Holiday Travel Post-COVID

Before the pandemic began, holiday travel was the worst time to be alive. From congested highways to long security lines and delayed flights, there’s always something that could go wrong. Ever since the world has re-opened, which allows people to begin to travel again, every day feels like a holiday, the only exception being actual holidays, which feel like an apocalypse. Over Thanksgiving break, I had to embark on one of these treacherous journeys from Atlanta to rural Pennsylvania on Tuesday, November 23. Our flight was scheduled to take off somewhere around 12:55, but the night before, I was whole-heartedly expecting an hour or more of delay time, not to mention several hours’ worth of security and even more of drive time. Nevertheless, that morning finally came, and we were out the door by 8:30. 

Despite the holiday traffic, we made it to the airport (or the Pre-Flight parking deck) around 9:30, but this is when it starts going downhill. At least fifteen Pre-Flight vans were lined up along the back fence while only five or less were in service. Before the pandemic, you only needed to wait a few minutes, the vans would follow your car when you drove in so it could pick you up as soon as you unloaded your car. Since more than half the vans seemed to be out of work, we ended up waiting a little under ten minutes. At first, ten minutes doesn’t sound too long, but in a cold, shady parking deck, ten minutes is a very long time.  

When we finally made it to the airport itself, nothing seemed too out of place. The Delta self-check-your-bags kiosk was just as tricky as it usually is, and the eccentric passengers were all accounted for. It seemed like a normal day in the airport for the most part, except for one thing. You’re probably expecting another security-line horror story, but we had quite the opposite. Total time in security line: Eight minutes and thirty-nine seconds. A total of two minutes faster than waiting for the Pre-Flight van to pick us up. There was absolutely no line, more than half of those eight minutes was walking through the maze of belt stanchions behind an old lady. Not only that, but our flight was right on time. No delays, no cancellations, and absolutely nothing wrong with the plane’s left phalange. 

Even though nearly every business, large or small, was affected by COVID-19 in every way possible, Hartsfield-Jackson international airport seems to be handling it quite well. Despite some long wait times, the airport personnel are keeping the place up and running as well as clean. Of course, like all things, there could be better ways to handle this, but since the workers and supplies are limited, they are really doing a wonderful job.