Flying During Quarantine

Flying During Quarantine

Kira Inman, Staff Writer

During quarantine, it is not recommended for people to be in enclosed spaces within close proximity to each other. An airplane is not the ideal place to be during a pandemic, so airports and flight companies have had to make accommodations. 

I go on flights several times every year, this year has been no different. While many things remain the same about flying many have changed as well. For instance, it is mandatory to wear a mask. On a typical year’s flight, I would arrive early at the airport, check my luggage in, and then make my way to the security checkpoint. Usually, the lines here are quite long, and depending on what airport you are at, can take anywhere from about ten to forty-five minutes. However, due to Covid-19, security passes faster than ever as many are afraid to travel or are unable to travel.

After passing through security and wandering around the airport, a few differences became noticeable. The first among these starts at the very doors of the airport where worn-down floor signs are placed in order to remind flyers and staff to maintain social distancing and keep six feet apart. The second was the numerous hand sanitizer stations placed throughout the building, if you missed one while walking there was another waiting just a few more feet ahead. Additionally, in some, not all, of the areas with rows of seats, every other seat was taped off so that people would not sit close to each other. A cleaning crew can also be seen in bathrooms and other areas of the airport more frequently than in other years.

While waiting for boarding to start, many flyers would take their extra time as an opportunity to look for food. Unfortunately, several of the restaurants and other dining establishments that can be found in the terminal have temporarily closed or shortened their hours so that finding a meal has become more difficult. The places that have remained open have been ransacked or are not worth the wait as thirty-minute lines formed outside of the stores and restaurants.  Even the small food carts and vending machines had been stripped of their goods. The establishments have a limit to how many people can be inside them at once, furthering the wait time for each line. Water fountains were also unavailable, leaving the station to fill empty water bottles as the only source of free water. 

Despite signs of social distancing being spread throughout the airport, most flyers ignored the signs and remained close together. In the areas with no taped-off seats, people chose to sit closer to each other, filling every seat in a terminal just before a flight. For flights with no assigned seating, boarding remained largely the same. People vied to get on the plane in the order they paid for, maybe a little ahead, they packed together in lines trying to get on the plane. 

With the exception of having to wear a mask, flying remained mostly the same. Most flights left no spaces in seats for social distancing. Masks were mandatory unless eating, many opting to wear two masks at once. However, it was clear that some kids had trouble following this rule as a child at one point attempted to offer their mask to me. 

While it may not have been included in my traveling experience, many airports require a negative covid test or a specific number of days spent in self-quarantine before flying. LAX has several testing sites and results can be received quickly if paid for. In addition, some locations have restricted travel or do not allow travel by plane at all. 

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