We just got back from a very quick weekend to see our granddaughter for her 10th birthday. We decided when the grands were little, that experiences last longer than toys, so the concept of “Turning Ten Comes With a Trip” was born. Her brother was first and she was already looking forward to her turn to choose a trip with us.
We booked a Friday flight out and Sunday return and planned an entire day of fun with the birthday girl, her two siblings and her mom. A super fast trip makes it easy to learn (or maybe relearn) a few things about air travel during COVID.
Food onboard flights now is only for those people in the front … ahead of the curtain. On our preferred airline, first-class passengers get a choice of a cheese and fruit tray or a sandwich on most flights. We cashed in some saved-up points and went for it. The seats and legroom are worth it on a five-hour flight. The boring menu wasn’t really worth it … but at least we were able to eat. Even the flight attendant said she’s looking forward to a return to glasses (not plastic) and hot meals. The lesson: Pick up food in the terminal before you board so you have something to munch on.
Traveling with a mask over your face all day sucks. There, I said it! Your face gets all hot and sweaty. You just want to rip it off and let your face be free. The lesson: Ugh, masks!
Once we landed, we had a long drive to our hotel. Arriving minutes before midnight, the front desk clerk asked if I’d checked in online. When I replied, “no,” he scrambled to his computer only to discover there was a single room available. It was the first room off the lobby. It was loud and had a window that looked onto the people walking along the sidewalk outside. Due to COVID, there was no coffee maker for the morning and no cup for rinsing after brushing your teeth. We were able to go back to the front desk and get those, though. The lesson: Check in online early and ask for cups before you head off to your room.
It’s not all bad, though. The airport lounges were nearly abandoned. No scrounging for an available seat. No noisy people making loud phone calls. It was a nice, quiet place to wait for our flights. The lesson: Relaxing in the lounge is so worth it.
The security lines are shorter. Fewer travelers mean shorter lines … or maybe our flights were just timed well, but we breezed through security with no delays. The lesson: I will appreciate my TSA precheck again when the long lines return.
Stores in the terminals are reopening. As COVID restrictions are eased, many of the shops that had turned off their lights are back open and welcoming customers. It’s nice to know if you need something at the last minute, you might actually be able to get it at the airport again. The lesson: I’m glad the distraction of airport shopping is coming back.
I, for one, am looking forward to a return to the way it used to be (or, at least, something close).
After all … there’s a whole world out there waiting to be explored. It will be a lot more fun exploring when stores are open, people are smiling and far off places are opening their arms to tourists.
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