her friends and family on social media.

“I had to be checked by three people,” Elma said in her vlog. “The first one wanted to check if I had my permits from the parking lot [and] a permit that says my employer gave me permission to travel [was checked by another].

“The third person scanned my temperature, then [I] proceeded to the boarding gate.”

Back from her trip, Elma spoke to YOU magazine from her home in Johannesburg where she lives with her husband, Richard Maspero, recounting her experience flying for the first time in a long while.

She likens the boarding process to going grocery shopping during the lockdown.

“I felt pretty anxious for the first 20 minutes, it’s strange how quickly we’ve become used to keeping our distance from people,” Elma tells us. “Being in a small space like a plane with so many others felt weird.

“I think the major shift has been in how quiet the airport is. Before you get to your boarding gate there are so few people around that it feels very subdued.” 

The 34-year-old revealed that she was required to be at OR Tambo two hours before her flight departed to go through the precautionary measures, which was certainly different from her usual trips.

“I felt fortunate to travel again since it's something I used to do very regularly before lockdown and I hadn't realised how much I missed it,” Elma said.

“It's certainly a more arduous and stressful process now than it was before,” she added.

In February, before the lockdown came into effect, Elma travelled to Cape Town for her sister's kitchen tea and for the filming of the Lockdown Laughs video series with Jean de Villiers and Schalk Brits.  

It’s not all doom and gloom though. Transitioning to the new normal seems like quite a tough ask, but there’s one aspect Elma says she adores – and for which she applauds the essential workers.

“The thing I like the most about flying during Covid is that the air hostess tells you row by row to get up, grab your bags and go, so we don’t have hundreds of people crowding the aisle trying to get off the plane first.”



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