…and it was great! We had waivered back and forth for a few weeks on whether or not we should take a trip to Arizona to visit my mother-in-law, but in the end we decided the dirt-cheap airfare rates were just too good to pass up. It was the first trip to Tucson for the kids, and it was a great break from our cooped-up lives in Ohio.
Our first flight left Columbus at 1:25 p.m. on a Wednesday. We were running late, because that’s what we do. There’s just no escaping the fact that we will always be that family running through the airport. It didn’t help that when we reached the long-term parking lot it was closed for some sort of maintenance. We tried to follow signs for a different lot but ended up driving in a big circle, so with no more time to mess around we headed to the garage, knowing full-well our vacation budget would be taking a hit before we even left the ground.
Luckily, the Columbus airport was was pretty empty. I had checked us in from my phone, between yelling at the kids and clutching the seat while my husband dodged traffic. There was no one in the baggage-check line, so we were able to walk right up to the counter. Then we hit security, where there was also NO ONE in line. Walked right up again, whispering a prayer of thanks. After security, we were home free and I was able to stop sweating.
The boarding process was a little different in that they only called groups of 10 at a time. As they called groups, passengers had to line up with the marked spots on the floor for social distancing. Seemed to be a little slower of a process, but we were also always one of the very last boarding groups.
The flight itself was great. To be clear, I do not like flying. I should probably take something before boarding a plane…or at least get drunk. But for some reason, I didn’t freak out too much this time. One nice thing is that Southwest is keeping all middle seats vacant (unless you are in a family that wants to sit right next to each other) until the end of July I think, so we could really spread out – even though technically all our flights were “full”. The plane we were on had 2 sets of three seats separated by the aisle, so my boys sat on one side and my husband and I were on the other – with open seats between all of us.
We had a layover in Chicago, and once again this airport was pretty slow. Not a lot of people walking around and quite a few of the restaurants were closed, even more than in Columbus actually. We were about to give up on the idea of having any kind of lunch when we found signs directing us to a different concourse for food. We had to hike it to find a place to eat, but we had a long layover anyway. Keep this in mind if you’re hoping to eat at an airport right now.
When we landed in Tucson, we found another quiet airport. In fact, we had to do some investigation work to find our rental car. Most of the rental car counters were closed, and we had to follow signs leading us to a little booth out in a parking garage to pick up our car. We were tired at that point, but it really wasn’t bad. Just ready to get to our air bnb.
Our trip home on June 17 was pretty much the same, except that our layover was in Las Vegas instead of Chicago – the Las Vegas airport was definitely the busiest one we experienced. A few of their restaurants were closed, but most were open – and it was CROWDED. Seemed like a normal day in Vegas!
I am so glad we took this trip – the kids really enjoyed seeing their grandma in Arizona (that blog is up next), and we were able to feel almost normal for a week. The only hard part for us was having to wear a mask in the airports and during the flights; that was a LONG day to have a mask on your face. I could really tell I wasn’t breathing well by the end of the day and had to take it off as soon as we stepped outside the airport. I have to wonder if the airlines will make exceptions for people with asthma or other breathing issues? Other than that, everything was smooth and it was a great time to fly! If you’re a healthy person on the fence about whether to fly right now, I say go for it. Rates are fantastic!
I like the thought of free middle seat inside the plane but since we are now on level 1 in NZ so we’re back to almost normal and we can now mingle back with no restrictions so back to having a seatmate sadly.
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Thanks so much for sharing your insights! I’m still on the fence but it’s good to hear specifics from someone who has done it.
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I bet things are more crowded at the terminals now, although I hear a lot of the restaurants and shops are still not open. I don’t think there have been any outbreaks due to plane travel, and they do a great job of filtering the air – better than a lot of schools and offices. You should go for it 👍
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