Traveling Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

People share their experiences traveling by flight and taking extra precautions during the pandemic.

It is safe to say that the airline industry was pretty much paused for about four months due to the coronavirus. But it couldn’t go on in that manner for much longer. As airlines reopen with increased precautions, it is debatable whether they are fully meeting the promise of guaranteed safety.  

I, myself, traveled by flight during the summer and let me tell you that I didn’t have the best experience. There was nothing wrong with the airport or the airlines itself, I felt just like how I would while traveling without the coronavirus going around, but that was exactly my problem. I didn’t feel like I was traveling amid a pandemic. 

People were wearing masks and fairly distant from each other for the most part, but there were times when there was no six feet distance, especially with the seating arrangement. The middle seats were blocked, but the distance between the window and the aisle seats is not six feet. The only difference I noticed was that we were given a sanitizer right after boarding the flight and the food was handed to us in plastic bags to avoid direct contact with the food. With only these basic precautions taken, I didn’t feel as safe as I would have liked. 

Although other people had similar experiences with flying, they had different opinions about the whole experience. 

“[My] experience flying during COVID was pretty normal actually,” Senior Danielle Talpesh said.  “There was one seat empty because there are 3 seats in a row. Snacks on the plane were prepackaged and they gave us hand sanitizer and hot towels to clean our hands with.” 

Talpesh was happy with the service she received when traveling. “There isn’t really anything I would change, the airline staff was pretty well prepared for this different time to travel.” 

Irrespective of whether or not these precautions are actually helping, there is one precaution that the airline’s staff are extremely strict about the passengers following — wearing a mask. After CDC, a national public health institute, released information about how useful the mask actually is, the airlines have been very specific about the passengers as well as the staff on board wearing a mask throughout the journey. 

According to Fox2Detroit, American Airlines was “willing to kick over 200 passengers off the plane because one person didn’t want to wear their mask.” In the article, American Airlines  expresses how serious they are about everyone on board wearing masks. 

“We are committed to protecting the safety and well-being of our customers and team members, which is why we enforce our policy for required face coverings,” the American Airlines spokesperson said. “We expect customers who choose to fly with us to comply with these policies, and if necessary, we will deny future travel for customers who refuse to do so.” 

In addition to having everyone wear masks and handing out sanitizer, the airline’s staff could check the temperature of the passengers to make sure no one has a fever. This would greatly help since it is otherwise impossible to know if a fellow passenger is sick. Even though the airlines might not have taken the best possible precautions, it is clear that their top priority is the safety of their customers. To achieve their goal of keeping their passengers safe, it would be helpful if they took it up a notch and came up with more precautions in order to ensure the safety of the passengers as well as the staff on board.