Travel in the time of Covid – Part 1 Flying the Truly Friendly Skies
October 22, 2020
By: Carrie Fulton
We’ve all wondered if now is a great time or horrible time to travel. We want to get away, we need a change of scenery and darn it we just want a break!
As a wife and mom of three teenagers, we have been mostly cooped up in our house since March. We always take some sort of vacation whether it’s Spring Break or Summer vacation. We had great plans over Spring Break which all got cancelled so we knew that as things were opening up, we needed to be wise about where we chose to go.
One night at dinner (I think it was dinner 5 million that I had cooked in a row), we had a family meeting to discuss what we wanted to get out of this vacation. The kids wanted something structured. They have had enough sitting around staring at the world and screen time. I did my research, and we decided to head to Universal Studios Orlando.
We picked there because we could relax in a resort with a pool, we could do theme parks and we could get to some colleges one of our kids was interested in attending. We knew that Universal had safety protocols and that they were implementing them successfully.
The flights on United were the very cleanest I have ever been on. The flight crew and passengers were all required to wear masks, they handed out alcohol wipes (the big kind!) so we could personally wipe down all the high touch areas we would come in contact with, and snacks were either eliminated on two of four overall flights. One of the other two we were given the entire can of soda; and on the other, we were each given a bag prefilled with sealed water, pretzels and a cookie along with another alcohol wipe.
Masks were required to be worn at all times during the flight and the flight attendants made sure that mouths AND noses were covered each time they went through the cabin. Flights were fairly open because families were allowed to sit together, but strangers always had an open seat between them. There were a few entirely open rows on three of the four flights we had.
Flights were boarded in smaller groups from the back of the plane to the front (TSA, can we PLEASE keep this procedure!). Though United did allow families with small children, those needing additional assistance, active military and first class to board first.
When deplaning we were dismissed in groups of five rows at a time so there was no mad dash to stand up as soon as the plane stopped causing that awkward staring at the guy who ran up two rows only to stand there for the next 10 minutes.
Airports were nearly empty. TSA lines were short and moved quickly because of fewer travelers. We scanned our boarding passes ourselves on their scanner and handed them our drivers licenses. This was the only time we were asked to remove our masks as the agent verified our identity with our photo ID. There were no changes in the lines for the metal detectors so that was business as usual of watching people forgetting the keys in their pockets.
Other than the food court in the terminals, all the restaurants were closed INCLUDING Starbucks…and that was not a pleasant surprise when we were heading to our first flight at 5am. But then we headed to our gates to wait for boarding. At least it was on less time we needed to stop in a restroom in public…?
That’s it for now, be on the watch for my next blog where I discuss the various social distancing protocols in the three theme parks at Universal. My last one in this series will review our experience renting a car and doing three college visits.
For more information including live videos I did during this trip, head over to my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/CFulton.WFT and to get planning your Covid escape, email me at CFulton@WishesFamilyTravel.com You can also learn more about me at https://wishesfamilytravel.com/carrie-fulton-concierge-agent/