Flying During the Time of COVID-19
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Coronavirus thwarted my plans to go home for Easter this past April. When we decided to postpone our trip rather than cancel our flights, we just moved 2 months later. We thought this would be fine, but as the new dates quickly approached, we considered moving our plans again. In the end, we decided to keep our trip because one of Nick’s teeth chipped. Side note - he was accidentally elbowed in the face almost 10 years go and 4 teeth were pretty badly damaged. It was important to us to go back to the original dentist who did the work, so that pretty much sealed our trip’s fate. I’m so thankful we were able to go, as I hadn’t seen my family in 7 months. It was long overdue to say the least.
Keep reading for our experience + for tips!
So what was it like flying during a worldwide pandemic? I’ll note that we obviously only traveled domestically. Though I hope my post prepares you for your flight, note that flying from different locations are vastly different. Even flying from LAX was a different experience than flying out of Love Field in Dallas, TX.
Side note - during this pandemic, I know a lot of people are making sourdough bread! Read my post on baking bread here. We wanted to bring starter to give my family, but we weren’t sure how flying with it would work or if they would even let it through. We placed one bit of starter in a checked bag and one in a carry-on. They were in small, sealed glass jars, but I recommend placing them a baggie to be safe. The one in our checked bag exploded - hah! The one in our carry-on was fine. TSA did take it out of the carry-on bag to look at it, but let it through. So yes! You are good to proceed with sourdough starter in your carry-on bag!
ANYWAY, without further ado, here’s how our trip went + some tips for flying during COVID-19.
FLYING OUT OF LAX
It was pretty much a ghost town. We had a 7:15 am flight, so traffic would have never been an issue; however, seeing the roads around LAX empty felt pretty much like a dream. They get clogged so fast and are never easy to navigate.
We scheduled our Uber pickup for 5:15 am, so we could get there with plenty of time. If you are going to take a ride share, I would recommend scheduling it, because there are less on the road right now. We also scheduled it, because we had such an early flight. Even less are on the road in the early morning! The Uber was fine. You have to wear masks (which we did). We felt safe.
AT THE AIRPORT
There were honestly more people there than I expected… for both the pandemic and the early nature of our flight. Honestly everyone I saw was wearing a mask, except for one girl. Now if they were wearing correctly or not, that is another story. Hah! We signed in at the little station like normal; however, we did have to go up to the desk because we checked bags. This was interesting, as they didn’t touch our passport / ids!! They didn’t even look at them like they would normally do. We did print out our boarding passes, as they printed out with our check-in, but they were encouraging use of digital passes in general.
Regarding security, this was interesting too!! We scanned our own tickets and passports. They looked at our form of id, but the TSA agents did not hold our ids or paperwork in their own hands! No signatures or anything. We also had to remove our mask / pull it away from our face so they could see. We have TSA pre-check, so nothing really changed for us regarding walking through. We did have to remove any food from our bags and let it go through separately though.
Once we got to our gate, we just sat and waited like normal. People kept their masks on unless they were eating. I did have a small breakfast at home, but got really hungry while we were waiting to depart. My mask made me feel nauseous, which was hard to deal with. Once Nick came back with food, I definitely felt better! If you think you’ll get hungry, bring your own snacks. We flew early, so I expected things to not be open, but even less was open than usual that early. I literally had a ham sandwich at 6:30 am. Hah! You also aren’t guaranteed a “snack” from the airlines either.
We flew Southwest Airlines and they were great. I know other airlines were having to re-seat people due to new guidelines, but SWA didn’t have to do that since there aren’t assigned seats. We had a full flight regard to new guidelines, which was around 90 people for an aircraft that holds around 140. No one sat in middle seats and there was not a regular food and beverage service. They did however give us the option of receiving canned water and a trail mix bag, which from what I’ve heard is more than other airlines are doing. One of my cousins is a flight attendant, so I had a good chat with her before we even flew.
You are supposed to wear masks the entire flight. In fact, one was required to board! At the beginning of the flight, they did walk around with some masks should you need one. The weird thing is that you are allowed to take it off to eat or drink, but they ask that you wear it the rest of the time. There was an older couple who sat across from us that didn’t wear them for the majority of the flight. I didn’t mind but found it interesting. The flight attendants didn’t come around forcing you to put on a mask though, in case you were wondering.
PRECAUTIONS WE TOOK
NOTE: the only thing you HAVE to have is a mask. This is required for boarding. Check with your airline for specifications. You should get an email that has information in it too!
Water bottle. I typically bring my 500ml BKR water bottle to fill up once I’m through security. I didn’t this trip, because I didn’t want to use community water fountains. I just bought the plastic bottle once through and recycled it.
