Pandemic Planes

I realize – and you realize – that this is our reality. I hope reading this will give you a sense of calm that literally thrusts you into taking a vacation, renewing your mind, and calming your spirit.

While traveling is one of my greatest passions, I also love to help people. it’s the reason behind why I started this blog, and why I love ministry and mentorship. I’m convinced that the only way to truly get through life is with other people – people that push you to do better and be better. It does not go unnoticed that there are certain privileges we all have lost during this pandemic, and if you’re like me and don’t like to stay in one place for too long, you feel particularly attacked.

When I decided to start this series (yes, it will be a series!), it was to show others that things might be different, and they may remain different for a very long time, but that doesn’t mean you need to live in fear. I don’t mean not to adhere to the guidelines written to protect us from getting sick, I simply mean to tell you that it’s okay to try normal things again. We have all had to adjust, and I didn’t realize how much the pandemic/quarantine really got to me until I was flying home from D.C. That was my break-down, hard to swallow moment. The moment that could have been so loud, and on the inside it was loud, but on the outside, I was so silent.

This was my face as we took off. It wasn’t the place I was leaving that made me well up with emotion. It wasn’t that I had to wear a mask, or that I was tired (even though I was). It was the ending and I wanted it to be the beginning. It was the beginning and I wanted it to keep going; I didn’t want it to just stop. I wanted to press and hold the play button and the pause button at the same time. There were so many emotions in this one moment above, and as I saw the clouds become my friends again, I held Kotah’s hand and let the tears fall as long as I could stand it.

Community is so important to me. I am an enneagram 7, and a little more on the side of extrovert than introvert. Travel allows me to see new places, and meet a new people. Big or small trips, they all matter to me. A week long trip or a four month trip, sign me up. From the moment I step onto the plane, I am there for the moments. Now, with a mask on my face, some of those moments are different. Sometimes people jump to the other side of the sidewalk to avoid you, and for me it hurts my feelings. I know, I know “it’s because of the virus,” and believe me, I’m fully intentional about following protocol when I’m in public. But it still stings. I get it, but I wish this wasn’t happening. I ask myself – maybe like you ask yourself sometimes – when will this ever end? Can I wake up now?

I realize – and you realize – that this is our reality. I hope reading this will give you a sense of calm that literally thrusts you into taking a vacation, renewing your mind, and calming your spirit.

Overall, cleanliness is of the utmost priority from airline to airline. I was thoroughly impressed with American for their attention to detail, and their kindness. An important thing to note about Flight Attendants: They love their job, but they didn’t ask to have to do it during one of the most dangerous times to fly, and they do. Tell them they’re doing great, ask them how their day is, anything. You never know how long of a day that have had, or if they are just gearing up for one. Stay conscious of the people that allow you to have a good experience while in the air, always. ❀

Every FA had a mask, and the pilots. There weren’t a lot of places open in the airport, except for Charlotte (but we will get to that). In D.C. and Raleigh, the airport was practically vacant. We had great conversations with the airline workers, who made us laugh (shout out to the United guy who made all the jokes and reminded me of Mr. Rodgers).

One sort of hidden fee you can expect to encounter is an increase in overweight bag charges (I’m sure this varies from airline to airline, as well). With the pandemic, not a lot of people have been flying, so it makes sense, however, you just might want to double or triple check that first bag is under 50 lbs. πŸ™‚ Dakotah and I rounded out at exactly 49.5 lbs for our one bag, while other members of my family were going to be charged $100+ for an overweight bag. They did decide to re-organize their checked baggage and carry-ons, though and it all worked out and they only payed the normal $30 fee.

There were only two places to eat or get a drink at the D.C. airport on the way out, and those places had shields and were social distancing, as well. It was really sad and strange heading back because I wanted to speak to people…I just wasn’t sure if they wanted to speak to me.

When we walked off the plane into the Charlotte airport, it was mass chaos. I don’t know if it was the day, time, or what, but there were hundreds of people and not a lot of space. Most people had masks, still, but a lot of people in general were wearing them under their nose, or just over their beards. There was still social distancing in the little kiosks, and restaurants, and all the FA’s, pilots, and airport staff/security I saw were still wearing masks. The airlines can only do so much, it’s really up to the people to take their own precautions. πŸ™‚ There was an intercom announcement at every airport about the requirement of masks while navigating the airport, as well. Those announcements came on about every ten minutes it seemed.

The bathrooms were open at both airports, and at Charlotte, monitored by an attendant who opened most every vacant stall door for each woman. Signs were posted, of course about washing your hands and wearing your masks. I felt very safe. On the flight, you were also allowed to use the restroom! No rule against that, but I will tell you that almost all the seats were filled on all flights. This didn’t worry me, because of the mask ordinance, the sanitizing wipes they gave to every flyer, and also because I sat next to Dakotah on every flight. πŸ™‚ Choose your seats! It will save you tons of worry lines (plus, our seats were only like $7/person πŸ™‚ )!

The last thing that was to be expected, but still strange: there were no food and drink services on these flights. I’m sure if I were taking an overseas trip there would be some sort of leniency to that, but for our short domestic flights we brought our own snacks and drinks.

I know that it won’t be like this forever, or even if it is, we will get used to it. I’m thankful you guys are here, experiencing this with me. Lets continue to remind each other how together we are.


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