As I sit on this plane, looking out over the clouds and munching on a cinnamon cookie, travel almost seems normal. If you were an avid traveler before COVID-19 hit, you’re probably feeling a little stir crazy right about now. I know that I was really feeling stagnant and needed to leave my house. Lucky for me, I happened to have a free plane ticket waiting for me from a cancellation of another flight due to COVID earlier this year. So, as any compulsive traveler would do, I booked a flight that left less than 24 hours later, packed my bags, and left Oxford so fast my roommates didn’t even know I was gone.
So what was the flying experience like during COVID? It’s both the same, and very different. The Cincinnati airport looked like a ghost town at 1:30 in the afternoon. Instead of frantically dodging people left and right while dragging your suitcase behind you as you rush to get a snack before your flight takes off, the concourse feels pretty lonely. The stores are locked up, gates closed, and lights off. The only places that are open are the main food chains. Everyone is wearing a mask and the screens that give updates on flight departures have now added reminders to keep distance from others in the airport.
Once on the plane, you are handed a sanitizing wipe to personally clean your area on the plane. People are placed in every other seat, so if you were trying to find that Hallmark rom-com vibe with someone, it probably will not happen right now. You are also reminded to keep your mask on the whole flight, unless you’re eating or drinking. And speaking of eating, there isn’t an option to pick your drink or snacks. Instead, I was handed a little goody bag of assorted snacks and a small bottle of water. Honestly, it was pretty fun. I felt like I was back at a kindergarten birthday party where you were rewarded for having friends and being social. So here’s a picture of me with my little airplane goody bad.
Other than those few things, the flight was very normal. A young child kicked my seat every few minutes and the man sitting in the row next to me snored for an hour and a half. It was amazing.
So if you’re planning on traveling soon, I would suggest bringing a mask, buying a few snacks before your flight leaves in case Cheez Its and Biscoff cookies don’t hold you over, and a bottle of hand sanitizer to stay COVID free.