Flying During the Pandemic

Last week I flew to Utah to stay at a timeshare we have and visit Alex and her family. Yes, I know the pandemic is still on but Utah had low cases as had Colorado. I felt that flying during the pandemic at this time was a pretty safe endeavor due to all the safety precautions on the airlines right now. I flew on Delta and Southwest and both have blocked the middle seat and all passengers have to wear masks throughout the flight. The airplanes are thoroughly cleaned, much better than usual, and I was equipped with my own disinfectant wipes and plenty of hand sanitizer. I was actually pretty excited to get back on a flight. Even if it was just to a neighboring state.

So how was my experience? Will I continue to travel domestically as things open up? I usually take a shuttle from Fort Collins to Denver International. Not wanting to increase my chances of catching Covid-19 I had my grandson drop me off. I later learned the shuttle company was closed till July anyway. Because I was just taking a carryon suitcase, I planned to get there closer to boarding time. I really was trying to avoid the crowds.

Denver International Airport Experience

I headed to security, and immediately noticed that the line was very short and almost everyone had masks on. Whew! That was good news. Usually, having the Clear Pass and TSA Precheck helps me breeze through security. With the smaller crowds, we all breezed through.

At DIA, you have to take a train to get to the terminals. Usually, people are packed like sardines on that train, but we had a lot of room and I felt comfortable on the train. Additionally, almost everyone had a mask on. It seems like people are pretty careful in Denver when flying during the pandemic.

Arriving at my terminal, I chose a seat that was far away from other passengers. I noticed everyone was doing the same and most people kept their masks on unless they were eating or drinking.

 

Denver International Airport security line

Security check-in lines were short in Denver the morning I left. One perk when flying during the pandemic!

Delta Flight Experience

Boarding my Delta flight to Salt Lake City was completely different than usual. Instead of boarding first class at the beginning, they started from the back of the plane. They called up ten rows at a time and boarded from the back to the front. This insured minimal passenger contact. As I stated before, Delta is blocking the middle seat, so I enjoyed my space and felt comfortable not sharing an armrest with another passenger.

The inflight snacks were presented in a plastic ziplock and included a savory cracker mix and a cookie plus a small water bottle. Hey, flying during the pandemic got me an extra snack! Not bad!

The flight is a short one hour flight so it wasn’t a long time to keep my mask on.  In total, I had it on for about 3 hours. I don’t love a mask but appreciate that we are all in this together, and am happy to wear one.

When I arrived at Salt Lake City airport, I noticed a decrease in mask compliance. I would say about 60-70% of the people in the airport had masks compared to 80-90% in Denver. Of course, during my trip, Utah’s COVID infections increased, so that may have been part of their problem. I immediately noticed they were way laxer about mask use than my area in Colorado has been!

Cliff Club Timeshare Experience

When I started my week at the Cliff Club Lodge, I noticed signs encouraging the use of masks in hallways and lobbies and most people followed that plan. Masks were readily available at the check-in desk and in stores and restaurants. The pool area was not busy most of the time and chairs were spaced out. I also noticed frequent cleaning throughout the resort. The only area I thought was lax was the fitness center. They only allowed 4-6 people at a time in the area but did not instruct us on using disinfecting wipes nor did I see someone come clean after us. I did personally use wipes before and after any weights I used the one day I used the facility. I actually left the fitness center early and didn’t return to use it due to the lack of cleaning. Instead, we focused on outdoor hikes.

They only clean our 2-bedroom condo once during the week and insisted that we be out during that time. Additionally, all staff at the resort always have to have masks on. They supplied us with bottles of disinfectant spray at check-in and there were many areas of disinfectant throughout the resort.

There is a tram, an alpine slide, and several other rides at the resort. They had severely decreased the numbers of people who could use these rides at a time and had six feet distances marked for the lines. Additionally, each ride was completely disinfected between rides.

As I previously stated, Utah had a rise in COVID infections during my stay and the signage changed to mandatory wearing of masks in all areas of the lodge later in the week.

 

Three women standing by fence

It was so much fun hiking with two of my daughters at the Cliff Club Resort in Snowbird, Utah.

 

Salt Lake City Airport Experience

I had a completely different experience flying during the pandemic when I came back to the Salt Lake City airport. There were big signs posted that masks were now mandatory and almost everyone had them one. That’s what an influx of the virus will get you! I headed to my gate and it was crowded – no thanks! I quickly found a nearby gate and waited there until just before boarding time.

 

Salt Lake City waiting area

I skipped my busy gate waiting area and came to this quiet area!

 

Southwest Flight Experience

Southwest Airlines usually has you line up by letter and number. On this flight, they called ten people up at a time to board. This decreased the people in line but not the number of people who passed by each other. I like Delta’s idea better. I was exhausted so fell asleep and missed the inflight snack. The person near me said  it was a snack and a cup of water that the attendants passed out. Again, I like Delta’s way better. The good news is that the middle seat is blocked unless you are traveling together.

Bottom Line

I felt pretty safe on my flying experience during this pandemic but I traveled as states were opening up. I also took good care of myself, bringing wipes, sanitizer, and moving to locations where there were fewer travelers. Do I want to travel internationally anytime soon? Heck no! Wearing a mask for 12+ hours and worrying about a virus would zap all the fun out of traveling. I think I’ll stick to driving nearby until things settle down. I don’t think I’ll even be flying domestically until things calm down more. How about you? What are your travel plans as things start opening up?

 

 

pinterest graphic flying during the pandemic

 

Airplane wing in the sky

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