A pandemic has taken over nearly everyone’s minds, but if you are walking through an airport, you would have no idea. Coronavirus is serious. Now is not the time to go on your spring break trip.
Industries across the board have felt the effects of coronavirus from restaurants to movie theaters. Airlines are unsurprisingly one of these industries as people are less likely to travel while there is a deadly virus amongst us.
With airlines reporting billions of dollars in losses, you would think that a change would be apparent from just walking around an airport. These airlines may be losing money, but there are still plenty of people buying these cheap tickets and behaving in their usual, unsanitary manner.
After SXSW was canceled, I was one of those people taking advantage of discounted flights. With my spring break opened up, I scheduled a two day trip to Denver. I selfishly thought that coronavirus was something that could never affect me at the time of booking my flight.
My airport experience only reinforced this. Apart from slightly shorter lines and travelers improperly wearing surgical masks, the Denver International Airport behaved as if nothing was wrong. The Louis Armstrong International Airport in New Orleans, too, was operating like business was usual. There are a few text-heavy signs warning people to stand apart while in line at TSA, but I still had people hovering over me.
I only really considered how serious of a situation this was when Southern Miss announced the rest of the semester’s classes would be online only. Then, on my flight home, I got the news of the commencement’s cancellation, further adding to the seriousness of this situation.
People, including me, need to realize that this pandemic is not the time to score some cheap flights. At this point in the pandemic, flights should be reserved only for people who need them.
Vacations can wait. Yeah, my ticket and room were cheap, but now I live with this immense guilt because of a dumb decision I made. Nasty people still ride on these airplanes, and they’re too into themselves to care about consequences.
Airports and airlines are putting in the effort to keep things clean, but some passengers will never listen. New Orleans’ airport can use all the Lysol it wants, but that will not stop some stubborn businessman from leaving the bathroom without washing his hands. Airlines can wipe down their floors extra hard, but there will still be some traveler who will take her shoes off before walking all up and down the aisle.
Sure, the bathrooms smell a little less like excrement and a little more like cleaning supplies. Sure, there are strangely short lines for airports operating over spring break. Sure, you will be more likely to encounter a Purell station that hasn’t been dry for the past week. But these things don’t change how many people are still in these high-stress, claustrophobic environments. Young children and elderly people at high risk of infection stand shoulder-to-shoulder with college students who haven’t used soap since they moved out of their parents’ house.
People need to rapidly adapt their lives to reflect the severity of this situation. This is the time to look inside yourself, not travel to Cancun. You don’t need to “go back ASAP” to whatever vacation you keep posting about. You just need to go inside.