So, what is it like traveling during the pandemic? Scary, exciting, a thrill like on a rollercoaster, or all of the above? Everyone has their own comfort level when it comes to the virus and the pandemic. At the airport, people sometimes choose to wear shields and gloves, but masks are mandatory. So here's the story of my experience at the airport.
Arriving at the airport on a Sunday at 7:00 am, you would expect the airport to not be as busy as usual, but I was wrong. The airport was packed with people traveling all over the place. There were lines of people, all waiting to be checked-in for their flight; maybe that’s why they tell you to arrive two to three hours before your flight begins to board. We grabbed all of our luggage and joined the lines of people who stood waiting. My parents kept staring at their watches as we didn’t follow the arrival time we were told. It seemed that people were just as anxious as we were until a worker came over and asked for our boarding time. When he found out that our flight boarded in an hour he knew we would never be able to check-in and go through security in time to make our flight. He took us to a different check-in area with no lines or wait. So a tip when traveling during this time is to make sure to check all of the check-ins as most people will probably be waiting at the same one, while there is an area that is wide open!
Next was security, now security is usually the biggest issue, with long lines, a lot of yelling, and bags everywhere. Security was less of an issue than checking bags (yes there was a line), but it wasn't as chaotic as checking bags. We joined the line with everyone else, and no one was standing six feet apart from each other. It becomes hard to have many different issues and problems to think about at once, and sometimes, you just forget. Getting through security was a piece of cake, compared to what it looked like a couple of minutes before security. It was a normal routine through security: putting your bags and personal items in the bins and walking through a body scanner, with your bags also going through the scanner to make sure there are no dangerous weapons or items.
Then to the gate; the airport still felt just as busy as it was before COVID-19 with crowds of people rushing to their gates and wandering around in every direction. Navigating through the crowds wasn’t hard; it was making sure you were safe at the same time that was. When arriving at the gate, there were a couple of different procedures with the boarding process. First, they weren’t doing it by group numbers, they were doing it based on where you sat in the plane, from front to back. Then, when entering the plane after boarding, we were greeted by a flight attendant, passing out individual sanitizing wipes to wipe down our own seats or ourselves.
On the plane itself, once everyone was seated and we were about to detach from the gate, the captain came onto the speaker and announced that the flight attendants weren’t going to do a visual demonstration of properly applying and using the safety equipment. They verbally described the proper way to use the safety equipment in the normal and original way. We then finally took off and everything was the same, except you were only allowed to take your mask off when eating food or drinking. There were no other excuses for you to put your mask below your nose and mouth or take it off completely!
As you can see, airports have changed quite a bit, but you and your families still have to make sure you are prepared as you won’t be the only ones there! Everyone has their own comfort level.
Hilary Gottlieb is a BBG from Great Jersey Hudson River Region: Northern and goes to Trails End Camp.
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