KN95 Mask. These are the masks we wore. They are similar to N95 masks in the way that both are supposed to filter out 95% of particles. The airlines don’t require a certain kind of face covering - it is whatever you want. We went with these because they are more comfortable than N95 masks, but still get the job done. We have N95 masks because of fire season here, but are keeping those for just that. They are supposed to filter the same, but mentally feel more secure than KN95 masks… Another difference is that KN95 masks are made in China. My other favorite face covering is the Janessa Leone mask. We wash all of ours after wearing them once, but with these KN95 we only used them once. You can “clean” them with alcohol if you want to re-wear, but limit re-wear to reap the benefits of the filter.
Gloves. We brought gloves, but didn’t end up wearing them. It seemed silly to wear them and still touch my phone, backpack, etc. I did of course clean my phone once I left the airport. We didn’t really see people wearing gloves either.
Wipes. We wiped down our seats and everything around us in the plane. I put paper towels sprayed with Branch Basics and my Primally Pure Hand Sanitizer in a baggie. (try it for 10% off with discount code ELLEMULENOS) They stayed wet and worked well, even on the way back!
Hand Sanitizer. It has a strong scent, but I love the wellness aspect of the oregano! If you want a lighter scent, they offer a lavender version now too. Try it for 10% off with discount code ELLEMULENOS.
Turmeric / Ginger Tincture. I take this daily anyway, but took it right before we boarded. It helps with inflammation and overall wellness. You can read my review of the product here. Get 15% off with discount code ELLEMULENOS. I take 2 dropper fulls every morning and hold it under my tongue for at least 20 seconds.
Zinc Tincture. I don’t take this everyday - maybe once a week. I took it right before we boarded, because zinc protects you from particles entering your body. It doesn’t taste horrible, but it doesn’t taste good…LOL. I drop one dropper full in the back of my throat.
Elderberry Syrup. I like to think I take this daily, but sometimesI forget. I took as serving before we left for the airport, as it lives in my fridge.
ImmuniTEA. I made a big batch of Organic Olivia’s tea and drank it before and after our trip. So good for you! She talks about it on her IG highlights.
Colloidal Silver Nose Spray. I do not take this everyday. Maybe once every week or two? I sprayed right before we boarded. Silver is anti-bacterial and helps keeps germs away!
Goli Apple Cider Vinegar Gummies. I take ACV every day!! Read about the benefits here. When I travel I use these gummies. Read my review of the product here. ACV has helped me not get repeat sinus infections, among other things like keeping me “regular.” I took 2 right before we boarded the plane. Get 5% off with discount code ELLEMULENOS.
Essential Oils. I love me some essential oils!! I used Saje “fortify” on my neck before boarding, which is supposed to help with wellness. I also used Saje “peppermint halo” and “pain release” on my neck as it helps me with nausea. I put Now Foods Lavender on my wrists to relax me too.
Bags. We checked bags, which we heard was better because less people touch them. Not sure if this is 100% accurate, but we had to bring items to Texas that needed to be checked, so we would have regardless. Regarding our carry-on bags, I tried to keep things like wipes, hand sanitizer and headphones at the top of my backpack, so I didn’t need to dig for things and touch more surfaces. I didn’t use my laptop or read a physical book on the plane, as I tried to limit what I touched / took out of my bag.
Clothes. We wore hats, long sleeves, long pants, and closed-toed shoes to keep ourselves covered. I also wore my glasses instead of contacts to shield my eyes. (Nick doesn’t wear contacts.) We also removed our clothing upon arrival both times and did laundry immediately. We showered and washed our hair soon after arriving as well.
Primally Pure Hand Sanitizer (try it for 10% off with discount code ELLEMULENOS)
Goli Apple Cider Vinegar Gummies (get 5% off with discount code ELLEMULENOS)
Saje Fortify, Peppermint Halo, Pain Release Essential Oils | Now Foods Lavender Essential Oils
FLYING OUT OF LOVE FIELD
I mentioned that where you are flying matters, because they will likely be a different experience! In Texas, most things are open, so we saw a lot less masks and more “touching” if you will. Masks are still required on the plane - I’m just referencing waiting at the airport. There was probably only about 50% of people wearing masks at the airport. They also touched our passports / ids at both at security. They were wearing gloves, but that didn’t really make me feel better, as they are touching everyone’s ids with the same gloves… On the flip-side, they didn’t make me take food out of my bag. Those things were really the only differences and I still felt pretty safe.
So that was our experience! Shoutout to all the airport workers for keeping us safe and getting us where we needed to go. Any tips for flying right now that I missed? Let me know! We will be flying again next month as well. Stay safe and well! XOXO
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