20 Dec Pandemic Travel
Today I am flying from Rome to Chicago. I am seeing family for the holidays and meeting up with Che to do some work before returning home to Siena. I haven’t flown in two years, and I have been curious about what pandemic travel might be like.
Things have been changing fast. Every few weeks since I planned this trip, the rules have changed, and I have had to adjust. It has required paying attention and being ready to make changes, but for the most part the actual experience isn’t that bad. No one that I saw was unwilling to follow the guidelines. Some people made mistakes, forgot to pull the mask back up after eating, left a nose uncovered here or there, but the flight attendants are good at gentle reminders and everything went smoothly.
The only criticism I have of the process currently in place for pandemic flying is that it would be very easy to falsify documentation of test results if one wanted to. I’m not sure why one would want to, maybe just out of laziness. It would certainly take less time to fake the document than to go wait in line to get tested. Obviously, if there were an internationally recognized format and centralized database for test and vaccination records, it would be easy to imagine an app for on the spot verification of any documentation provided on paper.
On a personal level, I found it difficult to sleep in the face mask, and it took a while to calm my breathing. I eventually managed it and became a black and blue mask mummy for the first two hours of the flight. Those who have traveled with me know that I pack late and sleep little before a flight, so once I am finally seated and have convinced the flight attendants to give me wine for me and my “invisible friend,” I usually catch up on sleep for the first couple of hours on the plane.
I look kinda super-villainish, right? Happy Holidays!