Are you thinking about flying for the holidays? Are you worried about what it’s like because of Covid-19? Many of my non-airline friends have asked me what it’s like to fly right now, so I thought I would give you some insight as a flight attendant during this challenging time.
First off, if you’re nervous, please know you’re not alone. I was flying when the news about the virus began to break. I had heard what was going on in China and at the end of January, I flew a trip up to Seattle with connecting passengers from Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. A few of them wore masks and several of them looked terrible. (But who wouldn’t after a 13-15 hour international flight 🙂 Masks and gloves weren’t advised against this yet and my crew and I were definitely more than a little concerned. That being said, my concern has subsided. I have been flying almost every month this year and I am not worried in the least anymore. And here’s why and what travel currently looks like…
This has always been one of the most challenging parts of my job. But right now, it’s at a whole new level. Flights are full right now due to schedule cuts and low ticket prices. My airline is not blocking the middle seats so expect to be sitting next to someone you don’t know. If you are concerned you can buy the seat next to you as well. Because of the low prices, I’m seeing more first time fliers traveling now than I have since I started flying 28 years ago. Due to their inexperience, many of these passengers have been the most difficult, often times arguing with the crew. I’ve not only heard this from many of my friends, I’ve witnessed it firsthand.
If you’re reading this and haven’t traveled in a while here is a great refresher I wrote last year about holiday travel. We currently aren’t selling or serving food or drinks (including alcohol) onboard in coach but everything else applies to 2020 travel. One thing I have seen quite a bit these past few months is people bringing their own alcohol with them. Just FYI, this is never allowed and we will confiscate it from you.
Perhaps this is one thing holding you back from getting on the plane. As you probably know, they are required while onboard the plane and at the airports. Obviously you have to remove it to eat and drink and this can be done in a respectful and efficient manner. You may have heard of arguments breaking out between the crew and non compliant passengers. We do enforce it but I personally haven’t had any issues. Also you might be worried about contracting the virus because someone next to you has their masks off while they are eating. Be sure to keep your mask on during that time to keep yourself protected. I think you will find comfort in this article from The Washington Post which explains how low your chances are for contracting the virus while onboard an airplane. This is the perfect segue to my next topic.
I personally have never seen the planes so clean. My airline is increasing its fogging process during scheduled overnight cleanings and this procedure uses an EPA approved disinfectant to make sure all public areas are hit. This includes areas that can be hard to reach by using an electrostatic sprayer.
Most aircraft are also equipped with HEPA (High Efficiancy Particulate Air) filters that provide a complete air change approximately 15-30 times per hour, that’s once every 2-4 minutes. Keeping your air vent open above your seat will help to keep the air moving.
For peace of mind, you can bring your own cleaning wipes onboard with you. We do hand one out on most of our flights but you may want additional reassurance. If you prefer a more holistic route, you can use essential oils such Young Living Essential Oils or doTerra. Both of these companies are of the highest quality and have entire collections devoted to killing germs with a natural solution.
I know getting back on the plane can be a scary thing but it doesn’t have to be. I’ve been out here flying since the onset of the virus and I have yet to get sick. I’ve tested negative for the antibodies as have many of my coworkers. I have no doubt we’ve all been exposed. It may also reassure you to know that flight attendants are getting Covid-19 at a lower rate than the general population. A lot of my coworkers and I have been excluded from friends and family events. Sometimes by our choice, often not — due to fear of contracting the virus from us.
Most of us are anxiously awaiting for things to go back to the way they were. I miss my business travelers and my friends and coworkers that have been furloughed! If you have any concerns about flying in the next few months, respond below. I’d love to hear from you!
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