The surreal experience of flying during a pandemic

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I flew a few days after flights resumed after 9-11. Few people at the airport, maybe a dozen on the flight. Just remember that food options were limited. Quiet mostly.


One would have to crazy to fly today. What business can’t be done by other means?

Air travel, is it worth dying for?


The fear is not going to go away for a long, long time. The world has finally woken up to the idea that we are all connected not the usual “good way” but in a way that affects us so pervasively that we can no longer trust each other in the cavalier manner that we used to.


I just wanna get to somewhere where I have health insurance, since the government seems determined to infect me here in the US.


I’m on the side of the recalcitrant seatmate.

Outside the gate, passengers sat five or six seats apart, barely acknowledging one another, let alone attempting conversation.

Was that a common thing before the pandemic, striking up conversations with strangers in departure lounges? I don’t recall seeing it.

I’m hoping to return home some day. My current ticket (in June) isn’t too bad, but if the airline canels the flight (90% likelihood) then to get back I will have to take a multiflight international grand tour of coronavirus hot spots.


If one of my elderly inlaws dies of COVID, someone in the family is likely going to be flying to make arrangements and settle estate issues I’d imagine. Death begets opportunity for sickness I guess.


People are thinking that they can show up right before the flight lately- thinking that with fewer flying they’ll just waltz through security- and missing their flights. Social distancing effects screening time.


That’s why I’m getting on a plane Wednesday morning.


I’m sorry to hear it.


I sympathize with him, but not with his attitude. His behavior amounted to saying that because he was seated before his seatmate, someone else doesn’t get to fly. If he was that concerned, then he should have deplaned before takeoff. His behavior said that he was understandably upset at an upsetting situation, but only enough to make someone else pay for it.

If the author of the article had been seated first, I strongly doubt the seatmate would have deplaned. He probably would have tried to displace someone else and continue his childish impromptu game of musical chairs.

That said, the real screw-up here is on the part of the airline that put profit before the lives of the travelers, airline workers and anyone they come into contact with and thereby risked all the passengers’ lives by not spacing out seating.

Yes, even in airport lounges people used to socialize in the before times.


And possibly births: My dear pregnant niece is due in a week or so. With I being the one exception, all relatives are no more than 4 hours drive away from seeing her and the newborn face-to-face. From what I’ve heard so far, relatives are already grieving that they won’t be with her for the celebration… and there’s a desperate temptation building up.


It depends. Airport bars are still the most likely place to have a conversation, but when you’re waiting outside the gate I have found them more likely to happen the longer your flight has been delayed. You have a common experience to complain about, after all. I am usually pretty introverted but if someone starts a conversation I will continue it.

Also (and not related to anything you said), I don’t think anyone thought COVID-19 would make air travel better.


I’m so sorry.




I was thinking about the guy taking a hard line on “social distancing” on a plane; where the air is recycled.

And they used to smoke too; I’m sure that I remember that.

@Bob_Brinkman All the very best


ChuckV, Mindysan33
I appreciate it. It’s been tough. Still, it serves as a good reminder of why some folks are traveling. IT is really shitty out there.


Stay safe, and adding my sympathies and condolences for your loss. We recently lost a dear family member. His will chose cremation and even getting that done during the initial panic was understandably difficult. Memorial services in two states are still delayed.

Sorry you have to fly during this.


Presumably the row behind was empty. I don’t think we have enough from the story to assume he would want to kick the guy who came later off the plane if there was no room.

I agree that the guy had a bad attitude. If he had a gripe he should have summoned the flight attendant. He also could have known that the adjacent seat was reserved, by checking seats before the flight.

Huh. I’ve been flying for 50 years – longer if you count flights with my parents – and have only been in a departure lounge conversation with strangers once. (Trains, on the other hand…I made lots of friends in the piano bar of the Broadway Limited back in the day.)

They used to smoke on the planes. For a while in the 80s I was commuting between Chicago and London, for some reason the flights I took often seemed to attract groups of German businessmen who would gather in the back of the smoking cabin and smoke and drink.

(Edited to correct my age, which I’d underestimated by 10 years.)


Maybe, maybe not. For all we know passengers simply had yet to be seated there. But the point is that he wanted to make it the author’s problem, when it’s the airline that screwed up.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying the bad situation was the seatmate’s fault or responsibility to avoid. Acting like a petulant toddler by blocking the aisle was just foolish. And trying to make another passenger pay for the airline’s mistake was selfish.