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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