The New Normal – It’s sad to see, especially considering my chosen career, but life is not going back to the way it was before the Coronavirus. So welcome to the new normal. I know a lot of people are nervous about going back out into the world after quarantine and nervous to start traveling again. To help ease some of that anxiety I’ve put together this list of essential tips you need to know for traveling during and after we get through this pandemic.
Most of the information in this article is about my airline specifically and will most likely be in place till the end of 2020. Make sure to do your research on what the airline you’ll be flying is doing. The regulations and procedures are also changing every 2-4 weeks currently so make sure to double check before you travel.
Planes are cleaner than they have ever been! So it’s probably safer now to fly than it was before as far as germs. As a flight attendant I’m so happy to see them going through and properly cleaning all our aircrafts. It makes me feel so much safer. Also most airlines are handing out sanitizer wipes so you can have that extra layer of security and clean the area yourself as well. Delta is also fogging their planes with high grade disinfectant which you can see being done here.
Masks are going to be required till the end of the year on Delta. I would highly suggest that even if the airline you take isn’t requiring a mask that you still wear one. Or at the very least bring one as most airports will be requiring you to wear one.
As of right now Delta, Southwest, JetBlue and Alaska Airlines are either limiting capacities or blocking off middle seats. Delta has announced that they will be doing this until at least the end of September. If you’re uncomfortable being on a crowded plane make sure to check if your airline will still be blocking seats when you fly.
- As mentioned above most airports are requiring you to wear a mask when you’re within 6 feet of someone. I highly recommend finding an empty area if you plan on taking your mask off or need to eat.
- There are lots of seats blocked off in the waiting areas to encourage social distancing. Also most tables and dining areas are blocked off.
- I’ve been in several airports in the last couple months and some have plenty of food options still available but others are very limited. Either check to see if there will be an option open for you or bring your own food.
Going through TSA has been fairly easy since not as many people have been traveling but if you’re nervous at all or want some piece of mind then I highly suggest signing up for CLEAR. They’re a New York company that has streamlined the security checkpoint. It’s all touchless and it’s very quick since not as many people know about it yet. Unlike Precheck, which I’ve seen the lines just as long as the regular lines!
In airports and other venues nationwide, CLEAR helps you travel safely with a fast, touchless experience – every time. Enjoy a 2-month free trial and keep moving forward. Code: 2FREE
What to Expect on your Flight
- Boarding will go a bit different than you’re used to. Please don’t crowd around the gate and wait for your section to be called to board. Also ensure you leave 6ft in-between you and the person ahead of you while going down the jet bridge and onto the plane. The same goes for deplaning.
- Flight Attendants are still onboard for your safety. We are incredibly bored not having much to do onboard right now. Please don’t think we’re being lazy or not socializing, we are just following social distancing policies and trying to stay safe.
- Every airline is doing service a bit differently. Most are passing out pre packaged snack bags that include a napkin, bottle of water, a couple small snacks and a sanitizer wipe. This is to limit contact between everyone onboard. If you know this will not be enough for you then come prepared with enough food and snacks for yourself. You can either buy a drink in the airport or use the water bottle filling stations that are available in most airports.
Check Guidelines for your Destination
No matter where you’re traveling or how you’re getting there make sure to check in with the guidelines for that area. I’ve been traveling around the U.S. and every city has been a bit different. Also make sure to stay up to date with those guidelines. For example, California was originally in the process of reopening and are now back in lock down after recent spikes of coronavirus.
You will also want to check and make sure that indoor activities you have planned will be open. Many museums, shows, concerts, festivals and more are all cancelled for the remainder of the year.
Lots of restaurants and breweries are either
- limiting capacity and/or doing only reservations
- only have outdoor seating available
- only doing to go
Bonus Advice: Respect the Rules!
It’s so important to be respectful everywhere you go whether it be a coffee shop or a grocery store or an airport. Of course this was important before the pandemic. However, now we are all learning how to be in public with these new rules and requirements.
Companies and especially small businesses have worked so hard to open safely. I agree that it’s very inconvenient having to constantly wear a mask and wash your hands but that’s what we need to do in order to end this and hope to go back to a more normal life. So overtip your servers, follow the rules, and don’t stop smiling at people just cause you’re wearing a mask.
I’m happy to see cities starting to open again, being able to drink outside at my favorite breweries and being back at work helping people ease back into travel. I hope that these 7 Essential tips will help you when you go back to traveling either during or after we’ve gotten through the pandemic. Stay safe out there, do your research, be prepared and have a great summer!
Check out my previous blog post: 10 Pieces of Travel Advice from a Flight Attendant
7 Essential Tips for Traveling During and After the Pandemic