Flying During a Pandemic: Philadelphia
Flying can be frustrating and stressful. Even more so when you're flying during a pandemic and your flights get delayed. Jeff shares about his experience flying with American Airlines during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Q. Where did you fly from and to, and did you have any layovers?
A. On July 1 I flew from Philadelphia, PA to San Francisco, CA and had a layover in Phoenix, AZ. On July 6 I flew from San Francisco back to Philadelphia with a layover in Charlotte, NC. All my flights were on American Airlines.
Q. What was your check-in experience like at your starting airport?
A. My check-in experience in Philadelphia was a little confusing. There were far less staff than normal in the airport, and everyone was trying to figure out the process of checking in during a pandemic without doing anything wrong. Airports are confusing and scary in the first place, and during a pandemic things are much more confusing and scary.
Q. What was the boarding experience like and was there anything unusual?
A. My boarding experience was normal for the most part. We had to wear our masks in the airport at all times and on the plane at all times unless we were eating or drinking. Again, lots of weary travelers considering we were traveling during a pandemic.
Q. What was the flying experience like and what key things did you notice?
A. The flying experience was okay for the most part. It was definitely a struggle wearing a mask the entire flight without ripping it off. You’re in close quarters with other travelers, and it makes the experience a bit more uncomfortable.
When I was flying American Airlines had just removed their traveler capacity, so I was booked on mostly full flights even though when I booked they were supposed to be limited.
We didn’t receive the in-flight beverage or food services that are typical with flights due to safety concerns during the pandemic.
Q. Is there anything else that caught you off guard or would be good to know for other travelers at this time?
A. Nothing else caught me off guard, but American Airlines delayed 3 out of 4 of my flights; some of them multiple times. This made for a very unwelcome and uncomfortable traveling experience.
On my final flight home into Philadelphia we were delayed for multiple hours. They even delayed us when we were in the air and had our flight circle around in the sky for an extra hour before diverting us to a different airport! Then we were delayed further before finally departing for our final destination. During this time they never communicated clearly about whether we would be accommodated if we couldn’t get home.
American Airlines offered no compensation for the awful flight experience on this flight. What should have been a 5-6-hour trip home ended up being 13 hours long. This was extremely uncomfortable because we were stuck in masks for an extended period, missed out on eating at times, and there were no services to offer us food on the planes. Quite frustrating!
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