If You Must Fly… Please Be Smart

The Coronavirus is still causing havoc in people’s lives and there are a lot of demands on what people can and cannot do once they go out in public.

Many States are relaxing restrictions on “Stay at home” policies in a hope to get their economy rolling again including getting their citizens back to work.

Some Counties are feeling so much pressure from their struggling business communities that they are jumping out in front of their State Governors’ recommendations.

People are getting stir crazy, small businesses are on the brink of collapse and local governments are losing a lot of tax revenue.

In the eagerness to attempt some semblance of normalcy, the airlines are really struggling. They are in a no win situation when it comes to new demands, yet their logic confuses me on a couple of fronts.

We are now into the second week of mandatory face coverage on airplanes. You cannot board a flight without one. This makes sense to me and probably is a couple of months late in coming.

The latest challenges come with regard to social distancing. The new standard we have all embraced is to stay six feet apart from each other to help mitigate the spread of the Coronavirus.

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/faqs.html

The airlines are currently asking passengers to not huddle in groups when boarding and keep separation between themselves and fellow passengers at the gate and on the jet bridge.

This is a tremendous help to ease people’s anxiety during the boarding process.

We are also recommending that passengers scan their own boarding passes which promotes some much needed comic relief.

It is fun to observe how differently people act to this request. Some are so conditioned they cannot help but try to hand you their pass, even when the Gate Agent motions toward the scanner.

Others stretch out as far as they can so as not get too close. They are bending over in an effort to stay six feet away from the scanner.

Once they get on the plane things change drastically. If the aircraft has less than 30 passengers they can be accommodated with proper spacing. Anymore than that, social distancing goes out the window.

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On larger airplanes with six or nine seats in a row, it is easier by simply eliminating the middle seat. The distance between seats A and C are not quite six feet, but it is at least a sizable gap between you and your neighbor.

On smaller regional planes that accommodate 65 to 75 passengers, social distancing becomes impossible at more than half capacity.

With seating tighter these days, when you add people’s newest phobia to the mix, tensions will escalate. People’s paranoia is heightened, as well.

I had one woman the other day ask that the woman next to her be removed because she coughed. For all I knew it could have been an allergic reaction to her cheap perfume.

Sadly that type of reaction from people is becoming too common. People are paranoid because no one knows who is sick and who is not.

A great friend of mine just went off on Facebook about the lack of spacing on his CLT to DFW flight. His DFW to TUS wasn’t much better.

I agree with his point that social distancing is out the window once you board a flight. American Airlines’ current policy is to block the back row and the first row.

People do need to be aware of this in order to make their own decision on whether to fly or not.

Airports have been a ghost town since March, but passenger loads have been increasing the past two weeks.

Seems to me we are all getting a bit complacent about the possibility of contracting COVID19.

People are antsy and are now flying to vacation spots. Two weeks ago the majority were flying to see family members, most of whom were sick.

God calls us all to be good stewards in all that we do. That includes deciding if you want to fly or not.

If you do decide to fly, be aware that you will be closer to sitting on your neighbors’ lap than getting appropriate spacing.

Beware also that the newest trend (started by Frontier) is to charge you a $39 premium to get an open seat alongside your seat.

If you are flying internationally, please confirm first whether you will be allowed into the Country.

Long lines formed at the Polish-Ukranian border Saturday hours before a ban on foreigners entering Poland took effect.Credit…Wojtek Jargilo/EPA, via Shutterstock

True story: Tonight we had a passenger flying to Toronto to get married in the morning. Because he is not a resident of Canada and he doesn’t work in Canada he is considered a “non-essential traveler.” Now he is stuck in CLT with a return flight to where he came from. Because he was getting married he no longer has a place to stay safely.

True story II: Another passenger was going to Toronto to buy a truck with plans to drive it back. This is not essential so he, too, has a return trip home in the morning.

BE SURE where you are going and find out the possible restrictions.

stop blaming

I highly recommend to anyone flying these days that may have an issue with their experience to please contact the airlines.

Complaining to your Flight Crews, Gate Agents, and airport personnel is simply shooting the messenger. We have no more information than passengers.

I hope this post helps you understand what you may walk into when flying.

Please. Please. Please be safe and be smart about what you are exposing yourself to when flying.

COVID19 Is Real

Are you being safe in the height of this Coronavirus pandemic? Are you staying home?
I know a lot of us are getting antsy to get out of our homes and back to normalcy, but we need to remain diligent.

It has been since March 23rd that States officially started implementing “Stay at home” orders.

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That’s 37 days for; California, Oregon, Washington, Louisiana, Illinois, Ohio, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Some living in New York City will tell you they have been home for 47 days or more.

As of April 20, there are 42 States asking their citizens to not go out in public unless they absolutely have to. There are a handful of other States were they are utilizing the directive in only a portion their territories.

Now a number of States are looking to reopen as early as May 1st due to public pressure on Governors to get their economies rolling again.

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With all of that said, there are a number of businesses deemed “essential” that may have been better suited to shut down for a period of time.

One of those is the Airline industry. International flights have been basically shut down but not domestic flights. At the current rate, airlines are losing $60 to $100 million per day.

I love working and appreciate the fact that I still can. I love helping people and many passengers are trying to get home to help ailing parents or loved ones. I just hope and pray that the airlines don’t crash and burn into bankruptcy in the process.

Many of the airlines are applying now for the stimulus money the Federal Government is offering. The sad reality is that some of them won’t survive even with the money Uncle Sam gives them.

Some financial experts say it will take at least a year and a half for the travel industry to get back to normal. I hope and pray we see an immediate pick up as States start to reopen next week.

At Piedmont Airlines in Charlotte, NC we have seen a very large drop off of passengers on flights. Current payloads are averaging about 1,600 passengers per day.

Charlotte-Douglas International is ranked as the tenth busiest airport in the United States. In peak travel seasons we board nearly 24,000 passengers every day. That is about 700 flights every day. We’re busy.

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By comparison, Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International is ranked the busiest airport in the world. With 2,600 flights per day they are down to 1,200. They have an estimated 104 million people come through their airport every year. That’s hard to imagine.

Even with 1,600 passengers a day coming through our airport that is still a lot of exposure to potential contamination. Boarding only five to ten passengers on a flight, I am still interacting with 20 to 40 passengers each day.

Dr. Anthony Fauci has estimated that 25 to 50 percent of cases may be asymptomatic. If that is true I may be exposed to a couple dozen contaminated people that are not showing symptoms. This does not include my coworkers.

The cruel reality is that I may be symptomatic and not realize it. That is true for any of us.
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This is a real concern. How many are you exposing yourself too.

Airline workers are purposely placing themselves in harms way to insure people can get home to check on loved ones. If you do not have to fly right now, please stay home.

Some States are now adopting a wear masks in public ordinance to help the continued mitigation of the virus.

The airlines are trying to follow suit. This is a good thing.

As employees we have been asking for masks, hand sanitizer and alcohol wipes for weeks. Due to the worldwide demand the airlines have not been able to provide them until this past week. Note: Alcohol wipes are still not being delivered.

Because of the demand people are making their own masks.

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One local woman has been making masks in her living room in exchange for a donation to the Humane Society. She heard our need and provided us a couple dozen masks. Thanks Ila.

A friend of mine posted the reality of this pandemic and how it can decimate families.

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This is real folks.

Please be smart. Be careful. Be safe.