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Traveling in A Covid World

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Will you be traveling in a Covid world? We are leaving this weekend to be with our daughter in Dallas for her virtual bridal shower. While both “Handy” and I have had both of our Covid vaccines; However I’m still feeling apprehensive about getting on an airplane. It’s filled with strangers who I don’t know where they have been and what their vaccination status is.

Planning Ahead

I am not a light packer but I’m determined to get everything I need into a carry-on bag. The less time I have to spend in the airport, the better in my mind. I made a post on packing wisely HERE

We also have global entry status as we were planning a trip to Europe last year. This will hopefully keep us out of long lines. I have purchased triple-layered masks to wear on our journey and have several clean back-ups packed. Since we are going on vacation and traveling in the late afternoon, we typically like to enjoy a cocktail on the flight. I’m also not a big fan of flying so I appreciate the liquid courage. I’ve checked and our airline serves juice and pop so I’m going to bring little flight-sized bottles of our favorite spirit.

Be sure to download your airline app to your phone and add your flights in advance. We found out that there were issues with both our of our flights. One was that our return flight was canceled by the airlines (Covid related)

I took the time to download a movie to my phone and I’m so glad that I did. I was able to watch something I enjoyed and it kept me occupied for the duration of the flight.

Travel with us

I’m going to take you along with us for a peek into our trip and travel experience. Buckle up!

We arrived at O’Hare a little over an hour to spare before our flight and we got through security pretty quickly. However, I was surprised that the lines were as long as they were. There was a pretty large police presence in the airport and the announcement that filter through the entire terminal was about keeping your masks on. They shared that it is a law to have a mask on in an airport and that not having one on could result in arrest.

Lots of People Standing in Line at Security in the airport

There was absolutely no social distancing while waiting in line to get through security.

I heard a woman who appeared to be older than me in line talking to someone about how she was going to see her one and only grandchild who was born at the beginning of the pandemic and she hadn’t seen him yet.

Our Flight

We waited a bit for our flight to board and again, there was no social distancing. Once we got on the plane, which was full, the concept of social distancing was out the window. There was not an empty seat and you were 18 inches away from the person on either side of you. There were probably four announcements before we took off about keeping masks on the entire trip. They explained that they could take you off the plane; they could also ban you from flying that airline if you didn’t comply.

Emma sitting behind me in the airplane
Emma was sitting behind me and “Handy” was sitting in front of me on the full flight

Our flight was uneventful. It is different in the sense that the flight attendants only came up and down the aisle occasionally to check on people and collect garbage. There is no snack or drink service on the flight (unless you are in first-class). My idea of having a cocktail on the plane went out the window.

The Real Adventure was Renting a Car

Once we got to Dallas, we headed to get our rental car. We had to walk a mile to get to the location to wait for the shuttle bus. This is where my whole concept of being a light packer and having a carry-on went out the window. While my Beis Weekender is cute as can be, it doesn’t have any wheels and both our bags and for me, my large purse was not ideal. I will never skimp on what I like to bring again. I will pay for a checked bag and have my rolling suitcase with me.

Rental Car Shuttle completely packed with people

The rental car area was where we ran into issues. I had booked a car well in advance so we didn’t imagine any issues. We saw crazy long lines at all of the rental car companies except for our “Thrifty”. YES! Then we saw the sign that said “If you book a car through Thrifty, get in the Dollar Carline. The longest line in the place. The line was insane. It was probably a two-hour wait in the line and then once we got to the counter and filled out all the paperwork, it was another hour before they had a car for us.

Empty Rental Counter with a Sign to get into the two hour long line
People standing in a two hour long line to rent a car

Our Take on the Trip

It was clear that people are starting to feel more comfortable traveling if they have been vaccinated. That was certainly the case for us. I’ve done a little research and the reason for the rental car issues (it wasn’t just our company) is that this sudden resurgence of travel along with the rental cars having sold off some of their fleets during covid, has now created a shortage.

During our waiting time, I also found out that being a member of your preferred rental company can help to speed up the process. I also found that some companies like American Express and AARP have some perks that can help with your rental. What I do know for sure was that it was a good thing that we had rented in advance. Those in line who had just rented that day were told that there was no way that they would be getting a car.

Traveling Summary

If you are thinking about traveling in a Covid world and are the least bit anxious about it, it’s not necessarily the time to plan that vacation. In checking the stats, less than 40% of American’s are fully vaccinated (38.6%) and that isn’t even close enough to have herd immunity. It appeared that it was mainly young adults and older folks who were traveling. My guess is those who aren’t afraid and those who feel protected by the shot. We did not see a lot of families with kids in the airport.

If you live in the midwest and are looking for a vacation that you can take in your car; check out my Door County post HERE.

UPDATE: Our flight home was canceled by United Airlines and our Non-Stop flight became a flight with a layover in Denver. Our plane was delayed getting out of Dallas and we missed our connection to Chicago. We waited for hours only to find out that there were no more flights leaving that night so we had to get a hotel in Denver. We paid $130 for a very sketchy hotel that we were in for about 4 hours. It cost us $30 each way to take a Uber back and forth from the airport to the hotel. We ate vendor food when we finally got to our hotel at midnight. We left the hotel at 4:30 am to get back for our flight.

I lost my very favorite cardigan sweater on our plane from Dallas to Denver as we were racing off to try to catch our connecting flight. United Airlines did NOTHING to reimburse us for this even though they canceled our original flight which would not have had us anywhere near Denver.

Peace,

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If you want to read about my contemplation of the year 2020, you can find it HERE

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6 Comments

  1. My last flight through Chicago taught me that it will be one to avoid in the future. Sorry it was such a hard travel day.

    1. O’Hare is a nightmare both leaving from and trying to get back into. Luckily our flights were uneventful as I have heard some stories of people not adhering to guidelines and causing trouble. We had groups of pretty respectful folks.

  2. That sounds like quite the adventure Lynn, The two-hour line must have been such a paint! Fortunately, we don’t have any plans of traveling that require an airline ticket! Pinning!

    1. It was a pretty weird experience. I felt apprehensive about the whole thing. For us, there were no issues with people on our flights but I’ve heard some horror stories. I didn’t think I would be getting on a plane so soon but circumstances dictated that we needed to fly instead of drive however, I would have preferred a long car ride, quite frankly.

  3. So glad you were able to make the trip. Travel is certainly different. We were on the road. this weekend and there was a mix in restaurants and shops with mask wearing signs guidance. On the campus there were signs to keep the masks on. Parents and grads have a variety of responses to this but there didn’t seem t be any issues. I am thankful we can aleast be out and about theses days!

    1. It is fun to be traveling again but it’s so surreal because I don’t think it will ever be quite the same. For me personally, I will probably always wear a mask on a plane and in public spaces where there are large crowds. Interestingly enough, I haven’t had a cold or the flu since I’ve been wearing my mask and I’m ok with not getting sick from anything. 😉

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