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I traveled to Las Vegas from Kansas City partly to attend to business affairs and partly to experience air travel during this challenging COVID-19 period, seeing as I am in Travel Industry and I haven’t been on a plane since March 11, which is very rare.
When I arrived at the Kansas City Airport prepared with a mask and gloves, I was rather amazed to see so many unused Delta aircraft parked on the runway and I was rather pleasantly surprised to see the new KC airport construction progressing nicely. Terminal B normally is rather a busy place with Southwest Airlines being the largest carrier servicing passengers out of Kansas City but it was rather deserted. Southwest did a great job of practicing social distancing. Southwest’s boarding process was to board 10 passengers at a time and they handed out a mask for passengers that did not have them. The boarding process was very orderly and smooth as the flight was only about 45% full both ways due to Southwest limiting the number of people on an airplane so nobody sits in a middle seat. Those passengers that were well prepared had fashionable and/or colorful masks, but I noticed that not many people were wearing gloves. We were told multiple times by flight attendants that all passengers are required to wear masks for the duration of the flight unless drinking or eating. I also noticed that Southwest removed all magazines and was only serving a can of water and a bag of snacks. When we landed at the Las Vegas Airport, I noticed a large number of unused Southwest aircraft parked on the runway and I was surprised to see all shops and restaurants except 1 or 2 were closed. The Vegas airport was like a ghost town, dark without the usual anticipated noise from slot machines and the neon signs; hardly anyone was around the airport except the passengers from our flight. If anyone went to Las Vegas, you know how congested and crowded Terminal 1 is usually. It was sad to see such an empty airport. It seems like someone had taken air out of this colorful balloon even though I traveled there on the re-opening weekend. The ride-share station was empty also, a Vegas rarity! It was just me and another couple waiting but it took longer than usual wait time. Nonetheless, I was grateful to see there were ride-share drivers working and wearing a mask.
I hear on news how so many flights are full and passengers had to sit next to strangers. Here are some tips to consider for future air travel from my experience:
- Avoid peak travel days, usually Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays are slow days.
- Be prepared with a mask, wipes and gloves. Do not touch anything if you can avoid it.
- Keep social distancing and be mindful of other travelers.
- True social distancing is not possible aboard an airplane, but I believe a window seat is better than an aisle seat to avoid contact with other passengers.
- Prepare with plenty of water to drink on the plane.
- DO NOT TRAVEL if you have any health issues for your safety and the other passengers. Most carriers will allow you to change your travel plans without any penalties, which is one benefit airlines usually do not offer.
- Avoid using the aircraft bathroom, if at all possible.
- Carry sand sanitizer/wipes and use frequently and wash your hands…
Contributed by Young Sexton