As most of us are sheltering at home and trying to prevent further corona virus spread and resulting COVID-19 disease, some of us has to travel for work. Yes, planes are still taking off even though nothing about traveling looks or feels the same.
I own an essential business in Dallas, Texas, and had to fly there from Los Angeles just recently. While it all felt eyrie, I can’t say that I haven’t enjoyed myself. There was a little bit of fear involved as well – I didn’t want to get the virus, give it to my employees, or bring it home back to my family. Now that the trip is over and I know I am fine, I can tell the story about travelling during corona pandemic.
I doubt that I will ever experience anything like this for as long as I live. I hope I won’t, anyway. Parts of my trip were nice, for example, the price of the ticket or the almost empty plane, but strangely enough, I missed all the busy people in the airport, which used to annoy me to no end sometimes. I think experts are right when they say that none of us will be the same after this. I know I will be less upset about the crowd of people and a full plane the next time I fly.
To start my trip I had to buy a plane ticket. And let me tell you – I have never bought a round trip ticket Los Angeles – Dallas - Los Angeles for $40.80! This one is definitely for the books and worth telling my kids as a legend when they are bigger and can understand.
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My flight was local and non-stop, so I didn’t rush and took my time getting to the airport. First, the highways were empty! Now this is not fare – such a dreamy situation for Los Angeles residents with no places to go. At least I had one – LAX.
I took Uber to the airport and didn’t have to park, but parking was almost empty. I could’ve parked right by the terminal like a rock star, which is another rare opportunity wasted. Entering airport was kind of sad. Everywhere I looked it was empty. I could hear the echo of my footsteps and my carryon bag. Yes, I saw some people, other weary travelers who were going somewhere on an urgent business, not because they wanted, but because they had to.
Overall I had a very positive experience. Thankfully I wasn’t hungry and had snacks with me, because all food places in the airport were closed. I got through check-in, security, and to my gate in no time. This was definitely pleasant. Traveling this way would be great in normal life; it would reduce 2-3 hours needed to reach the plane to just under an hour.
The plane had maybe 40 seats occupied, out of 186. I had three seats to myself and took a nice nap. Most people wear masks and stay away from each other – in introvert’s dream.
Texas is taking corona virus seriously and issued forms GA-11 and GA-14 for mandatory self-quarantine for all people who enter the state as a final destination. Essential business personnel are excluded, so I didn’t have to do that. Some other passengers had to fill out those forms and give their address, personal information, flight number, driver’s license number, and a place in Texas where they will spend 14 days in self-quarantine. Failure to comply with it could result in fines and possible jail time.
Measures like this are definitely needed, but sometimes travel is also unavoidable. My experience was a pleasant one despite the circumstances, but it’s also a caution for people to stay home and not fly unless they have to. It’s definitely not a vacation time kind of experience and you wouldn’t want to be quarantined upon getting to your destination.
If we all mind the government orders and stay home, the times when we can fly freely again are coming back. It will be no $40 for round trip, but I’ll trade that for the feeling of community and togetherness with people who like me also have far destinations and wide horizons on their minds. If you do have to go somewhere, this time is not bad – fast, matter of fact, and just a bit lonely. I sure had time to think about all kinds of things in peace and it was nice. After all, we all can take this time at home or on the road and decide what positive aspects we can take from this pandemic, what to reevaluate, and what to never take for granted again.