A few days ago, I returned from a trip. Traveling on an actual airplane!
Now, this was no exotic adventure. Simply a relatively short hop to see family in the wilds of southwestern Ohio and attend a wedding.
The family part was wonderful and way overdue. The travel part was more like an experiment to assess where the process is as we begin to emerge from pandemic isolation.
Compared to the stories of travel nightmares I’ve read over the past few months, we had very few problems. It helps to be patient, of course, especially when flying in the summertime. Our delayed return flight was due to the kind of afternoon storms that have always messed up air travel at this time of year.
More troubling was being transported from an area where most people have been vaccinated but are still cautious to one where neither is true. While we got our shots back in March, there’s no way to know the status of people around you.1 I know where I stand with immediate family; not so much with those in adjacent restaurant booths.
However, based on observations, I can assume the pandemic is over and done in that area of the world.
A few days after arriving, the “masks required” signs came down in the hotel and public spaces, replaced with a “masks if not vaccinated” suggestion. Most people we encountered had shed them anyway, along with concepts like social distancing. Stores were heavily discounting or even giving away bottles of hand sanitizer so I assume that is no longer a thing as well.2
Anyway, compared with all the restrictions from last year, this was a fun way to test the travel waters. We’re already planning another trip to see the other side of the family in the fall.
By that time, I hope the vaccination rate is much higher in the “red” areas where those relatives live, and especially that the transportation mask mandate is gone. Wearing a mask from the time you enter the airport until time you get in the rental car at the other end really sucks out any fun that remained in the air travel experience.
The image is the venue for the wedding we attended, a barn in the middle of Ohio farm country. Beautiful, but with 90° temperatures and harsh late afternoon sun, maybe not my first choice.
1. I was prepared, even anxious, to display my card to prove it. No one asked.
2. Which is fine by me. I hate the stuff.