COVID-19 has hit us really bad. As of writing this piece, its been close to 5 months where the daily life has come to a pause. Offices have shifted to the Work From Home Culture and people have been adapting themselves to the new norms of the lifestyle during the pandemic. On the contrary, certain industries still need to operate in person and certain things cannot be virtual at all. I had to fly from Dallas, TX (DFW) to New York City(LGA) for unavoidable reasons and this blog shares a few tips, tricks and experiences that I learned and discovered which might help you to make your travel safe.
Fly Economy : Have a flexible schedule and at least a 2 days window for your travel. Once your travel date window is decided, shop around for the flight tickets. For my trip, I observed that almost all the American Airlines flights had their First Class Seats filled up, whereas the Economy class was 60–65% occupied. Now, that gives a very good chance of maintaining social distancing. The odds are in your favor that of the 3 seats in a row, you will find at least 1 empty seat as compared to those First Class seats. I was allotted the seat 20D with no one else in 20E and 20F (yes, an empty row), thereby giving me ample space and distance from other passengers. Thus, flying First Class isn’t always necessarily better.
What to Wear?
Masks : I bought a KN95 mask and a regular surgical mask. I had decided to keep my face covered at all the times until I reached my destination.
Why the double mask? Well, here’s the plan. KN95s are very strong masks and it’s cumbersome to wear them all the time (Hats off to the Healthcare workers who stay suited up all the time, top to bottom). I had the KN95 at all the crowded places and would switch to the surgical ones as soon as I get a socially distant feeling.
And on being paranoid, I would wear the Surgical one on top of the KN95 :)
Also, I chose to discard all that I will be wearing during my travel. So, I chose a pair of clothes that I had planned to get rid of from a long time. As soon as I reached my destination, all the clothes went into a trash bag and I went straight for the warm shower.
Gloves: Stock up on these precious and noble inventions made by mankind. I had dual layer of gloves on me. I knew I would come in contact with a lot of things. And the plan was to discard the top layer before drinking water or taking a bite of snack. Safety first! Once done refueling, I would put on a fresh pair of gloves as the 2nd layer again. A few of you might be thinking that it’s overdoing, but the very fact that we are on this blog says that we all are concerned about the safety and it’s better safe than to be sorry. So, read on!
Checked In Bags
I had to check in my bags and thus I decided to have my bags wrapped in the plastic. I got the roll of plastic wrap from Home Depot for $12. I did this so that, I can get keep my stuff safe from any slightest chances of contamination. As soon as I collected my bags from the baggage claim carousel, I took off the wrap and trashed it away.
Luckily it also helped me keep my things safe and dry as it was raining heavily while we landed. And I could see that most of the bags had got slightly drenched (may be while transporting the bags from the aircraft to the baggage loading section).
Get a Water Bottle
Make sure to have your own personal water bottle. You can carry an empty bottle to the airport and refill it past the security check. It would come in handy as you won’t have to reach out to any vending machines or shops that might be visited by a lot more travelers. Also, helps to not ring the Call for Assistance Bell in-flight.
Airlines are doing their best to protect their customers. I flew with American Airlines and I was awed by their seriousness in handling the COVID situation. They made regular announcements in the airport and in-flight to ensure that every traveler had their face mask on at all the times.
American Airlines have also stopped their Onboard catering and have instead started handing over a basic kit to the passengers while on-boarding the aircraft. The kit usually contains a Bottle of Water, a snack and a Hand Sanitizer Sachet.
Hitting the Loo?
Let’s talk the obvious. A 4-hours flight would most probably make you visit the restroom at least once. Well, no special instructions here. Just make sure you wipe the Toilet Seat Before and After Use without fail. Other than that, if possible, close the lid and flush it before use (and of course after use).
Do I need a PPE Gown?
No, you don’t! I have been asking this question to myself until I began my journey. I had also planned on buying one from Amazon for my travel. But, the fact is that you don’t really need one. Airports are scarcely populated these days and I felt very comfortable as soon as I stepped inside. The Security Check Queues were literally empty and so were the Baggage Drop Counters.
However, please ensure that you are having the basic safety measures like a face shield/mask and hand gloves. DO NOT compromise on these as they are the most important ones that would keep you shielded.
All that I mentioned above are simple things that everyone knows about. Sometimes, stating the obvious becomes necessary. Be safe, be healthy!
Let’s do our best in the battle against COVID-19. Travel only if necessary, stay indoors and have patience.
I hope that the Virus goes away very soon and life gets back to normal. This reminds me of my cute little niece Ishi. She says that the virus will be gone by the time her birthday arrives and she will have a blast! I hope her dream comes true. She’s turning 5 this October…