I flew on one of the few remaining flights during the coronavirus pandemic, and it was unlike anything I'd ever seen
- Domestic air travel has come to a near standstill amid the coronavirus outbreak sweeping across the United States.
- But there are still a handful of of flights available for passengers with necessary travel.
- I took one of them to Minnesota on April 3 to help support my family during the crisis, and the experience shocked me.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Air travel has come to a near-complete halt in the United States as the coronavirus pandemic crests on each coast, ripping through cities like New York City and Seattle and surging inward.Delta, one of the world's largest airlines in 2019, said in a memo Friday that it's seen a 95% reduction in demand, resulting in nearly 80% of its flights being canceled, following recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention against domestic travel from certain states.
After quarantining in my apartment for over two weeks, I flew home on April 3 to help support my family during the crisis. Before greeting them, I'll be self-quarantining away from them for an additional two weeks.The travel experience was unlike anything I'd ever seen.
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As per the CDC's guidelines, people should stay put if they can. But if you do need to fly somewhere, there are a number of precautions you can and should take.
I purchased my ticket less than a week before traveling, and it was around $200 cheaper than the average pre-pandemic price.Advertisement
I tried to avoid public transportation by taking an Uber, but that comes with its own risks. Both the driver and I took an abundance of caution.
I instructed my driver to go to LaGuardia's Terminal D based on my ticket information, but when we arrived, it was completely blocked off and shut down.Advertisement
When I arrived at the correct terminal, it was a ghost town. There were literally zero passengers in ticket lines or the security line.
It was nice to be able to take my time at security, though, with no one rushing me. I still had to remove my shoes and everything from my pockets.Advertisement
The inside of the terminal was deserted. Most of the gates I saw that would usually be filled with travelers were empty.
The flight-status monitors were a stark reminder of the pandemic's overall effect on travel. Nearly every scheduled flight was canceled.Advertisement
After gawking at all the canceled flights, I made the long walk from Terminal C (where security was) to my Terminal D flight. I stopped to try to get some hand sanitizer out of a dispenser.
When I arrived at Terminal D, some of the restaurants and bars appeared to be open...Advertisement
...but no one was inside.
I saw fewer than five other passengers in the entire airport until I arrived at my gate, where about 10 to 20 people were waiting. Most others were wearing masks. Some had gloves on and kept their hand sanitizer within reach.Advertisement
Flight attendants, workers, and passengers were taking extra precautions.
In-flight services were reduced, but got the job done.Advertisement
Overall, the in-flight experience was somewhat frightening but not as bad as I expected.
When I got off the plane in Minneapolis, Minnesota, I was greeted by another empty airport.Advertisement
Stores and restaurants were also shut down in Minneapolis.
There were no cars waiting outside the airport.Advertisement
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