6: Traveling During Covid
Updated: Dec 4, 2021
Howdy! So, same as everybody else, I ceased traveling when Covid 19 hit, canceling plans to fly to New York for baby showers and whatnot during 2020. Now, having gotten both of my Moderna vaccine shots over a month ago, I decided to fly down for my nephew’s first birthday party this past week. All and all, I think the airports are doing their best with a bad situation. That being said, I witnessed some inconsistencies.
Waiting to fly out of Austin-Bergstrom airport, I heard many announcements. They said to wear a mask and to social distance—both good things. The trouble is, nobody was social distancing in the line through security. There were zero attempts by TSA/airport employees to get us to stand farther apart, despite there being ample room to do so. Likewise, on the flights, every seat was full. There’s no social distancing on the airplanes, and even if there were, the air circulates so it wouldn’t do much good. Snacks and beverages were distributed on the flights and we were allowed to remove our masks to eat and drink. Nobody checked vaccine cards, in case you were wondering if airports are doing that now. They aren't if you're flying within the USA.
I also noticed, leaving from and returning to Austin-Bergstrom airport, that the malls were open. As in, stores and restaurants were open and busy. Meanwhile, in John F. Kennedy International Airport’s Terminal 8(American Airlines), stores and restaurants were generally closed. In the waiting area for the gates themselves, JFK had social distancing advisories on the seats, requesting that passengers leave empty seats between groups. I didn’t see similar seat markers at Austin-Bergstrom, though I wasn’t looking for them.
These aren’t complaints so much as observations, and they’re specific to the Austin-Bergstrom and JFK airports. But, if you were wondering what it’s like to fly within the continental USA now, here is my experience which coincidentally took place as Austin TX reentered Stage 5 of the pandemic, as Austin’s ICU’s filled with patients suffering from the Delta strain of the virus.
Now that I’m home, I’m staying in. That I’m vaccinated is all well and good but won’t do much after a car accident when doctors are already overwhelmed. Anywho, I hope your hometown is doing better than Austin with Covid. I hope your neighbors are vaccinated and your hospitals aren’t struggling.
Thanks for stopping by! I put out a new blog post every Monday. Toodles!
TL;DR, Advice? If you’re immunocompromised, don’t fly. Stay home. We’re in the middle of a pandemic and you’ve got to keep yourself safe. If you’re reluctant to get the vaccine, talk to your doctor. They’re the best person to alleviate your concerns so you can do what’s best for your health and for the health of those who interact with you. Accept that not every immunocompromised person is so privileged as to be able to stay home and being a community means prioritizing the greater good. Wear a mask. Social distance when possible. You can’t make everyone else social distance but you have the power to stand six feet from your peers in most situations.