This summer, we flew to see family. We are very lucky to be financially able to travel right now, and we fully believe in the dangers of COVID-19. We just needed to see our family.
Prior to traveling, I did a lot of research and watched a lot of reputable reports on safe air travel. I spoke to friends who had to continue to travel for work. So I wanted to share our experience.
Before we traveled, we really provided age-appropriate education to our child about COVID-19. We explained that it’s a bug/germ/virus and that it is invisible and therefore we have to wash our hands as much as possible, touch as little as possible and wear a mask. Our son practiced wearing a mask in public and he was already comfortable with his mask.
We purchased a JetKids suitcase for him to ride on. I figured that if we were riding on the suitcase, he would not touch surfaces (and it worked out that way).
On top of our usual gear, everyone carried a ziplock bag of personal protection equipment (PPE). In the bag, we had hand sanitizer, clean masks, sunglasses or eye guards, and sanitizing wipes. We also brought our own snacks. (More on that below).
The second you walk into an airport, Federal Aviation Authority takes over jurisdiction. That means the rules are their rules, and they are strict.
You must wear a mask at all times. If you do not wear your mask they will blacklist you from future air travel. Period.
When everyone was wearing a mask (and sometimes a face shield) it made it much easier for everyone, including our child to comply.
The airport had plenty of social distancing markers and we were able to stay away from other travelers.
There has never been a better time to invest in TSA Pre-Check! You do have to remove your mask for the agent to check your identity. Some airports are utilizing a machine that you swipe your ID through, but I handed the agent my ID. (I wiped it down after just in case).
It looks like they have taken the lag in travelers to update their security equipment and do additional training.
We have access to lounges through Priority Pass so we took a peek at the lounge situation.
It was very well spaced. Food and drinks were available only via an attendant. The showers in this particular lounge were closed, but I suspect that the lounges in major international hubs are open.
Of course, you’re going to be closer on the plane. We traveled on JetBlue who is blocking the middle seats.
One interesting fact that I learned is that the air flow on an airplane is from top to bottom. The air is then filtered through GIANT filters so the air is extremely clean on a plane. We were blocked from other travelers by our seats, but I made it a point to have our air blowing directly down so I knew we were only inhaling fresh air.
The pilot reminded everyone many times to keep their masks on at all times unless eat/drinking. The crew also gave stern warnings. Again, JetBlue threatened to blacklist anyone who would not comply.
Snacks were passed out in a zip locked back once on our 3-hour flight. I am pretty sure they were not offering any soft drinks, coffee, or alcohol. (But they may have offered alcohol). You could not buy their premium food offerings either. I was very thankful to have extra snacks but I should have brought a coffee or water. Make sure your kids have a water bottle too.
I felt safer flying than I do in the grocery store. Non-compliance is severely punished, so everyone complied.
My son did need a mask break here and there, but he wore the mask. I would consider a face shield for him next time, and I am glad that I encouraged him to wear safety goggles.
I wiped down every surface that I did not see cleaned prior to my use. I wiped down my phone multiple times and we cleaned our hands constantly.
The trip was absolutely work it and in fact we are flying again very soon.
Flying soon? Tag me on Instagram @mrsmakeitrainka and let me know how it goes!