Yesterday, I spent my morning, afternoon and evening traveling. Yes, even amongst all the fear of Coronavirus, I had to get my daughters back to Texas, as their spring break was coming to an end. Trust me, this wasn't a decision that was made lightly or without some fear of the unknown.
The picture to this post is from (AUS) Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, which as the name suggests is an International airport, which on this day didn't have any international flights.
To say that it was odd being in an empty airport, is an understatement. Rarely, and I've done a fair amount of travel in my lifetime, have I ever been this isolated in an airport. Believe me, this wasn't an issue, as I was happy not to be in the danger zone of others whom may be contagious with the novel coronavirus. The admirals club, which I bunkered down in for several hours to get work done, was completely empty. Just me and Derek the wonderful bar tender, whom made a potentially crappy day rather enjoyable.
As I sat there and watch NOBODY pass by me in the airport, it reminded me of 9/11/2001. For my kids, they can't remember, they weren't born yet, but I happened to be in the air when it all took place. On my way to Los Angeles from Denver, and oblivious to what was going on in the world below me. It didn't take long after deplaning to understand that our world was changing second by second. For me, I was fortunate, my parents lived an hour south of Los Angeles, so I had a place to go, but there were many that were stranded. Although the coronavirus isn't a terrorist attack by fellow humans, it is an attack on society.
In my lifetime, I can't recall ever having to be on lockdown. I've been snowed in for a day or so, but never a lockdown, nor have I ever worried about social distancing. Now, that's a reality, and for me it's a scary one. I love seeing my family and friends. It's what I find the most enjoyable about where I live and who's in my life. I still can't imagine what going to a bar will feel like after this. Sports in a bar is essential, and it's been taken from me. Not just professional sports, but watching my daughter play softball in high school is now no longer a reality.
However, this post wasn't about our "New Reality", I'll get to that later, what this is about is travel and how the media has made it scary. To me, it was more creepy than scary, and the reason for that is that I'm not use to being that lonely in LAX. It's a huge airport with many many travelers. I'm also use to the traffic being insane, to the point where leaving the airport can take longer than your flight. None of that existed last night, everything was a breeze, kinda the way you'd actually like it. But travel will continue one day. In fact I hope it happens soon. The travel industry needs us to be out and exploring the world, connecting with others and opening our eyes to places outside of where we live.
For now travel is a natural thing to stop, even I don't want to be outside of my own walls. But I don't think it's scary. There are filters on the plane and with the limited number of people actually traveling, there is plenty of social distancing. So let's all take a deep breathe and be wise about our travel and then next time we travel be thankful for those brave souls that stuck it out and continued to serve people during this unprecedented time.
Keep one thing in mind... Like your mother use to say, always wear clean underwear. Now mothers might say.. Always wash your hands!