I want to start this post by saying that I’m writing from my own personal experience and decision to travel during the coronavirus pandemic. I’m a firm advocate for following the CDC guidelines that are constantly evolving, but maintain the pillars of up-keeping personal hygiene, maintaining social distance, and wearing a face mask in public settings. By no means do you have to agree or disagree with my decision or feel influenced to make any decision.
TRAVELING BY PLANE & FOLLOWING CORONAVIRUS TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS
I’m currently writing from my Southwest Airlines terminal, with heavy bags under my eyes and a heavier heart as I wrap up a reunion with my college best friends in Boston, MA. When people learned I was traveling to Boston during the coronavirus pandemic, it was an equal level of concern at both my decision and travel destination.
I know that my decision to travel during quarantine included a lot of risk. As I’ll get to in a bit, I felt comfortable with the risk that came with traveling thanks to the procedures implemented by Southwest to make my time on a plane as safe as possible. From the open middle seats, to the request to properly wear and secure face masks on the plane, I felt comfortable in my experience being on a plane during quarantine. When I landed in Boston, I was ready to follow the Massachusetts coronavirus travel restrictions and I was glad that some of my best friends were at the ready to pick me up.
I wanted to write from my perspective of what it was like going through an airport and flying in the hopes of educating others. Whether you have considered traveling this summer, or planning a staycation, wear your face masks in public settings, get tested for COVID-19, and practice social distancing. With that said, welcome to my travel blog on flying Southwest during coronavirus travel restrictions from Los Angeles, CA to Boston, MA.
Looking up coronavirus travel restrictions by state & doing it often
The first step in planning my trip was researching the Massachusetts travel restrictions. How did I go about this you may ask? Google! With the knowledge of COVID-19 constantly developing, it’s paramount to know travel restrictions for any place you may travel during quarantine. Consider how I was not coming from a low-risk state. I was coming in from California and many state’s coronavirus travel restrictions require a 14-day quarantine upon arrival.
Current Massachusetts travel restrictions allowed me to skip the quarantine period if I could submit a negative coronavirus test taken within 72-hours of arrival. This meant that as long as my test result was negative, and I had proof upon request, I could return to California and avoid a $500 fine for not following travel guidelines. I highly stress that even if you imagine, or know someone, planning to travel that you see the travel restrictions for the state, city, place that you’re going to.
Even if you are granted permission to avoid the quarantine period, that does not mean that you can then ignore CDC safety guidelines. Something that I wanted to stress is that before you travel, it’s imperative to practice social distancing and following safety guidelines to ensure that you are not posing a risk to others. Before I left for Boston, I spent about 2 weeks preparing for the trip by securing PPE, limiting my time outside, and as always, wearing a face mask in public settings.
Traveling by plane during coronavirus pandemic
My everyday carry items in 2020 include: car keys; phone; wallet; gum; hand sanitizer; antibacterial wipes; and at least two face masks. After receiving my negative COVID-19 test, I made sure that I multiple copies of my exam in all of my luggage. I also made sure that my travel bags had plenty of PPE and face coverings for my trip to Massachusetts. Just like I act like a facemask wearing citizen back in L.A., I made sure that in Boston I did my part to protect myself and others.
As for my experience flying, again kudos to Southwest Airlines for implementing multiple safety procedures from waiting to board to being on the plane. In the many airports I stopped at, the terminals included seats blocked off for social distancing. We then boarded our Southwest planes in groups of 10. Before boarding each plane, I changed into a new face mask. On each flight the middle seats were open to continue social distancing. And it was comforting to see many passengers also wiping down their seats and trays. The practice of added disinfecting was even encouraged as the Southwest stewardess went through the aisles collecting used sanitizing wipes.
Overall, I felt that my Southwest flight experience during a period of coronavirus travel restrictions was as safe as it could be given this unprecedented situation. Well, I’m going to board in a few minutes, so let me go wash my hands and put on a fresh face mask!
Author William Samayoa
Marketer by profession and storyteller by passion. L.A. raised, proud Latino, and pop culture enthusiast.