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air travel experience in the US

Old Jun 26th, 2020, 06:55 PM
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air travel experience in the US

We are contemplating a quick trip from NM to Philadelphia to take care of some business/family stuff, but having a hard time gauging just how difficult/safe it will be. If anyone has flown domestically in the US in the last month I would love to hear what your experience was. We would have to change planes, probably in Dallas, which concerns me given their recent spike, and the little trains you have to use to switch terminals. Also wondering about experiences in hotels? car rentals? and any things I haven't thought of but should. I'm assuming we would have to bring our own food for flights. Are airport restaurants open? how is the social distancing? arggg. thanks
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Old Jun 26th, 2020, 07:07 PM
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The major airlines have all (except perhaps SW) announced they will book to full capacity, so don't expect the middle seat in a 3-3 configuration to be empty.
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Old Jun 27th, 2020, 05:53 AM
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Yes to bringing your own food. They are not really serving on flights yet and many food places in airports are not open.
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Old Jun 27th, 2020, 07:25 AM
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Having flown several times during this pandemic, the most recently being a week ago via DFW I'll address some of your question/concerns as:

1) Once inside DFW terminal you have to wear masks and maintain social distancing whenever possible. Your Departure and Destination airports will probably have the same mask wearing / Social distancing requirements.

2) Most, if not all, airlines will require that you wear masks while on board the aircraft . Check your specific airline's website for further details as their policies are clearly stated there.

3) Food/drink service on airplanes has been suspended but the airlines I've flown each provided passengers (distributed upon boarding) with a Grab & Go bag containing a small bottle of water and snack packet (cookie, pretzels or similar item).

4) While you can take the SkyTrain between terminals at DFW you could, if you wish, walk between terminals without leaving the secure area. Obviously it will take you longer to go between terminals but that is an option. If you choose to use the SkyTrain you should wear a mask and maintain social distancing.

5) Many restaurants and food service facilities in airports will be operating but will be subject to the current capacity and other guidelines imposed local authorities. You may find limited menus at some locations. You may not have as many choices as you would have pre-pandamic but you won't go hungry.

6) All hotels/motels I've stayed at completely sanitize rooms between guest stays. Most have suspended daily cleaning/servicing of the room during your stay so if staying for multiple days be prepared to make your own bed and pick up your own towels. Management will provide clean towels/linens and pick up/remove trash upon request. Procedures will vary from hotel to hotel but will be fully explained to you upon check-in.

7) Most low and mid priced hotels have suspended their in house dining but many do offer a "breakfast" Grab & Go Bag with a bottle of water, piece of fruit and a pre-packaged pasty item. Some hotels still have a coffee bar available in the lobby (FYI - Coffee makers have been removed from the gust rooms). Some higher end hotels do offer limited dining at their in-house restaurants. Again this policy will vary from hotel to hotel.

8) Car rentals have been available at every airport. Cars are sanitized and fully cleaned prior to each rental. Most, if not all, rental companies will require you to wear masks and maintain social distances while wait at the counter to fill out paperwork. When leaving or returning to the rental parking lot most companies have "contactless procedures" in place to facilitate the rental/return process (procedures can vary depending on company). If you are a member of the rental companies loyalty program the process is even more streamlined allowing you to go directly to your rental car without any interaction with office staff.

It really all boils down to using common sense and following the guidelines issued by your health officials. Airports, hotels, restaurants and car rental companies have become very adept at all this.


Last edited by RoamsAround; Jun 27th, 2020 at 07:28 AM.
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Old Jun 27th, 2020, 08:44 AM
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I haven't flown but in case you hadn't heard, it's suggested that the window seats are the least risky.
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Old Jun 28th, 2020, 02:05 PM
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Thanks so much Roams Around, that is exactly what we were wondering. We have some business to attend to back east and are trying to figure out if this is the "sweet spot" between the waves of the pandemic, or if we should wait it out a bi more. If I may ask, are the airports and airplanes as crowded as usual (I'm picturing the usual mob scene at the Philadelphia airport before flights with people jockeying to get to the kiosks), not worried about our home airport as it is very small so easy to maintain social distance. Thanks for your clear advice. The world has definitely changed. I appreciate it.
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Old Jun 28th, 2020, 02:46 PM
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In general there are fewer flights but that means the planes are pretty full. All the flights I’ve been on recently were full. The good news is fewer flights mean less people at the airport which translates to shorter lines at TSA (I’ve had times when there was literally no wait at the checkpoint). Less people inside the terminal means easier to find “social distance seating” - remember too that you’ll be wearing masks.

I always check-in and get my boarding passes online so I avoid having to queue up at the ticket counter or kiosks. People who did were generally being responsible and kept social distances.

One more point, I haven’t flown though Philadelphia airport but all my flights were into and out of other major airports and we never felt uncomfortable or “exposed”. You’ll have to decide for yourself if you are OK with traveling under current conditions.

Last edited by RoamsAround; Jun 28th, 2020 at 02:53 PM.
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Old Jun 28th, 2020, 02:52 PM
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I flew in May. The plane was supposed to be half full/ middle seats empty but at the last minute some other flights were cancelled and those people piled into our plane so it became a full flight. Several masks came off during the flight and there was no attempt to "enforce". We changed planes in Chicago and there was no "distancing" for the most part....with the restaurants and bars mostly closed it meant that a lot less people were sitting down dining and a lot more people were in the hallways mulling about. Lots of kids without masks. No distancing in the bathrooms. Basically I'd call it a shytshow.

