Lots of people are nervous/curious about flying right now as airlines and airports all vary so much and safety is more important than ever.
Here’s a few things we’ve learned:
Pick the right airline
We fly Southwest Airlines almost exclusively and love that they’re allowing middle seats to be empty, requiring masks, boarding in small groups, and continue to have flexible cancellation and rescheduling policies.
However, beginning December 1st, 2020, they will no longer be keeping the middle seat open. That means for trips moving forward, we will need to reconsider our options.
Since policies and procedures can change, when it is time to book your flight, we recommend you research your available airlines.
For example, Delta has emerged as an airline that continues to make high marks, and they have already pledged to keep middle seats empty through March.
Airports vary a lot
Depending on where you live or where you’re connecting, the airport policies and behavior (including mask requirements ?) of the people will be wildly different. Be prepared to find spaces where others aren’t around and limit your time as much as possible.
Fly at off-peak times
One of the best ways to avoid some of the issues above is to fly when most people aren’t. The least busy days of the week seem to be Tuesdays and Wednesdays, with the earliest and latest flights being the least full.
Sit at the back of the plane if you can
Not only will there likely be fewer people, but it will allow you to avoid the busy deplaning process. Let most everybody else go and then exit the plane.
Consider carry on bags only
This will allow you to skip the baggage claim where things can often get crowded. We never do this (packed to prepare for anything!) but some of you lighter packers might be able to pull it off.
Bring your own snacks
Not only have many/most airlines cut down on what they offer, but having your own will allow you up avoid the mostly unmasked dining areas in the airport.
Choose a rental car company carefully
Shuttles are often places where crowding and non-mask wearing are allowed.
This will vary a lot by the airport, but choose a rental car company in the terminal if you can. At MCO (Orlando International Airport), that list includes Advantage, Alamo Rent a Car, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, E-Z Rent a Car, Hertz, National, Payless, and Thrifty.
We are booked with Alamo and use online registration that allows us to skip the counter and go right to the garage to get the car, avoiding a lot of extra contact along the way.