Traveling - it's still happening! Some people have valid reasons to travel and some people are still taking leisure vacations despite the pandemic but many airlines and airports are taking extreme measures and are following CDC guidelines to not only keep travelers safe, but also their staff. I took a last minute trip to Nevada last month to visit my family and here are some of the things that I learned during my travels as well as some of the precautions I took on my way to the west coast.
Before take off, I was watching YouTube videos of other travel bloggers who have previously flown during the pandemic as a way to mentally prepare myself on what to expect. I made sure to pack extras of everything like hand sanitizer, antibacterial wipes, and disposable masks. I took a COVID test prior to my take off date to make sure I wasn't carrying the virus by any means. Nevada did not have testing/quarantine requirements but I wanted to make sure I had a negative test because I didn't want to get my family sick.
When I went to the airport, it was the emptiest I had ever seen it. I flew with Delta Airlines as many travel bloggers highly recommended them and spoke highly of their COVID process. I was given a small Purell wipe by the flight stewardess as soon as I boarded my plane and once I sat down, I wiped my hands and my entire seat down like there was no tomorrow. Their cleaning process goes above and beyond as they sanitize the entire plane with these cool sanitizing devices that look like super soakers as well as installing high quality air filters to filter out any bacteria (this was what I was most afraid of was the recycled air!).
You are required to wear your mask throughout the entire flight aside from eating/drinking and the flight attendants WILL remind you to wear it if it's off for any other reason. For food/beverage services, the flight attendant give you a pre-packed bag of bottled water, snacks, a napkin, and a small packet of sanitizer. When I got to my layover stop, I saw a lot of food services closed and options were very limited - my only options during my Detroit layover was McDonalds, sushi, and overpriced deli.
The plane rides were not terrible and Delta has blocked off middle seats to ensure social distancing between passengers.
The plane rides were not terrible and Delta has blocked off middle seats to ensure social distancing between passengers. In a way, I did feel safe about my flight since I was not cramped in a row with two other people like sardines in a packet.
The airport in Detroit and in Vegas were the most compliant with mask-wearing and social distancing. Atlanta, however, was not as compliant as there were passengers walking around without masks as well as employees wearing the so-called "chin diapers". There were no officials enforcing the face masks which made me feel uncomfortable that they weren't taking it as seriously as other parts of the country.
If you do plan on traveling this holiday season, I would highly recommend you take caution as airports may start crowding and other passengers may not be as cautious as you are. Here's what I recommend you do:
- GET TESTED PRIOR TO YOUR TRIP - Even if your destination does not require a negative test or mandatory quarantine, the smartest decision (other than just staying home) is to get a negative test result before you travel. Not only will you know you're not carrying the virus, but you won't have to worry about transferring the virus to someone else. It also doesn't hurt to ask your family or friends to test as well so you can have a safe and healthy gathering. And don't forget to get tested when you return home so you are not transmitting the virus to anyone in your immedite household. Do your research, find your nearest testing facility, and schedule an appointment.
- REFRAIN FROM TOUCHING MANY SURFACES AT THE AIRPORT/ON THE AIRPLANE - Even way before COVID was a thing, many people are bound to get sick while traveling because of germs on every surface. There are thousands of people traveling every day, so many hands could have touched the same bathroom door as you! Try your best to avoid holding onto the handrail on the escalator or automatic walkways. If you do, sanitize your hands afterwards! There are multiple sanitizing stations everywhere in the airport. I usually sanitized my hands anytime I saw a dispenser, even if I had just sanitized my hands 10 minutes ago!
- BE CONSIDERATE OF OTHER PASSENGERS AND CONTINUE TO PRACTICE SOCIAL DISTANCING - Do not crowd around employees and other passengers. Just because the airport/plane is empty does not mean you have to stand so close to someone. Be considerate of other people around you and give them enough space to move around for them to be able to properly distance themselves.