The pandemic has caused my travel to drop from almost weekly trips for several years, to a few trips total in the past year. Definitely a change. Thanks to vaccinations in the USA, things are ramping up. For me, over the past few weeks I’ve had several work trips. So far, air travel in spring 2021 is almost starting to feel normal. Definitely less business travelers, and more leisure travel, but mostly full flights, busy airports seem like typical travel times before 2020.
While my company still officially has a travel ban, it is winding down and not that restrictive, domestically at least. Most of my work travel is customer-facing, and that is an easy exception. I traveled some before being fully vaccinated, and wasn’t that worried, I definitely do take more comfort now being well past my second shot. I haven’t done much leisure travel of late, but that is about to change. Family trip to Europe is coming soon. Not as originally planned, but taking advantage of Croatia and Spain being open to vaccinated Americans in June. Croatia already is, and Spain will be (hopefully?) by the time we go there.
Domestic travel in Spring 2021
While there are less flights in 2021 than in past years, in my travels airports seem busy, and flights I’ve experienced have been full or close. There are less flight options, and since I almost always am connecting, this can be annoying. I’ve been flying American as much as possible, and my status has helped me get upgraded on almost every eligible flight. I’ve had a few flights on Delta as well. Not exactly my primary or even secondary choice, but nonstop to Detroit was hard to pass up, when I had to be there for work. Delta isn’t my preferred (or even secondary) carrier, but 45 minutes nonstop, vs multiple hours with a connection made it the obvious choice.
Not breaking any news here, but service on board Delta is better than American. I mean, there isn’t much service in economy on any US carrier, especially these days. But at least they are more generous with their snack bags…the only service offered. Both airlines have a similar offering, a bag containing a small water bottle, a sanitizing wipe, and a snack. Delta seems to offer this on all flights, even the ~300 mile hop I took, but on American, bags are only provided in flights over 900 miles.
While most of my travel is for work, it really seems like most travel is leisure focused. I base this on upgrades clearing on all AA flights, usually right when the window opens. Plus, I’ve seen massive TSA lines at times, but PreCheck seems to be wide open. Once airside, gates to Florida airports and other warm weather destination seem to be jam packed.
Domestic US travel is ramping up, as the summer travel season begins. Will 2021 be more normal? Probably not, but seemingly closer to whatever the new normal is. I think we are far from a full recovery, but, at least to me, travel feels pretty similar to what it did in 2019 and before. Stay safe, and hopefully you can enjoy getting out there again.