Last week, for the first time since the pandemic began, I traveled. My best friend lives in Slidell, Louisiana, just outside of New Orleans. I usually visit her a couple of times a year and we always enjoy walking around the city, eating at amazing restaurants, shopping and visiting the many breweries that have popped up. I was originally supposed to take this trip in April, but I moved it to June when I felt it was a little safer to travel. I brought five, yes FIVE, travel sized bottles of sanitizer in my carry on, a travel package of sanitizing wipes (thanks to a co-worker who shared), and five masks. Overkill? Maybe. Safety first? Definitely.
I don’t usually travel to Louisiana in the summer months due to the heat, but as Olaf said, some people are worth melting for. My friend is getting married in November, so this trip was all about fun wedding stuff. We knew it would be different than my normal visits due to COVID-19, but we still managed to have a wonderful time.
Here is an overall look at my experience, and some tips on still having an amazing vacation, with a few small adjustments.
I flew Delta from Hartford/Springfield (BDL) to Atlanta (ATL) to Gulfport (GPT).
BDL was VERY clean. Everyone is required to wear a mask inside the airport. The lines at security were very short and I made it through in about ten minutes. It was not very busy at all when I flew out (8 am) or came home (2:30pm). The food and retail vendors were only open in the food court area. Everything in the bathrooms was touchless, but the water fountains were not.
ATL was clean. They have hand sanitizing stations set up everywhere and signs posted reminding people to social distance. The sit-down restaurants were closed, but most fast food places were open. The bathrooms were all completely touchless, but the water fountains were not. It was very busy, but most people were very good about social distancing and wearing masks.
GPT is a very small airport, so there were not many people in it at all. No one was wearing a mask except me and the people working at the airport. The mask rules are much more relaxed in Louisiana than what I was used to in Connecticut!
Delta was using a hand scanner for boarding passes, so no one touches your phone or pass but you. Plans are loaded from the back rows to the front rows, with the exception of first class, but there are no changes to the procedures for exiting the plane. Everyone got an individually packaged Purell wipe when they boarded. Masks MUST be worn for the entire flight, unless you are eating or drinking. No middle seats were booked to allow for more space between passengers.
All four planes I boarded were about 60% full, or less. There was no beverage service, but they did pass out plastic bags with a water bottle, granola bar, almonds, napkin and single use Purell hand sanitizer. Planes are sanitized in between each flight, and you can smell the cleaner through your mask.
Once I arrived, my friend and I found a few really awesome things to do, that kept us social distanced and still adventuring!