What It’s Like Traveling During COVID-19
Jason Daniel Shaw
LOS ANGELES INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
The Coronavirus pandemic has really put a damper on travel both domestically and around the world this year. Being someone who loves travel and does so a lot, I have felt like something was missing in my life for the past few months. So, as soon as the opportunity arose to travel to Florida, we took it. We booked a one-way flight to Florida because we weren’t sure how the trip would go and wanted flexibility in case things didn’t go as planned, for the bad, or good. We almost exclusively travel One World so we booked our flight from LAX to Orlando (MCO). One of the first things that we noticed was the drastically reduced number of flights and no options for a non-stop from LAX to MCO. We decided on the red eye flight that connected through Charlotte.
LAX TERMINAL 4
The day came and it was time to travel. The traffic around LAX was non-existent and it was great! Our departure was from terminal 4 and as we approached, you could tell this was not going to be a normal trip. And despite flying 37 flights and over 61,000 miles last year, there was a big of anxiety about this trip. We donned our masks and headed to the kiosks to check in and drop our checked bags. At TSA, there was only one line and pre-check was closed. However, there were only a handful of people going through. Once we got into the terminal, that is when reality set in – the halls were completely empty!
AMERICAN AIRLINES GATE AT LAX
Once we arrived at the gate, we realized that there was a decent number of people waiting on our flight – all social distancing of course. It made sense because I had received an offer to join the volunteer list because the flight was oversold. The gate agents were adamant about everyone wearing their masks and keeping their distance from each other. The boarding required you to scan your own boarding pass to minimize touch points. There was definitely a tension in the air on both sides, employees and passengers. In the end, they didn’t need any volunteers, but, our flight was completely full.
ON BOARD FLIGHT DURING COVID-19
Walking through the door of the aircraft, we were given a brown paper bag with some water, snacks and alcohol wipes. On board, all of the precautions that were taken at check in, TSA and the gate made no sense. Everyone was crowded together, every seat was full and there was no difference from a normal flight. It was an interesting contrast to what I had been hearing about social distancing on board. This definitely wasn’t happening. The flight was uneventful and everyone kept their masks on the entire time. However, there was an uneasy feeling every time someone sneezed or coughed. We made sure to use a lot of hand sanitizer and fared pretty well.
TRAVEL DURING COVID-19
In the end, it has been worth the risk for us because we were able to spend some time in Florida with family over the last couple weeks. We were also able to take a trip for our 1 year anniversary – something that we weren’t sure that we would be able to do a couple months ago. I would say that if you need to travel during this time, take a few extra precautions and you should be fine. If you are young and healthy and want to take advantage of the reduced crowds and cheap trips right now – do it. I will keep you updated on how travel continues to evolve as things hopefully get back to normal, or a new normal.