After 11+ weeks and 2000 miles of riding the tandem in California, we are finally ready to try a new adventure, airline travel in the coronavirus era. There used to be 3 direct flights a day from John Wayne Airport (SNA for you airport code geeks—you know who you are) to Atlanta. Now there are none. That means we will be spending an hour changing planes in Salt Lake City before heading to ATL. It sort of reminds us of the 1970’s, when air travel was special, but it was harder to get places on direct flights.
11:00AM: Arrive at SNA.
11:05AM: Check in bags with Delta. The guy at the counter tells us that Delta only has 2 flights per day from SNA right now.
11:15AM: We are thru security. Normally, there are three security stations here. Only one is open now.
11:20AM: We arrive at our gate. SNA is the gateway to Disneyland. Normally, it’s rocking with people.
Not much is open. When Mickey D’s and Starbucks are closed, you know things are slow.
There are a few restaurants open. Not knowing the food status at the airport, we pack some homemade sausage hoagies on pretzel bread along with some various accoutrements.
1:10PM: Flight departs on time. Plane is about half full. Middle seat is open on the rows of three. The aisle seat is open on the rows across from us. Still, there is someone sitting a row in front of us, but everyone on the plane is required to wear a mask.
4:00PM: (MDT): Plane arrives on time in Salt Lake City. The airport is empty. Although there is no people watching to be had, you still get one of the best views in an airport.
5:10PM: Plane departs to Atlanta on time. The takeoff scenery is fabulous.
The flight is not as full as the last one. There are plenty of empty seats and passengers are spread out. There is someone in the row ahead and behind us, but again, all are wearing masks.
Neither flight has a drink cart. An announcement is made that it is illegal to drink your own alcohol on the plane. “What are you in for, kid? Drinking on a plane!” The flight attendants pass out a plastic bag with Cheez-its, Biscoffs, and a water.
They even throw in a cute Purell, but we have brought our own sanitizer wipes.
8:00PM (CDT): Over Oklahoma, the guy in the row behind us starts coughing. Maybe this isn’t such a good idea?
8:30PM (CDT): Dinner is served, somewhere over Louisiana. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches brought from California. Delicious!
10:30PM (EDT): Our plane lands, 30 minutes early. It’s the last Delta flight of the day. The airport is empty.
11:15PM: We did have to wait about 20 minutes for an Uber. And it was expensive. Lyft was cheaper, but no drivers were available. Here’s the Uber pickup area.
Midnight: Home sweet home. Turns out we have been gone 81 days.
Yeah, it took eight hours of travel time, which is longer than it normally takes, but the experience was almost…pleasant. We get bigger crowds and have to deal with more people on a visit to the grocery store. Obviously, air travel isn’t going to stay this way, but if you have to fly in the next few weeks, you might actually enjoy it.