My husband's career has had us flying every month for over 20 years. With the exception of a few months last year, we've continued to fly during the pandemic and taking every personal precaution we can. We recently flew home from Tampa and I want you to know what to expect if you've taken a hiatus and are now thinking of flying.
For the most part, people comply with the mask mandate. From what I've witnessed for over a year... if one person in the family... usually the adult... violates the mandate... everyone in that family follows suit. There is also a big difference in how the mandate is handled depending on where you are at in the flying process.
We fly almost exclusively on Delta due to the number of miles my husband racks up from his business trips. Hes also a Delta Sky Club Member so we've often waited for our flights in the Sky Club. If you're wondering how Delta Sky Club handles people violating the Federal mask mandate... not at all except in their announcements on the loud speaker. Even when we've asked employees to address violators... they don't approach them, they make an announcement on their speaker system.
This last trip was our third experience with Delta Sky Club NOT proactively addressing violators in the club. This couple sat here for over 3 hours without masks and employees walking by them constantly without addressing Delta's mask mandate. That happens at EVERY Sky Club. For that reason, we tend to try and find a quieter more remote space in the Club or terminal.
Flights are different. They 100% address anyone not wearing a mask and to give people credit, they're much better about it on the airplane. We wear two masks while flying and try to refrain from eating and keep drinking to a minimum to keep our masks on as much as possible.
If you are flying or thinking of flying and wondering what it is like right now, it's nothing like when the pandemic first hit. It's crowded, some people don't follow the mandate, some flights block middle row seats and some don't. If a flight is canceled, they may move those people from the canceled flight onto your flight; eliminating the blocked empty seats and reaching full flight capacity. That's only happened to once.
If you fly during the pandemic, I want you to be prepared for what to expect:
Airports are crowded. There are signs saying to keep six feet apart but it's almost impossible.
There are markers on the ground for where to line up at the ticketing booth and security but not at the gate while boarding.
Seats are blocked in the airport to keep distance but while you may be separated from sitting next to someone, you may be seating back to back with someone.
Planes are sanitized.
Passengers are given hand sanitizer wipes upon boarding the plane. We use it to wipe the armrest, video monitor, food tray and any knobs down. We also bring our own because one wipe doesn't do it.
Masks are required. While they're super good about it wherever there are lines, on the plane or in stores or restaurants, there isn't any 'mask police' in general gathering areas.
We wear two masks every time we fly. Being inside with all these unknown people and the potential risk, we feel more comfortable wearing two. That's just us.
You may feel more comfortable not flying at all during this time. There is plenty to do in your home town and at home if it's not for you. My grandmother used to always say; "If in doubt, throw it out." So if in doubt, feel free to throw out that idea of flying and do something else instead.