First-Hand Accounts of Traveling During COVID-19July 20, 2020 | By Leah Freeman-Haskin
It’s no surprise travel looks different amidst the current pandemic. For those on the fence about taking the next trip or who are anxious about the ways in which our global travel experience has changed, here are insights from recent travelers including one flight attendant.
What are the Positive Changes?
Flight Attendant and Content Creator Brianna F. noticed the calmness, cleanliness, and quietness of the airports to be a positive change. Terminals are less congested and cleaner than in the past. “I will surely miss this when everything gets back to ‘normal’ and customers begin to fly again,” says Fletcher. Hooda B. who recently traveled to Mexico shared similar positive experiences with the calmness and organization of the experience. She noted, to maintain social distancing on the plane, you must wait until the row before you gets their bags and clears the aisle before the next row can stand up to deplane, creating a much more effective and calmer experience.
What are the Negative Changes?
Everything is closed. From magazine vendors to restaurants, most of the airport businesses are shut down. “I didn’t realize how accessible and convenient the shops were in the airport terminals until I could no longer stop in for something as simple as a bottle of water,” says Fletcher. Another traveler, Damisi A., recently flew from New York to Seattle and noted that the lack of food service on the planes is also a frustrating experience. There is no in-flight service, no alcohol and flight attendants are not walking up and down the aisle, even in first class.
Did You Feel Safe?
It seems recent travelers felt safe while navigating airports and boarding their aircrafts. “Surprisingly traveling during this pandemic; I feel absolutely safe,” says Brianna. “The aircrafts are much cleaner than ever before, social distancing on the airplanes is enforced, wearing masks is a requirement, and my airline suspended beverage service. I personally feel that my airline has made significant changes and implemented guidelines to make sure all employees feel safe while flying.”
While in Mexico, Hooda B. was impressed by the protocols in place. From wiping down seating to temperature checks, she felt comfortable that workers at the resort were doing everything they could to ensure the health and safety of guests.
Do People Need More Time in the Airport Now?
Currently, the process for checking in, getting through security and boarding the plane seems fast and efficient. If passengers continue to follow the recommended grace periods, they should have enough time to reach their gate. However, as more people begin to travel again, this could change. As passenger numbers increase along with the new protocols in airports, you will most likely need to give yourself more time to make sure you catch your flight.
What was the Overall Vibe of Airport Workers?
Fletcher recalls the atmosphere amongst aviation workers (cleaners, gate agents, flight attendants and mechanics) seems to be very positive considering the pandemic. Damisi A. agreed with this sentiment, adding, “they stay to themselves and honestly seem like they don’t want to be bothered (not in a bad way) because they don’t want to get infected. They are more inclined to help if you thank them for working during these times.” Graciousness and courtesy are always helpful and are needed now more than ever as people struggle to deal with their anxiety and stress about the pandemic.
Although everyone’s travel experiences are different, these insights should help to manage your expectations and concerns for your next trip. Be safe, be healthy, and remember, this too shall pass.