I’ve been at home for over three months, and that hasn’t been as terrible as I would have initially assumed — some positive things have even emerged from our time at home. However, I do plan on traveling somewhere in the next couple of weeks (probably even by air), and I’d welcome some feedback.
Why I’m more comfortable flying now
For the past few months I’ve avoided flying at all costs, because I didn’t think it was the right thing to do. Not necessarily because I was convinced that it was “dangerous,” but rather largely because we didn’t know enough:
- We simply didn’t know enough about the virus
- Testing was limited in many places, and I didn’t want to take away tests from those who needed them more
- Airlines initially didn’t have many precautions in place, though they’ve evolved in this regard over the past several weeks, from improving cleaning protocols, to requiring face masks
It has gotten to the point where I would be comfortable flying with the right precautions. It’s important to emphasize that this can’t just be about my own safety, but also the potential risk I pose to others, because I want to be considerate to those who may be more vulnerable.
For me, “responsible” flying comes down to a few things:
- Getting tested and social distancing before, during, and after travel, as much as possible
- Wearing a face mask, even beyond situations where social distancing isn’t possible, whether that’s at an airport, in a hotel, or even while walking down the street in another city
- Bringing hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, etc., and being vigilant
- Thanks to the beauty of miles & points, on long haul flights whenever possible fly first or business class on airlines that offer the most space and physical separation (whether that’s a door or a lot of privacy otherwise)
I’m also more comfortable getting on planes now that we know a bit more:
- Few cases of coronavirus spreading have been linked to planes when proper precautions have been taken (especially when you consider that over a million people are still flying daily, with hundreds of people in small confined spaces)
- Studies increasingly suggest that wearing masks is highly effective for stopping the spread of coronavirus
- While the WHO walked back the statement that the spread of coronavirus from asymptomatic patients is “very rare,” it does seem that it’s significantly less likely than through symptomatic or pre-symptomatic patients
There’s value in knowing what to expect
I’ve avoided traveling over the past few months, but if done responsibly, I think there’s value in me going out into the “field” and reporting on what things are like on airlines, at hotels, at tourist destinations, etc.
In many ways this isn’t even about wanting to go on vacation. Actually, flying sounds rather unpleasant to me at the moment with face mask requirements, virtually no service, etc.
Rather this is about being able to speak to the current state of airline and hotel travel. After all, I know a lot of people come to this site to get a sense of what to expect when traveling, and I haven’t been able to provide that.
For the first time in 15 years, at this point I actually don’t really have a sense of what it’s like to fly on a plane or stay at a hotel.
That brings me to my question. What reviews would you guys find most useful?
- Would you like to read a review of domestic flights on a few different airlines, with a sense of what hotel stays are like at your average chain or independent hotel?
- Would you like to see some long haul flight reviews at this point, whether it’s the Turkish Airlines picnic box service, or Lufthansa’s “business as usual” service?
- Should I see how many different airports I could fly to that offer coronavirus testing?
- Would you like reviews of what the experience is currently like at certain destinations that are opening to tourists?
My travel focus will still be on road trips
Just to be clear, the above flights wouldn’t even necessarily be for “vacations” per se. The travel Ford and I are planning this summer primarily involves road trips. We’re intending to go to the Northeast and to Wyoming to visit family.
My intention to review some flights and hotels is separate from that, as I think there’s value in being able to say “hey guys, this is what it’s actually like to fly or stay at a hotel at this point.”
Please don’t skip this section
Let me use my platform here to once again emphasize a point, which I feel like I can’t say enough (since people often read what they want to read). If you’re going to travel this summer, please try to take all reasonable precautions.
Personally I don’t think there’s anything wrong with travel in general at this point, but I think it’s crucial to do everything you can to mitigate risk, not just for yourself, but for others.
There’s a difference between a road trip to a cabin in the middle of nowhere, and flying to Las Vegas to gamble while refusing to wear your mask throughout the entire experience because you feel your liberties are at risk. I also think there’s a middle ground between the two.
If you do decide to travel, please be smart, be considerate of others, get tested, do what you can to social distance (before, during, and after the trip), and in situations where you can’t, please wear a mask.
I’d welcome feedback from you guys regarding what kind of trip reviews you’d find valuable at this point. I’ve been at home since early March, and have been hesitant to fly until recently.
However, I think we’ve gotten to the point where it can be responsible to fly with the correct precautions.
Millions of people check this site every month, largely to get a sense of what it’s like to fly. In comparing the benefit to the risk, I personally feel comfortable traveling with the right precautions, in hopes that my travel will help other people make more informed decisions going forward about their travels.
I have no sense of how I’ll feel getting back on a plane. Will I think “oh this isn’t so different and is kind of fun.” Or will I think “that was miserable, I’m not subjecting myself to that again.”
Please let me know in the comments section what you guys would find useful!