Hello from Rochester, MN
On Monday I took my third flight of the year. Things have changed a lot in the last year. Below are my observations.
Here are the 10 things that I observed that are different when flying this week –
#1 – Expect airports to be half full – Actually, this is very nice as less velocity means less stress. My connecting flight was through Chicago, O’Hare and the main United terminals of B and C were active but not rushed. The secondary terminals of E and F were very empty.
#2 – Most sit-down food service in ORD was closed – But of course McDonald’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Starbucks were open along with the convenience stores.
#3 – Many airline club rooms are closed – Only one United Club (B6) was open during my trip.
#4 – Airplanes were more full than I expected – My flight to Chicago was full on Monday at 6 am. My flight to Rochester was a small regional jet with a dozen open seats. The airlines have about 1400 airplanes sitting in the desert that have been mothballed from COVID. They will slowly bring some back into service as demand picks up.
#5 – Things seem to be cleaner than before – Fewer travelers means that the staff can stay ahead of cleaning better than before. The restrooms were clean and the airplanes were clean. Maybe that is a silver lining takeaway from COVID.
#6 – I miss the shoeshine guys – Traveling is the one time I get to spoil myself with a shoeshine. This week both the shoeshine stands in the United terminals were closed. Also, the shine stand in Omaha was closed. You will know that the business traveler is back traveling again when you see the shoeshine stands resurrected.
#7 – TSA Pre-Check line was only three people deep – Obviously with fewer people traveling the security lines are shorter. However, as travel starts to build and 6-foot social distancing I could see the lines soon extending 100 yards long.
#8 – Shopping in airports is hit or miss – Many stores are closed and some are short-staffed. If you have a long layover and usually do a little browsing you will be disappointed.
#9 – Everyone is wearing a mask – Some are wearing two masks. Most are cloth masks. Black masks appear to be the most popular. Most people are wearing masks with designs. It seemed that I was one of the few that wore a simple paper blue mask. I better work on my fashion statement a little more.
#10 – Travel industry staffing could reach nightmare levels if demand increases all at once – COVID almost killed the travel industry so everyone has cut back on staff. Service will suffer big time as travel picks up as businesses will wait for demand to increase before they bring on new staff. If the pent-up demand that people are talking about hits all at once later this spring we could see a nightmare decline in service levels as hiring staff falls way behind the increase in demand.
Here are two great autumn journeys with Women of the Midwest –
Our popular women-only travel concept, Women of the Midwest, offers two repeated tours this autumn. Greece, “In the Footsteps of St. Paul”, October 15-24, a breathtaking route featuring UNESCO World Heritage sites, ruins of the Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman empires, Philippi, Thessaloniki, Meteora, Delphi, Ancient Corinth, and Athens. And the “Historic South”, October 24-30, from Charleston through Savannah to St. Augustine. Experience Jekyll Island, moss-draped oaks, breezes off the bay, great Southern cuisine, and much more! CLICK HERE to see the detailed tour programs and call or email Beth at our friendly group department, (402) 858-0033 / GroupDepartment@executivetravel.com.
Small groups, max. 20 travelers, and “Pair & Share” is offered for solo travelers!