Air Travel and some common sense precautions

Recently, my spouse and I found ourselves boarding a United Airlines international flight.

  1. The flight was PACKED. Not a single vacant seat.
  2. The airport was packed. There was no indication of any travel ‘slowdown’.

Should you wear a face shield?

The decision is of course, yours. We forsake the shield for a solution inspired by Dr. Fauci. Wear a Double Mask.

It bears repeating. Wear two masks instead of one.

The inner mask should preferably be of simple breathable cotton. The outer mask can be a K95 or whatever higher grade mask you feel comfortable wearing.

Wearing TWO MASKS, drastically reduces the chances of air particulates crossing the barrier to your nose / mouth.

In a PACKED flight, where you may be seated next to a Covidiot (see next section), the double mask made both of us feel extra safe.

NOTE: Even if you wear a face shield, you are still REQUIRED to wear a mask underneath.

The Covidiot Sitting Next to You

The gentleman who had the window seat (my wife and I were in the aisle and middle), proudly barged through and sat quietly down next to my wife. I didn’t notice anything unusual, until my wife whispered to me — His mask is not covering his mouth

When I looked again, it was a strange TYPE of mask — it wasn’t a real mask — just something that had been home fashioned — and that left both sides of the face wide open. The only thing it covered was his nose, and that too, incompletely.

From a distance though, he did APPEAR to have a mask on, as required by the airline.

Giving him the benefit of doubt, I politely offered him a brand new spare mask, pointing out his mask seemed to be ‘broken’.

He refused saying he was ‘okay’.

I left my seat (all this is before take off) and spoke to a flight attendant. She, much to United’s discredit, gave him a cursory glance, and went back to her station (I am assuming she saw what appeared to be a mask, and was satisfied).

I got up AGAIN and approached her — I thought I had explained to her, the first time, that the mask was DEFECTIVE. She did not seem interested, as he had apparently passed her ‘2 second glance’ test.

When I went back to my seat, my wife suggested I speak to the Captain. What a great idea, I thought to myself. I found the head steward before the Captain — and I explained the situation to him.

When the head steward came by our row, it took him ONE LOOK to identify what the problem was. (once again, to the complete discredit of the previous flight attendant).

He stepped aside, brought over a brand new mask and offered it to the window gentleman, with the advice that he ‘NEEDED TO PUT THIS ON’.

The gentleman once again, refused — claiming he was ‘okay’. No — said the steward, your mask does not cover your nose and mouth. You will need to put this new mask on.

The gentleman tries to protest ‘but my mask — it is covering my face…’. The Steward says — No Sir, it is not covering your mouth. Please put this on.

Reluctantly, the window passenger complied.

Moral of the story — don’t put your family’s health at risk because the guy on the next seat may be a confirmed Covidiot.

You don’t have to be COVID POSITIVE to kill people, you just have to POSITIVELY IGNORANT and uncaring, as this gentleman was. The only thing I can say in his defense was, he didn’t put up much of fight, once the Steward got involved.

Interestingly, this incident was followed by a stern announcement by the Captain — ‘All passengers MUST wear a mask that completely covers your nose and mouth. No Exceptions’.

Okay — so double masks, and watch out for Covidiots. What else?

Two small bottles of hand sanitizers (one in my pocket, one if my wife’s). Anytime you interact with objects (like going to the restroom), make sure you use your sanitizer.

That again, is plain common sense and also simple to implement.

What else besides doubles masks and hand sanitizers?

Airlines and Airports are surprisingly clean — and constantly cleaning.

They have a lot to lose should there be a breakout.

The ONE THING I would encourage airports and airlines to do, is a temperature check. It takes less than 3 seconds and is an additional safety check, that comforts other travelers. I am unsure of why this was not implemented.

When we landed in Mexico, EVERY place and their uncle was doing these 3 second temperature checks. You couldn’t even get into a cab without being temperature checked! I found this great!

And we call Mexico a 3rd world country! The joke is definitely on us!

In Conclusion

If you have been worried about air travel (or Uber travel), our experience showed that both Uber and Airlines are extremely cautious and taking all the precautions they can (with the exception of real time temperature checks).

I have heard that long distance flights, are only filling every alternate seat, leading to a greater sense of comfort.

Overall, while we were a little bit stressed at the start of our journey, our sense of comfort grew. Of course, we self isolated for two weeks — but we felt good about the progress that the travel industry displayed during our journey out of — and back to the U.S.

Have you traveled by air in Covid Times? What has your experience been like?

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