Home Travel Potentially Catching COVID On A Plane Is Not Why I’m Not Flying

Potentially Catching COVID On A Plane Is Not Why I’m Not Flying

by SharonKurheg

If you’ve been paying attention to the news or travel bloggers recently, you’ve probably read that the Department of Defense did a study with United Airlines. Their finding suggested that the chances of your catching COVID on a plane are less than that of getting struck by lightning.

I fully understand that the airlines are hurting. The study was meant to put the consumers’/passengers’ collective minds at ease so they’ll be more open to flying. And yes, I’m even pretty sure that flying is indeed safe, as long as everyone wears a mask. However I think what the airlines don’t get is that taking a plane from Point A to Point B is only part of the travel story. There are also these scenarios to take into consideration:

The Flight Being Canceled

Flights are being canceled left and right. Because there are fewer flights in general, we only may or may not be able to get flights to the same place on the same day. If we’re only going away for 4 or 5 days, I don’t want to worry that 20 or 25% of my trip will be canceled because we couldn’t catch a flight until the next day.

At The Airport

In many airports, even when masks are required, compliance and enforcement appear to be iffy:

On The Plane

Although the CDC has recently put out the strongest wording yet that masks are encouraged while on planes, it’s still not a requirement. That’s important.
 I live in a county where masks are required when social distancing can’t happen. I’ve also been in places where there are no such county requirements. I can tell you that the word “required” instead of “strongly encouraged” makes a difference.
Without such backup from the federal government, the airlines took it upon themselves to make their own rules about wearing masks. Yet there are still passengers like this guy and this woman and I don’t want to take the chance of flying with people like them. Or Ted Cruz. Or Roger Wicker. And I don’t want to worry about a screaming match or worse breaking out on my plane because someone thinks that mask rules don’t apply to them.

On The Shuttle Bus

If we’re not renting a car and I’m on a shuttle bus to my hotel, what happens if someone on the shuttle decides they don’t want to wear their mask? I have no intention of being in the same small vehicle with them for 15 minutes or more. Especially when some shuttle buses don’t have windows that can open in the passenger section so there can be better air circulation.

At The Hotel

Some hotels have been great at maintaining their brands’ safety and cleanliness standards. Others, not so much.
Plus, going back to what I said earlier about county requirements, masks aren’t required in some hotels and that would be acceptable in that city.
Some hotels include a cafe in their front lobby, which means even if masks are enforced, well, people gotta eat and drink.
Also, poorly ventilated hotel elevator with strangers who may or may not be COVID positive or masked? No thank-you. And then, since special requests are never guaranteed, what if they don’t have any ground floor rooms available when we check-in?
We have, thankfully, taken the baby steps to be willing to stay in a hotel room. We’re just using this new option when deciding where to stay, and doing this when we first get there ;-).

At Restaurants

Joe and I still won’t eat inside at a restaurant, but are up to the point where we’re willing to eat at a place if it’s outdoors and socially distanced. Lots of restaurants around the country offer that option, but as we get into winter months, there are going to be an awful lot of places where it’d be too cold to do so.
Unless I invested in one of these, I wouldn’t be cooking in the room (and even if we rented an Airbnb and it was just the 2 of us, frankly, I cook at home 95% of the time. I don’t want to cook when I’m on vacation). So we’ve been looking at a lot of Uber Eats or take out. Of course, depending on where we stayed, we might not have a table as much as a desk…that can only sit one. So meals wouldn’t be all that enjoyable.

Where Can We Go?

Even if we did want to travel for fun and flew to get there, where can we go?
Out of the country is almost out of the question, unless we want to quarantine for 2 weeks when we get there. The countries that currently don’t require quarantine aren’t places we have an interest in visiting.
Domestically, mandatory quarantine also leaves out the NY tri-state area and several other states we’d consider visiting that are too far to drive to.
So really, with all of that in mind, why fly anywhere?

Note: Your Mileage May Vary

Obviously, everyone is different.

Some people are currently flying and taking international vacations like there’s no tomorrow. There are also people like us and haven’t taken the step to fly anywhere since COVID came to town. Either way is fine; it’s all based on a person’s comfort level.
BTW, just to clarify, it’s not as if I’m normally a scaredy-cat – I’ve rappelled off 150′ cliffs in Utah, spoken and sung in front of tens of thousands of people without stage fright, and all 4’6″ of me has forcefully stepped between two grown men who were “this close” to a fistfight. Twice (different men, different years). I’m not a delicate flower nor a snowflake; I’m actually quite a badass ;-).
However we’re talking about a virus that could potentially kill me because of some pre-existing conditions I have. So yeah, I’m careful.  So are other people. If you’re not, that’s your choice. As long as your choice doesn’t potentially affect my health (#wearamask), it’s all good.
So with that, nope, I don’t care what the Department of Defense and the airlines say; I’m not going on a plane for a long freakin’ time. And frankly, it has very little to do with going on a plane. 😉

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#stayhealthy #staysafe #washyourhands #wearamask

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

7 comments

AlohaDaveKennedy October 22, 2020 - 7:52 pm

Was that same DoD study the one that reported the CDC telling us masks were, or were not necessary, or the one citing WHO telling us the masks were, or were not necessary, or the one recounting all the passengers on the recent New Zealand flight that mysteriously ended up with Covid-19? Sorry, I wear masks, but don’t trust masks or rapid testing to protect me from COVID-19. Social distancing is where it is at and until a vaccine comes out, airports remain a no fly zone.

Reply
Jason S October 22, 2020 - 11:13 pm

I agree with everything you wrote in this article. You make very good points on the risks outside of traveling these days.

Reply
SharonKurheg October 22, 2020 - 11:22 pm

Thank-you.

Reply
Warren October 23, 2020 - 12:03 am

Not sure I agree with this, most people wear masks in airports I’ve been to. Having flown many times during the pandemic I have three rules: 1) fly on an airline with a strict mask policy and blocking middle seats (i.e. Delta or SW), 2) do not fly through COVID hotspots (varies), 3) make sure you aren’t on the last connection of the day (connections are pretty much necessary right now, if you are on a major direct route the flights are usually expensive or sold out.) I remember flying in May, was on a SW flight where we only had a handful of people but very heavy cargo in a 737, was the most bizzare takeoff I have experienced – used the entire runway in Vegas when it was not hot outside, when airborne the plane felt more like an DC-9/MD-80 the entire flight (which is unusual for a 737.)

Reply
Jan October 23, 2020 - 12:16 pm

Just flew to LA from Pittsburgh last week
Felt very safe everyone wore masks!
Midway was a little iffy people sitting at bar together
Do whatever is safe enjoy life….

Reply
SharonKurheg October 23, 2020 - 12:31 pm

I’m really glad that worked well for you! As you saw in my post, for us it’s not a matter of the flight but everything else involved in the scenario. But, of course, everyone is different and that’s fine. 🙂

Reply
Martin Jones October 23, 2020 - 5:59 pm

You missed the big point… money & refunds! People are tired of Airline trickery by not refunding quickly, online diversion and refusal to communicate. Airlines still live in the delusion that we need them. Actually now they need us, they are having difficulty getting their head around that concept.

Reply

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