“Any kind of crisis can be good. It wakes you up.” Ryan Reynolds
“When are you available to travel?” I was excited about the business opportunity but was apprehensive about traveling in the midst of the Pandemic. Two weeks later at the first sign of approval to reopen, I agreed to the visit. Questioned by many about my experience being among the first group of persons to travel as things slowly yet cautiously reopened, I decided to share my experience.
Traveling During A Crisis
Uber anyone? Yep there’s Uber but that too came with it’s fair share of exposure so I got a ride to the airport. Things changed. It was spooky. Being a big international airport, the number of persons traveling was noticeably low. No surprise here.
As I made my way to the departure lounge, most shops were closed. Customarily, I’d saunter to the bookstore to get a book that I’d customarily finish reading during my 3-hour flight. No such luck. The cemetery of closures spooked the air.
As I approached the Gate to board, the announcement came in droves. Ladies and gentlemen we have made a few changes.
- 6 ft apart as Social Distancing was required
- Passengers were encouraged to get a meal or refreshment before embarking on flight as they have curtailed their in-flight services
- Passengers were asked to scan their own boarding pass (self-explanatory indeed)
No choice but to follow the rules laid out. As I looked around, my own mask affixed, there were a few individuals wearing what I’d refer to as spacesuits. Their own way of taking extra precautions. Others were adorned in masks of many colors with many showing their personality. Yet there still remained a few whose faces were bare. The simple and obvious protection was missing.
During our walk to board the aircraft we were constantly reminded about safe distancing and on entry were presented with a white-gift-bag, which later I discovered contained a small bottle of water and a tiny pack of cookies / assorted biscuits. A sign that no food would be served as flight attendants also attempted to protect themselves. Later it was pleasing to note that they did collect garbage.
As I sat down, I found two others passengers in the same row as me (a, b, c). I pondered the question… why would there be so many precautions taken as we boarded, yet it was a still a full flight. Luckily the young lady next to me decided to cover her face with her sweat shirt and went to sleep. This gave myself and the other passenger close by a sense of ‘semi-precaution’.
Hours later we landed and I disembarked and ran to my other flight with the same procedures being repeated. This time I was thrilled that I was able to move to another seat because there was room for true safe distancing.
After yet another 3-hour commute, I disembarked, received temperature check by security and made my way to pick up my car. Apprehensive about driving because I wasn’t sure of the precaution taken by the rental company. Not much to worry about as I was one of only two persons in the entire area. I pick up my car and armed with gloves and cleaning wipes, I wiped down the inside before driving away.
Hotel Stay During Pandemic
As I arrived at the hotel, I was greeted at the front desk with a letter stating services reduced. It read that my room was fully stocked and that I should leave garbage bins by the door to be emptied and returned in the mornings. Cleaning and in-room services was reduced, if any at all. I complied. No problem for me as I resigned myself to taking care of my room as I did at home for the next few days.
Things Are Different
By the time of my return trip, things were different. By then, masks were mandated to be worn throughout the airport and in-flight. Passengers became annoyed if they saw anyone with masked pulled down. Personally, I tried my best to snack and drink while wearing my mask. It became a true work of art.
Looking back my trip was indeed memorable. As I reflect on the changes brought on by the pandemic and how businesses and society dealt with keeping a safe distance, I pray this will pass soon.
For me, my next trip might by a road trip to ensure true safe distancing. But for sure life goes on and we have to do what we can to survive.
Stay safe y’all.