Travel Amidst a Pandemic

I have been traveling and flying for as long as I can remember.  In all my years of traveling, I have never called my mom crying hours before a flight because my anxiety surrounding the trip was so high.  That changed back in March.

Let me provide some background.  My Oma (grandmother) passed away in February and the memorial service was scheduled for March 21.  This gave the county time to release her for cremation.  It also gave family that live outside of California time to find flights and make travel arrangements.  My husband and I were booked to fly out to California on March 20.  COVID-19 restrictions came into play in the weeks leading up to that weekend.  For the first time that I can remember, I was afraid to travel, afraid to go to the airport, afraid to get on the plane.

Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t the travel itself I was worried about.  Instead, I was worried about potentially already being an asymptomatic carrier of COVID-19 and giving it to my 93-year old grandfather.  I was worried about the California governor halting air travel in and out of the state.  My anxiety had me convinced I wouldn’t be able to get home.  I called my mom crying 30 minutes before I left for the airport, asking if anyone would be mad if I didn’t come.  As much as I needed closure, my anxiety had gotten the best of me and reduced me to tears.

When we got to the airport, it was weird.  I packed Lysol wipes in a Ziploc bag and wiped down seats before we sat down.  I used hand sanitizer any time I touched anything.  People were wearing masks.  Boarding the plane was fast and easy, but the experience on the plane was bizarre.  Everyone was wiping down their seats, seatbelts, overhead buttons, and trays.  The flight attendants went through the cabin for trash pickup prior to take off to pick up our wipes.  In the air, the only drink available was canned water.  Even stranger was walking off the plane at LAX, a normally packed airport.  It felt like I was in an apocalypse movie.

Ultimately, we made it through the weekend and made it back home with no issues, but it was the strangest travel experience I have ever had.  It will be interesting to see how much of this experience becomes the “new normal” once travel resumes.

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