Avis Car Rental in Los Angeles was also a joke, very dirty and dusty and their "plexiglass" was useless, the agents were not standing behind it and our agent did not wear a mask. I should say though that last month I also picked up a rental car at a smaller Avis "local" location and there was no contact at all, the agent cracked open the door to the place and said "are you clark?"....when I said yes she tossed the keys outside and locked the door.

Last edited by clarkgriswold; Jun 28th, 2020 at 02:56 PM.
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Old Jun 28th, 2020, 02:58 PM
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I flew to/from DEN, PHX last weekend on United. No middle seat going, full row coming back, probably because a family was flying. Airports not crowded, DEN had maybe 95% masked, PHX 99%+.
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Old Jun 28th, 2020, 06:21 PM
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I will not fly unless I can get a n95 mask(or reasonable facsimile)
The thought of the well know inadequate air filtration system on all aircraft--people packed in like sardines for 2-3 hours is not something I will even consider.

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Old Jun 29th, 2020, 07:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Jean View Post
The major airlines have all (except perhaps SW) announced they will book to full capacity, so don't expect the middle seat in a 3-3 configuration to be empty.
Delta is blocking middle seats through Sept 30.
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Old Jun 29th, 2020, 10:46 AM
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regarding "inadequate air filtration", I should have noted that even though I flew a full flight with masks flying off left and right, I tested negative a week later

https://www.erinbromage.com/post/fly...ge-of-covid-19




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Old Jun 29th, 2020, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Jean View Post
The major airlines have all (except perhaps SW) announced they will book to full capacity, so don't expect the middle seat in a 3-3 configuration to be empty.
SW, Jet Blue , and Frontier.

SW promiseS at least until Sept 30.
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Old Jun 29th, 2020, 12:58 PM
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My son flew on Alaska from Seattle to Orange County, CA this past Saturday, 7/27. He had booked a premium seat and there was no one next to him in the middle seat. He did notice that some other middle seats were occupied. This is Alaska’s policy from the website:
  • Through July 31, 2020, middle seats are blocked and flights will be capped to allow for extra space between guests not traveling together.
  • Families or couples wanting to sit together can make the request with reservations in advance or at the airport on the day of travel.
  • There can be limited occasions where extra space cannot be guaranteed due to unforeseen changes such as reaccommodating guests from a previously canceled flight.
Fellow flyers were wearing their masks. His mother, that would be me, had wanted him PPE’d to the max, and he acceded to wearing a face shield in addition to his mask. The flight left at 11:30 a.m. and he was given bottled water and a snack.

His mid-afternoon Seattle return nonstop flight next week was cancelled shortly before his departure to OC, and the computer rebooked him on a Horizon flight with a stop in Portland at 8:30 a.m. Yesterday the web showed availability on two other nonstop flights leaving later in the day. There was a 7-hour wait for a return call so he attempted to get help using the chat function. The chat person got back to him within the hour but said there were no available seats on nonstops flights leaving after 8:30 a.m. As of this morning the website was showing several available seats on the 10 a.m. nonstop flight out of OC. After only a two-hour callback interval, he was able to speak to a helpful human, a Karen in fact, who rebooked him on that 10 a.m. flight and said there was only one other seat left.



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Old Jun 30th, 2020, 10:37 AM
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a news report just reported that American Airlines is going to add an "I agree to wear a mask" to the terms & conditions that we agree to when purchasing a ticket.
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Old Jul 2nd, 2020, 10:21 AM
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Bon_voyage and others, how are your travellers drinking the bottled water? That must involve removal of the mask.
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Old Jul 2nd, 2020, 12:20 PM
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Originally Posted by cathies View Post
Bon_voyage and others, how are your travellers drinking the bottled water? That must involve removal of the mask.
Yes, most people I've seen slip the mask down, take a drink and replace the mask back on their face. I've seen a few people use a straw that they slip under the mask.

On my flights I've never actually taken a drink and just kept my mask on the entire time.
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Old Jul 3rd, 2020, 11:28 AM
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Originally Posted by cathies View Post
Bon_voyage and others, how are your travellers drinking the bottled water? That must involve removal of the mask.
Cathies, thanks for your inquiry. My son removed his mask and face shield to deal with the snack and water. I am rethinking supplying him with lunch for the return flight.
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Old Jul 5th, 2020, 01:41 PM
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My son said that all of the middle seats were open on his return flight today on Alaska from OC to Seattle.
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Old Jul 5th, 2020, 05:11 PM
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4 Flights in 40 hours

I live in Hawaii. Due to a family emergency, I flew in June from Honolulu to DFW nonstop on American, and it was a most comfortable experience. I'd say the plane was 1/3 full and everyone wore masks without complaint. There was full drink service but no snacks.
After one night on the ground (Towne Place Suites, which was very nice), I started my return to Honolulu on Delta. This had originally been a one stop in LA flight, but luckily I check reservations often, because Delta cancelled my first flight and put me on another that would arrive at LAX three hours after my Honolulu flight departed! It took me many days of phone calls and messaging to learn I would now have to take 3 flights, the first one out of the way to Minneapolis, then back to LAX, then Honolulu. My American flight had taken 7 hours, the journey back was 15. (I will never forgive Delta for not contacting me!) The 3 Delta flights were 1/2 to 2/3 full. We were handed a snack pack with a small bottle of water, and that was it. Most people wore masks. And yes, even though I was only gone for 40 hours, I had to quarantine 14 days when I returned to Hawaii!

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