Tag Archives: Airport

FLYING JetBlue AIRLINES DURING COVID-19 to Fort Lauderdale and back

I wish I had a different reason to fly to Fort Lauderdale, but work has been more and more draining. Issues outside of our control keep piling up and forcing delays, changes, and breakdown of relations between parties. Besides having everyday feel like “Groundhogs Day”, I had the bright idea of taking another trip since the first one was a great experience. (Here’s the article if you want to read) To top it all off, I had the crazy thought of “Hey, if United could do it, then JetBlue will kick ass.” BUt Covid-19 had other plans for this trip. I have rarely been more wrong in my life, and I have made some major mistakes. 

Flying-Over-NYC-from-LGA
Window view of New York City from my seat

JetBlue Terminal A at LaGuardia Airport  

I have to give it to LaGuardia Airport again, another solid experience. There were no major issues, some minor changes from United, and from flying on JetBlue pre-covid. There was barely any flight leaving the same time as mine; the terminal was empty. Security was a breeze, even with a Junior’s cheesecake I brought with me. TSA just made some quick jokes about the cake, and then I was on my way.

The most notable difference between United and JetBlue was a lack of people control. They kept calling groups up to the board, and there was no way of keeping social distance between the number of people standing around the board. It’s like COVID-19 didn’t exist. It was a quick experience, but they still were not following guidelines. JetBlue did get one major thing right; they gave out unlimited sanitizer pads. There was literally a sanitizing napkin station that you are free to take as many as you need. The flight itself was smooth, but getting out of the plane had the same social distance issues as the boarding. Overall, not bad, not good, but I have been through worse. 

JetBlue Sanitizing napkin station at LGA
Complimentary Sanitizing Wipe from JetBlue

Florida man or Murphy’s law strikes again. 

I don’t even know where to begin; pretty much anything that could have gone wrong went wrong. This was the literal definition of no social distancing. Zero. None. If you think that I am joking, look at the photograph below. 

Lack-Of-Social-distancing-During-Covid-19
Lack of Social distancing at the JetBlue Gate during Covid-19

I understand thatFort Lauderdale is in Florida, and the rules are lax, but when I flew United from the same airport, they were enforced. The JetBlue crew maintained social distance, but none of the staff made any effort to ensure this. It was even encouraged when they requested bags to be checked in at the gate. The trigger point for me came long before boarding started. I came to the airport early to make sure that I could get some snacks and water. Sat down near the gate as more and more people gathered. While there was some spare time, I grabbed a bottle of water, so I left my book bag filled with gear on my seat. Returning to the area, some lady had moved my bag and didn’t understand why I asked her to move.  

Her answer was, “NET English.”. She then proceeds not to understand/ignore me until I started saying COVID-19 louder and louder. Finally, she moves and pretends to be injured. I saw her walking just fine and talking to her uber driver in perfect English when we landed. I guess JetBlue cured her and taught her English over the duration of the flight. This is called “The Dying Swan” (“Умирающий лебедь”), where the person pretends to be injured or not able to speak English to guilt people into helping them.

  

Lack-Of-Social-distancing-During-Covid-19-airplace
Lack Of Social distance while boarding

Getting off was a complete nightmare. There were people without masks piled on top of each other at the exit.

Lack of Guidance and information about COVID travel forms. 

The next major issue was that no one from JetBlue notified any of the passengers on the ground about the NYS COVID traveler Health form. Passengers got a generic speech from the pilot to follow local laws, and then once we got off, the National Guard was waiting for us, requesting filled out forms. 85% of the people on the plan had to fill out the form there on the spot, knowing they were supposed to do it prior.

When Can you Fill out the Covid-19 Traveler form?

You can fill the form out on the NYS COVID traveler Health form up to 24 hours before landing. It is a waste of resources to have military personnel wait for people to fill out forms. Also, here’s a pro travel tip: BRING AT FUCKING PEN WITH YOU! None of the people filling out these forms had their own, so people were sharing pens instead. Not the best thing to do during a pandemic. 

No more JetBlue for a while

In conclusion, I will not be using JetBlue for the foreseeable future. I truly expected so much more from this airline. I loved it before the COVID-19 pandemic started, and they are even my preferred airline for my AMEX.  

