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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at American chapter.

It’s obvious that flying shouldn’t be top on people’s priority list in the midst of a global pandemic. However as we’ve seen over the last couple of months, life still goes on, which means there are certain situations where flying is necessary.

Recently I had a situation where I need to fly back to my hometown from D.C., here are a couple of things I picked up on when I flew during a global pandemic.

It’s more crowded than you would expect

When I was preparing for my trip to the airport I really wasn’t that nervous. Mostly because I thought that due to the pandemic the airports and plane would be pretty empty. When I got to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, I felt like I was sent back into my 2019 travel days, the only difference was that everyone was wearing masks, well most people were. While there are social distancing marks all throughout the different areas of the airport, I rarely saw them being used and there wasn’t anyone enforcing it. Just be prepared that until you get past security, you might feel a little crowded. 

face mask prevention
Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

People Don’t Always Wear Mask 

Even though there is a mandatory mask mandate for everyone except little kids, several times I spotted people going maskless as I was going through the airport. While the majority of people were responsibly wearing masks, I felt acutely aware of any noses or mouths I saw. At one point a couple without masks sat next to me as I waited at my gate. Feeling uncomfortable, I politely asked them to put their masks on, by the looks on their faces you would have thought I asked them to commit a felony. If you are going to be flying soon, just be aware that not everyone wants to follow the rules and the best thing you can do is just try to steer clear of those people. 

Planes rides are pretty much the same

Again in preparation for my flight, I thought my plane would be less full than a pre-COVID ride or that the middle seats would be taken out. Instead, I walked on to a packed flight and sat elbow to elbow with a stranger. I was very thankful that the flight attendants passed out sanitary wipes as we walked on, and they noted that the plane was cleaned after each flight. Other than that and people wearing masks, it was a pretty standard flight. My recommendation is to do research on the airline’s precautions before booking your flight and pick the one you think you feel the most comfortable flying on, even if this means using an airline you haven’t used before. 

Overall flying during the pandemic was not the most positive experience, however, the more you prepare the safer you’ll feel. If you are planning on going to the airport anytime soon make sure you stalk up on hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes and do your part to keep others safe by wearing a mask. Safe travels!

Photos: Her Campus Media

Molly Molloy

American '22

Molly is a freshmen at American University. She loves fashion, exploring new places, and dogs! Molly is and active feminist and an aspiring journalist.