COVID-19 has affected just about everything, including air travel. Airlines and airports have implemented many changes to make the experience safer for travelers. Many of our advisors have hit the road – or should we say skies – and share what to expect when you fly below.
Delta, United, and American Airlines caught up with Southwest and did away with change fees for domestic flights. That means if you book a flight and decide to postpone it, you can change your flight dates without the $200 penalty many airlines charged. (However, you do not get a refund unless you purchase a refundable ticket.) Check out this article to get more details about each airline’s policies.
Communication is always key, and in the age of COVID, more is more. Independent Advisor Andrea Schubiner shared that Delta did an incredible job clarifying expectations. From notifications upon flight confirmation to a text two days prior to travel to even a reminder to social distance text upon arrival, Delta went the extra mile to make sure travelers understand their policies and protocols.
Though security is generally the same (bring wipes or hand sanitizer for touching those bins!), you will see changes in the airport. Many have seats blocked off at the gates to encourage social distancing, and you’ll hear reminders of the safety protocols through the speakers. We’ve heard mixed reviews on whether restaurants and shops are open, so pack a snack if you know you’ll be hungry to be on the safe side.
Safety in the SkyClub
Gone are the days of the buffet presentations. Instead, our advisors have reported that lounges like the Delta SkyClub have individually packaged snacks. And though you have to go to the bar to order a drink, you can still toast to getting back to travel!
During the boarding process and in-flight, airlines are requiring all passengers to wear masks. We’ve all heard the one-off scenarios of a disgruntled passenger taking off their mask, but airlines are doing a good job cracking down on offenders to keep everyone safe. Brownell Incentive Travel’s New Business Executive Dawn Bridges even shared that one passenger was wearing a mask that was not compliant, so the airline provided one that kept the passenger and other travelers safe.
For some airlines, the boarding process will feel more normal, though it may take longer and everyone must wear a mask. Delta has implemented a boarding from the back strategy and only boards a few rows at a time. Those who are in First Class or Sky Priority can board at any time. Airlines are also handing out hand sanitizer and/or a wipe so that you can clean your area. The general consensus from our team is to bring extra wipes so you can give the your space a deeper clean.
Limited In-Flight Service
Similar to before COVID, your in-flight food and beverage services depends on your class of service (Economy, Premium Economy, Business, etc) and the length of your flight. For some shorter flights, there is no service, even if you are in First Class, so pack your refreshments accordingly. If you do get snacks or a beverage, it is most likely small bottle of water and a salty or sweet treat.
Middle Seats Blocked (Sometimes!)
Delta stands apart from the rest again with their commitment to blocking the middle seats. It may not put you six feet from your next passenger, but it does give you a little more room to breath (with your mask on, of course!). Other airlines that are not blocking seats say that they will notify you if your flight is more full and you have the option to change your flight without penalty.
Though the air travel experience is different, our team all agrees with Brownell Independent Advisor Winn Harris that the reward of a fabulous stay is worth it! Whether you are ready to take to the skies, prefer a trip within driving distance, or aren’t quite ready to travel, our team is here to help you navigate the changes and plan your perfect getaway. Click here to start dreaming and planning!