So I’ve had a lot of people ask me what it’s like to fly during the coronavirus pandemic, so here’s a little insight on what it’s been like the last few weeks and what you can expect when you return to the traveling.
With everything going on, you’d imagine not many people to be flying right now. And while the end of March and beginning of April proved to be extremely slow and filled with near empty flights (5-10 people on average), my flights that I’ve worked recently have been getting more full (more like 50 on average). I don’t think this is because more people are flying necessarily, but more so because of all the cancellations. With a reduced schedule the airlines are having to pile all their customers onto one flight per day instead of spreading out the passengers to the usual 3-5 flights any given route may have normally. To give you an idea, I just flew to LAX last week from Miami and we were almost completely full… well over 100 passengers plus crew. There were really only middle seats open in an effort to try to distance passengers as much as possible given the circumstance.
That being said. If you do choose to travel don’t expect your flight to be totally empty because it probably won’t be. I strongly encourage anyone who is thinking about traveling to maybe hold off another few weeks if possible. But I know sometimes things are out of your control and you may need to travel. That being said here‘s what to expect if you find yourself on an airplane in the next few weeks:
Many airports are requiring passengers and all staff to wear masks, so come to the airport prepared with your mask (even if it’s a homemade cloth one). Also, bring a mini hand sanitizer. A lot of the stations in the airport have been running out lately. Another thing to note is that a lot of the restaurants/stores inside the airport have either closed temporarily or have limited hours. Eat before you come to the airport or bring some snacks from home because you will have very limited options once you get here! Don’t forget a water bottle too! Which brings me to my next point.
Most airlines are no longer serving food and beverages on their routes, unless it’s over a certain mileage. Think 5 hours + on average. So unless you’re flying overseas or across the entire country you’re not getting your Dr. Pepper. Of course if you need a glass of water the crew will be able to get that for you, but keep in mind it’s probably safer and more sanitary for everyone if you just buy a water bottle or drink at the airport, or better yet bring a bottle from home and refill it once you get past security. We don’t know who touches our catering. So that’s on you. Just warning ya.
I’ve said it many times and I’ll say it again. These airplanes do not get cleaned enough! Don’t get too comfortable in your seat… oh and your tray table is probably the dirtiest part of the airplane so don’t be setting your food there before cleaning it or putting a napkin down. Generally speaking, from what I’ve seen at work, the cleaners don’t really wipe much down besides the lavatories and vacuum the carpet. Lately I will say that I have been seeing them wipe down seats and tray tables, and they have definitely been cleaning more thoroughly than usual, but I wouldn’t bank on that. So bring your own wipes, clean your seat area (tray table, seatbelt especially) and don’t touch anything you don’t need to. Oh, and DON’T PUT STUFF IN YOUR SEAT BACK POCKET. It’s gross in there, just trust me on this one.
So pretty much all of our flights have cancelled. I think it’s less than 20% still going out right now. So while most of these routes have been cancelled since the beginning of April, some are still last minute cancellations so just be prepared for that. It’s not the airlines fault, it’s not your gate agents fault, its not your flight crews fault. So be nice to us, we’re just trying to get you to where you need to be.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR FLIGHT ATTENDANTS?
Well, right now pretty much everything is up in the air. Since most airlines are flying at such a reduced schedule, they obviously don’t need so many flight attendants or crew members right now working at the airports and on the planes. They’ve offered some partial paid voluntary leaves of absence (3,6,9,12 month options) that have been taken by a few thousand people, but it may not be enough to avoid a furlough by the time October comes around. I guess time will tell. For those of us still flying right now, unfortunately we are seeing a reduction in hours which is hitting a lot of flight attendants hard since most people work above their assigned schedule. Luckily we are still guaranteed a set amount, but like I said before, most people work extra trips every month and right now there’s basically nothing to pick up. On the bright side work has been pretty easy considering our flights aren’t completely full and there’s no service to do on most flights. The worst part is really just the fact that we are more exposed to Covid-19 since we’re around so many different people everyday and touching so many different things on the planes. Thankfully, American has started to provide masks for the crew and hand sanitizer in addition to the disposable gloves we already always had on board. Things might be really uncertain right now, but all I can say is I’m thankful to still have a job for now and hoping it stays that way! Stay safe out there!
I know it may not be much more information than you already know, but that’s all the info I have right now. I you have any more questions you think I can answer for you drop a comment below or message me on instagram at @xoblondevoyage