National-Guard-LGA
National Guard inspecting New York State Travel Forms

As always if you would know to know about covid-19 I highly recommend getting a certified for Covid-19 tracing

Flying United Airlines During Covid-19 From LaGuardia Airport and back

Why am I flying during a pandemic? It’s late November; the COVID-19 case numbers are spiking, and I’m flying to Fort Lauderdale. Why? I’m burnt out on going into the office every day and need some time to turn the brain off and relax. In all fairness, I was expecting a complete shit show from what the media was describing, i.e., people not wanting to wear masks and pure chaos. Topping it off, I was flying in and out of LaGuardia airport, which to New Yorkers, is the worst airport that you can leave out of to go anywhere at any time. Think Murphy’s law centralized into one location: anything that can go wrong will go wrong at Laguardia Airport! Remember the ducks that took out the airplane? YUP, you guessed it! 

LaGuardia Airport New stores
LaGuardia Airport New stores new Look new everything

Getting in and out of LaGuardia Airport

The first sign that the stars were aligned in my favor was that it took only 25ish minutes to get from Sunset Park, Brooklyn, to LaGuardia Airport. No traffic, I mean none at all! ZERO! You would expect me to get into a massive line at LaGuardia airport, though, wouldn’t you? NOPE! 5 minutes to get through Terminal B. Construction was just finished on the terminal, and it looked great. Plus, no people around.

The biggest issue that I had was finding the American Express Centurion Lounge closed due to COVID. In fact, there were no open lounges at all inside of the airport. Why do I like lounges? FREE FOOD AND ALCOHOL. (One of the many benefits of having a Platinum Amex is that it is still worth it in 2020?)  COVID forced restaurants and most of the lounges to close due to restrictions, unfortunately. Airports were never designed to handle COVID, but since there are far fewer people flying than before, it’s a lot easier. I went on this flight sober for…the first time in a long time. 

Untied Flight to Florida demonstration of how many people per flight

In the sky

I am combining both the flight back and forth to Fort Lauderdale in one segment. Let me say that the staff and overall experience was great, which helps a lot with the anxiety of traveling these days. However, I was still not 100% mentally ready for people after everything that’s been going on. You won’t understand what I’m talking about until you are in a confined space with people you don’t know during a pandemic. United was on point with their boarding process as you no longer board in groups but rather in four-row sections for less congestion.

When they enter, they receive a wipe packet for their use on their seat or hands or whatever they want to sanitize. The staff and ground crew disinfect the plane after each flight, but that touch of letting us do it as well is very nice. It’s purely mental to let the passenger think that everything is cleaner because they did it themselves. As a bonus, the flight back even had pre-made snack packs. 

Untied Airlines COVID Snack Pack
Untied Airlines COVID Snack Pack containing Sanitizing wipes, Water Pretzel and Stroopwafel

My only issue with the flight was that there were no beverage purchases allowed. Don’t freak out, United Airlines had water and Coke products available for free, but I just needed a real drink. There was nothing on the ground or in the air to calm my nerves. There were way too many people in one place. I was not ready for it at all. Did I deal with it? Yes. Was there stress? Yes. Still, Jack Daniels and coke would have made things a lot better. 

Crazy People on the flight

I don’t know if I was lucky or if the media has been blowing things out of proportion * cough* media *cough*, but everyone on my flight followed the rules, did what they were told, and were super chill. I can even say that they were nicer than normal. The only issue was a woman saying she was not told about the NYS COVID traveler Health form. The boarding crew only mentioned it 10 times and said that New State was enforcing it, but k

National Guard COVID Checkpoint in LaGuardia Airport
National Guard Check point to verify that travelers filled out their COVID-19 Travel forms for New York State

You could say her jaw dropped when she saw a squad of National Guard at the gate checking for the online form email. LESSON to my readers: fill out the form before you get on the plane!

Here is the link to the New York State Travel Health Form for those in the back who think New York State is playing.

Is it worth traveling?

Overall the whole process was pretty damn good. I got the break I needed and came back refreshed. Do I recommend it to everyone? Sure. But take it with a grain of salt from someone like me. I’m in construction; we had a 9% fatality rate in 2018. <link> I take on risk my whole life. This isn’t that bad use your head and think for yourself. This is just an opinion of a fat guy from Brooklyn. What do I know?

If you would like to know more about COVID, I highly recommend taking a COVID tracing Course