Flying during pandemic becomes new normal

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Photo by Chelsea Strober ’21

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there are safety and sanitary reminders all throughout airports. This includes reminders to wear masks, social distance and wash hands.

Chelsea Strober ’21, Associate Managing Editor

When the COVID-19 pandemic first made its way across the world, all travel, especially by plane, was put on hold for months. Then, it seemed almost impossible to walk through a crowded airport only to be squished next to a stranger on a plane without contracting the virus. However, now that it has been more than a year since the first outbreaks, airports and airlines have found ways to make travel as safe and efficient as possible.

After months of staying home, many Staples students have had opportunities to travel again. According to many students, the experience is very different from what it used to be because of the social distancing and sanitation protocols that are now in place.

“I recently flew for the first time since the pandemic began and I couldn’t believe how different it felt to be in an airport,” Harley Bonn ’21 said. “There were social distancing reminders everywhere I looked, signs in the bathrooms with reminders to wash your hands, and at the gates every other seat was marked off so you didn’t get too close to anyone.”

“I recently flew for the first time since the pandemic began and I couldn’t believe how different it felt to be in an airport,”

— Harley Bonn ’21

In addition to the safety reminders all around airports, another difference some took note of is how empty the airports felt. Even massive international airports that were filled with thousands of people from all over the world, had not only a lack of physical people but also open stores and restaurants.

“I took a flight out of JFK which always has so many people and so much going on,” Josh Leon ’21 said, “but this time almost all of the restaurants and shops were closed and I had never seen so few people there.” 

According to Bonn, flight staff handed out beverages and snacks in a different way in order to limit contact between passengers and staff. 

“On the flight I took, they did not walk down the aisles with a cart to offer us drinks and snacks like I experienced on flights prior to the pandemic,” Bonn said. “Instead, they passed around Ziploc bags to each passenger with a small water bottle, sanitizer and a few snacks.” 

It is not only the airports that have been taking extra precautions in order to prevent the spread of COVID, but different safety measures are taken on planes as well. Taylor Jamieson ’22 explained her most recent experience. 

“When I was boarding my flight, [flight attendants] offered to move my seat to an empty row because no one was sitting there,” Jamieson said. “It was nice to know they were doing everything they could to keep us all safe and comfortable.”