Traveling home during school breaks is already a struggle when your flight is eight hours long, plus layovers. However, adding the fact that flights are getting canceled daily due to the Coronavirus pandemic, as well as having to book the flight so short in advance, added more levels of frustration and required energy when I started my trip.
I originally booked my flight a week in advance, flying out of Boston, MA into Las Vegas, NV then from Vegas to Sacramento, CA. Having a layover is something I’m used to; however, a day-long layover is not as common during my travels. My flight from Vegas to Sacramento was canceled last-minute and normally this wouldn’t be a big issue, but with the decrease in options, no other airlines were flying until the next day.
Even though the airline that canceled the flight credited me the money for a new flight, that specific airline did not have another flight to Sacramento until four days later. Because of this, I lost the money, but thankfully the flights were cheap, and I booked one for the next day.
Overnight, I stayed in a nice hotel that had their kitchen closed, as well as many other amenities. While the hotel was not full of guests, the majority looked like travelers, due to their multiple pieces of luggage, that were waiting out complications with their flights as well. The frustration and tired faces worn by the guests portrayed the negative effects of traveling.
The airports were practically empty and only about half of the people in them were wearing a mask and/or gloves. Even though only half of the travelers acted differently, all three of the airports definitely looked like a pandemic was taking place. In the Las Vegas airport, all of the gambling machines and equipment were closed and taped off, and all but three restaurants/stores were closed. Only a few airport employees could be seen past the security checkpoint.
The airlines I booked with originally stated that, due to the small number of travelers on the plane, the seat assignments would be enforced to balance out the weight. However, after everyone was seated, the travelers were granted permission to change seats and encouraged to put space between themselves.
Even though this travel experience was not as smooth as the previous times, I am grateful to have gotten home and back to my family during all of this chaos.