Our family flew from Phoenix to Boston and then back May/June and it was different than many of our other flights we have taken in the past. Flying in 2021 is very different than pre 2020!
Our kids are very seasoned travelers. If you haven’t flown with kids before, you may want to check out my previous post! This time, the mask mandates made it a little bit more difficult to move throughout the whole process. We got neck gaiters for our kids, because they don’t really wear masks much at all. In the airports, masks had to remain on, but adults had to take off the masks to show ID and compare. One TSA agent took off her mask so she could talk with our kids.
We did not check any of our baggage because we were warned that checking baggage was taking a crazy amount of time. So, we packed tightly and made it all fit in carry-ons.
We travel with blow up booster seats, which are super helpful now that are kids are bigger. I try to keep all of the liquids and tablets in my bag so that I can pull everything out quickly. You cannot stack tablets when putting items in the bins through security. We breezed through security relatively quickly and the agents had us all go through the scanners as a family. Kids under 12 do not have to take off their shoes. One passenger behind me even remarked how quickly and efficiently my husband and I rounded up the kids and our ten bags (2 per person). We are experts.
While waiting for our plane, we wore neck gaiters. Sitting and waiting for our plane we got some water and snacks and kept our masks off most of the time. I become very agitated from having a mask on from all of the medical procedures I have had in my life. We learned that American Airlines did not accept neck gaiters as a form of nose and face covering, so we had to wear the “medical” masks on the plane. If customers did not have a mask, the airline would provide you with one.
We also received an email from American Airlines that they had enhanced cleaning at kiosks, ticket counters, lounges and gate areas. I did not see one person in the two hours before we left Phoenix or the two hours before we left Boston clean anything but the bathrooms.
On the Plane
Our flights were completely booked. The flight out of Phoenix had 14 people on standby. We were not made to stand 6 feet apart from each other in the waiting area. I know some people have worried about that, but we stood normally.
As far as the airplane, American stated that they were deep cleaning everything in the airplane, including tray tables and armrests, but the flight before ours came in and let people off and then started loading us. There was no deep cleaning time before loading passengers. I have to call bunk on all of that too.
If you have ever leafed through these magazines on an airplane or in a doctors office, they are grimy! The magazine is a huge advertisement, so I am cautious about any claims. It is interesting that this biomaster logo was not on the harder, thicker brochure in the seatback pocket that shows you what to do in case of an emergency.
On our flight back to Arizona, one of the customers refused to put on a mask. The passenger was escorted from the plane. Once we were up in the air, my kids and I snacked and had some drinks. If we weren’t snacking or actively drinking, they were constantly reminding us to have masks on. One steward didn’t like that my mask wasn’t at the top of the bridge of my nose. I wear glasses and I had no way to put it further up. In the back of the plane, when visiting the bathroom, I noticed the stewards weren’t wearing masks while chatting. Most of them were pretty nice and I’m sure their job has been stressful, however there seemed to be two different rules. American Airlines and Southwest Airlines are no longer serving alcohol on their flights because of fights between passengers and crew.
Back on the Ground
This was at the handrail at Phoenix. Taken directly from the FDA website, you can read more about UV light disinfecting power. However, the light being at the bottom of the handrail where no one would touch makes no sense. If you read the FDA site, you will find that the UV light needs to have a long exposure on the spot, not just a quick spin over it. This doesn’t substitute washing your hands and good hygiene. It didn’t look like the UV lights went under the escalator. If it did go under the escalator, maybe there would be a little bit of hope.
If you are needing to plug in your devices while you are waiting for your plane, always use a plug and not a USB! I also recommend having a back up battery charger. I suggest the Anker chargers. Charging via USB can contain malware. Don’t do it on a plane, in your hotel or in any public space. The only place you should use a USB charger is onto another one of your devices. I also suggest a VPN, which is a virtual private network. This allows you to use public wifi without anyone seeing what you are doing. If you are using public wifi, you are transferring all of your passwords and sensitive data over the public wifi for someone to gain access too. The VPN masks that. We personally use NordVPN and have been very happy with that.
Other than all of those things, our flight was somewhat uneventful! Make sure you bring plenty of snacks and drinks for your flight and hope for the best. If you have little ones, and you absolutely need to fly, I say start small with the mask thing. Get them to wear it until you get off the ground and keep them lured with candy like twizzlers, and other small snacks and water for the rest of the trip.