Air Travel During Covid

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We did it. We boarded a plane last week. The last time we traveled by air was in February. Just got back from a visit with Catherine. Too busy to sit down and write the same chapter from the old story at Castle Black, I thought I’d share our air travel experience during Covid.

Despite what you might hear about the quality of air on an airplane, according to science and my pilot friend, it is far cleaner than many facilities on the ground.

Chicago’s Midway Airport Food Court at 11:00 am

The entire process from stepping out of our car into the terminal, through security, boarding, flight, to exiting the Chicago airport was seamless. More like moving through a library than any airport I’ve seen. Since there’s still some down time while catching a flight, I took the opportunity to look at this Covid-era-of-travel objectively.

Pros

Congestion-free drive to departure gates.

Short TSA wait times. Normal wait times at MCO are 40 minutes, ours was 10.

Airport restrooms are nearly sparkling clean. Hand sanitizers around every corner.

More room onboard. Our flight was at 60% capacity on a mid-day, non-stop.

Planes looked cleaner. Nowadays, many passengers are wiping down their own spaces. With limited inflight snacking, the cabin was tidier.

Less passengers = more overhead space.

Southwest does a pretty good job keeping a schedule and with far fewer passengers to shuffle between flights, a 30 minute turnaround is simpler. Our flight arrived 15 minutes early.

Cons

Although there is more space, the required face coverings limit your virtual space. In a word. . . different.

Lack of inflight amenities. With the exception of the safety briefing card and barf bag, that was it for reading material. Pack a book. We were served a can of water and the normal free snacks. A break from the face covering. 

Increased risk of acquiring Covid. Even though precautions are in place, we realize that enclosed spaces with lots of people in close quarters are the ingredients to the virus finding a new host. We were especially cautious in the airport. In the plane we kept our guard up, knowing that modern aircraft are equipped with effective air filters, increased cleanliness protocols “the likelihood of contracting the virus is extremely low.”(World Health Org)

As efficient as the crew worked, the 2 1/2 hour flight seemed longer, like 4 hours.


Would we travel by air again during Covid?

If we can stay healthy, get better control over the pandemic, and get used to wearing a face covering for several hours at a time, yes we will! September is a good month to travel but come the winter months I think we’ll stay in Florida.

Our overall thought on air travel during the pandemic? Just plane. . .WEIRD?!

Glen Ellyn Woods

Figured we could cover a lot of ground in just over two weeks. With the two large yards, landscaping was Woody’s job. Hali spent most of her time indoors covering the bases on each corner of Catherine’s desk: phone calls, appointments, the balancing act, home plate.

And we had some fun. The evening banter between Hali, Woody and Catherine was friendly, funny, frustrating, and at times sounded like a broken record. Catherine took us to De Marcos where they make my favorite grilled octopus-squid salad. The neighbors invited us over for a lovely outdoor dinner, followed by a soirée featuring the musical Hamilton. Spent the night with Ruth as Lake Michigan was turning from summer to fall and Evanston’s version of Chicago’s landmark “Bean” sculpture met us at the corner.

Overall thought on our visit with Catherine? SHIT HAPPENS!!

SHIT GETS DONE!!

About Woody

We are a couple who took the first step toward a life of traveling in May, 2015. Staying within the continental US, we amp'd the adventure-factor by traveling in a VW Vanagon, circa 1985. Our mission is to share irresistible and compelling stories conceived from this lifestyle of travel.

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