Wild Bum founder, Mollie, recently took a trip that required flying. We thought it would be helpful to readers to share with you what it’s really like to fly right now. With things in life (especially when it comes to travel) being so uncertain, we want to share one person’s experience, in hopes that it will help you with an upcoming flight or trip.
Please note: this is only one person’s experience. If you are flying in different airports, with different airlines, and different starting/final destinations, you may have a different experience.
My Experience Flying During COVID
I had the advantage to experience two different airlines on my recent domestic travel from MSP to PHX and I want to share what I learned. My first reaction to air travel at this time was that I was shocked at how easy it is. I anticipated more steps and delays. It was the same as always, if not faster, to get through the lines.
Flight Number 1:
I flew Delta on my first flight. Delta is fantastic (I am a Delta girl through and through) and my experience flying with them definitely reminded me why. Side note: a travel companion flew Southwest and had similar feelings, so put that on your list!
Delta has been so great about keeping that middle seat open and let me tell you, it makes a huge difference! Boarding and deplaning are done in a similar fashion to pre-Covid times, other than boarding back to front. Of course, you have your mask on, but if you feel nervous about not remaining six feet away as you board or get off the plane, I’d recommend speaking with the gate agent right away to determine the best way to make you feel comfortable.
Flight Number 2:
Now, let’s get to my second airline experience. Extremely different! We flew American Airlines back home from PHX to MSP. I could not believe how full the flight was, I actually doubled up on my masks! The middle seats are not left open. The entire plane was booked, and there were even people getting on stand-by.
While the flight attendants did walk through to make sure people had their masks on, the woman sitting at the window seat in my row looked out her window so that he didn’t notice that she did not in fact have her mask covering her nose, nor barely her mouth. So, as you can see, the airline you are flying can make a world of difference in the steps they are taking to make you feel comfortable and safe with flying at this time.
As far as the airports go, while not as bustling as pre-Covid days, I was surprised by how many people were traveling. Air travel appears to be picking up! If you are on the fence, I do think there are ways to ensure you stay healthy. Below, you’ll find 10 tips that I picked up for traveling right now.
10 Tips for Flying Right Now
1. Wear a mask!
Maybe bring a few, so you can rotate between the ones you wear in-flight, walking around, etc. and invest in a mask(s) that is comfortable (you’ll be wearing it for hours!) and one that stays secure over your nose and mouth.
2. Paper masks are a great option.
Consider bringing paper masks for the airport and throw them away when leaving the airport. Then, switch to a cloth mask to wear around your destination.
3. Try not to eat or drink much on the flights.
This is a personal preference, but if you can manage not to, you will save yourself from taking your mask off and putting it back on too many times.
4. Where your glasses.
If you have glasses, you can wear them to protect your eyes.
5. Bring an “airport outfit”
Bring along clothes that you specifically plan to only wear at the airport. Change out of these clothes when you arrive at your destination. If it makes you feel better you can even shower as soon as you arrive at your destination.
6. Research which flight options / airlines are best for you.
If you can, fly airlines that are keeping the middle seat open. After booking your flight, research the airline that you will be flying with to see what types of steps they are taking to make it safe for their passengers! That way you can be sure to follow their guidelines. Also, if you find that they aren’t taking enough precautions to make you feel comfortable, you can switch to a different airline, or bring extra supplies to ensure you feel better.
7. Pack sanitizer wipes and hand sanitizer.
For peace of mind, you can sanitize your hands and wipe down your seat.
8. Pack snacks.
You may also want to pack your own snacks. When we flew American and they gave us baggies with water, crackers and sanitizer when we boarded but there is no in-flight service (to limit spread of germs), so if you hunger easily – pack snacks.
9. Get tested.
For peace of mind, you can get tested after arriving at your destination and after arriving back home.
10. Be a kind human.
Be generous toward others! Especially the elderly and those who are immunocompromised. We’re all in this together.
For more tips on planning a trip at this time and how to be safe when you arrive to your destination, check out these two posts: How to Social Distance Your Travels | Revenge Travel: Plan Now for After the Pandemic