Air Travel in the Time of Coronavirus: Ghostly Airports but Easy Security Checks

Image used for representation purpose. (Photo: AFP Relaxnews)

Image used for illustration objective. (Photo: AFP Relaxnews)

“Can you take your mask off?” a safety officer politely asks. She wants to match a traveller’s face to his photograph ID.

  • AFP Relaxnews
  • Last Updated: April 27, 2020, 6:33 PM IST

Following are some scenes witnessed by AFP journalists in the course of the uncommon expertise of flying from South Dakota to Washington within the time of the pandemic.

Denver, cancelled. Phoenix, likewise. A single airplane is taking off this Saturday from the small airport in Rapid City, South Dakota, headed for Minneapolis, Minnesota.

In the Rapid City airport, each store is closed. A gray-haired upkeep employee, not carrying a masks, fastidiously disinfects the handrail of an escalator within the near-empty terminal.

But there may be one upside to the grim scenario: For as soon as, there isn’t a line to get by way of the safety verify. “Can you take your mask off?” a safety officer politely asks. She wants to match a traveller’s face to his photograph ID.

Signs posted throughout the boarding gates ask “What is social distancing?” The reminder is just not essentially overkill in a state that is without doubt one of the only a few to not have positioned its residents below lockdown in the course of the pandemic.

The few folks travelling are well mannered and disciplined, sustaining an applicable distance between each other earlier than boarding. Some even put on masks – a rarity on this a part of the nation.

Since Delta Air Lines had cancelled two flights yesterday from Rapid City to Minneapolis relatively than fly practically empty planes, Saturday’s flight has about 20 travellers – seated by Delta in a relatively unusual trend.

People not travelling collectively are seated subsequent to one another, lots of them towards the rear of the small airplane, whereas a number of rows of seats towards the entrance stay empty.

– No on-board service –

“We do not offer service on board,” a flight attendant, carrying gloves however no masks, pronounces apologetically, as she passes out plastic baggage containing snacks, bottles of water and disinfecting wipes.

She strikes up and down the aisle continuously with a trash bag to make certain nobody leaves any waste within the seatback pouches.

The AFP staff has a short layover in Minneapolis, the place most outlets and eating places are closed.

In this main regional hub, usually vigorous, an nearly oppressive silence reigns, damaged solely by the common pleas on the public-address system for folks to take correct protecting measures.

As the travellers put together for take-off on one other Delta flight certain for Baltimore-Washington International airport, a video is proven for passengers with recommendation on anti-virus precautions – earlier than the standard video explaining the right way to inflate a life jacket or discover the exits within the occasion of a water touchdown.

In this airplane, a lot bigger than the primary one, every individual enjoys a whole row of three seats – nearly like flying in firstclass, solely with out the Champagne.

Upon our arrival at BWI airport, folks soar up from their seats, not likely respecting any type of social distance.

Bad habits, it appears, usually are not so simply forgotten.

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