I booked a flight and took a quick trip over the weekend. I wanted to share a few observations as I’ve now done a half dozen flights over the last month:
- Airports are crowded. Data may show numbers are down but I flew out of a hub (Charlotte) and the terminal and lines were robust. If you are not comfortable with crowds yet, flying is NOT for you.
- As far as I see there’s good compliance with mask wearing and no one has been a problem. I feel a level of discomfort from some people with others eating/drinking with their mask down while waiting for their flight but there’s been no big blowups. People move or do their own thing. My feeling is that masks at airports are here for the long haul.
- Planes are full and seats seem smaller. I’ve been ‘splurging’ on seats with extra room. Plus this gets me into a zone that gets called early enough to find some space for my bag overhead. Anything after Zone 6 on an American Airlines flight has proven to be a ‘you’re gate checking your bag’ situation. If you aren’t a frequent flier, upgrading to priority boarding is worth it.
- With flight cancellations and seemingly tighter layovers, book direct flights if at all possible.
- Finally, if you don’t fly much, make yourself familiar with what TSA screening is and prepare your bags and pockets and shoe choice accordingly. We had a guy in a busy line Friday who didn’t empty his pockets, was traveling with food and liquids and held his keys in his hand as he went through the screening machine. It just delays everything. And with so many people feeling anxiety about crowds or getting to flight on time, no need to agitate. Pack your bag so you can pull out the laptop or tablet easily to put in a bin. Wear easy off shoes with socks (since going thru barefoot doesn’t seem all that hygienic to me). Go to the airport with empty pockets (outside of ID). Can you choose pants or shorts where you don’t need a belt?
I am not a lover of flying, but it does extend how far I can go on a weekend. Plan ahead; take a deep breath and go. Travel is good for the soul.
Dry Guy Andy