COVID-19 Travel is the New Normal

COVID-19 Travel is the New Normal

Airline Companies New COVID-19 Regulations

By: Allie Myers

Over the summer I got the chance to travel to Spain with three of my friends. Spain was closed to US travelers until June 7th, 2021. I had a friend studying abroad in Spain, so when June 7th rolled around, flight prices were so inexpensive and we decided to go. It was very easy to find a flight, since most planes had plenty of seats available since airlines have been hit hard by travel bans. These cheap prices make it so tempting to travel, but we are still in a pandemic! 

We decided to go to the city of Barcelona, which is highly regarded for its tourism. Barcelona really relies on tourism according to VOA news, “…tourism accounts for 12% of GDP, it is vital to Spain’s economy,” so Spain needs to keep bringing in travelers in order to make money and keep jobs. As countries are beginning to reopen there needs to be strict regulations in place to make sure that they are able to bring in tourism safely. 

The way that airlines have addressed COVID-19 safety precautions have helped to reassure consumers that it’s safe to fly. Masks are required at all times in airports and airplanes, else passengers will be kicked off the plane. There are numerous viral videos of people getting dragged off planes for refusing to wear a mask, proving to customers that the rules are strict. If they didn’t enforce these regulations, most people would not wear a mask and travel would be a lot riskier. Consumers are looking for airlines that are taking the pandemic seriously and will choose the company that proves that they care about customer safety. Airlines have to market their empathy to draw people to choose them. 

When I was traveling to Spain there were a ton of new international travel guidelines to get into Spain. In order to come back to the US, we had to get a COVID-19 test at the airport the day of our flight. Airlines require different tests– the more accurate TCR tests are more expensive, but will be most likely accepted with all airlines, but the rapid tests which are cheaper may not be accepted depending on the airline. Before getting on the flight to Spain, they made us fill out a COVID-19 travel form to confirm that we did not have symptoms and that we had a vaccine. Non-vaccinated people are discouraged from traveling internationally. On the flight we were given disinfectant wipes to wipe down our tray tables and chair arms. The mask during an 11 hour flight was not enjoyable… It was hot and sticky– not good. But it’s all worth it to know that you can travel and be safe on your flight. 

This was my first time on a long flight since the pandemic started. It wasn’t too hard an adjustment with the new regulations. Once we made it to Spain, we were able to have a lot of great tourist experiences, sightseeing, and eating– we ate literally most of the day. There was a curfew in place due to the pandemic, so restaurants had to close earlier than they did before the pandemic, but otherwise, we had a normal travel experience. We were still being considerate of COVID-19 precautions just like we would at home. It was a great trip, and we didn’t get COVID!