As this year comes to an end and a new “normal” settles around us, many are wondering if 2021 can make up for the lost trips and many other things that were put on hold in 2020. While there are still many travel restrictions in place, we’re seeing a brighter future for travel in the coming months as the vaccine is widely distributed around the world.
There will come a time when you will have to decide whether or not you’re comfortable with flying again. There are many factors to consider, including your risk of exposure and personal health, so please make your own informed decisions. If you’re considering re-booking that cancelled vacation, or treating yourself to a getaway to feed your travel bug, I hope this blog post helps you set realistic expectations.
I booked direct flights from Austin to Boston one month before our trip date. The prices were about 25% lower than average (this was expected, however, I have seen prices start slowly returning back to normal for 2021).
One week before our departure, I received an email notification that our direct flight was cancelled and we were re-booked with a connection in Charlotte, NC. This was a bummer to us, but with the fluctuating supply and demand in flights, it was also expected. Airlines are just like any other business where they have to consider cost and make efficient decisions if a flight does not reach a minimum capacity.
American Airlines does NOT block middle seats. However, our flight was not full, and we had a whole row of empty seats across the aisle. As we boarded the plane, we were given a sealed bag with a small water bottle, a snack, and hand sanitizing wipes. Food and beverage services were still suspended and our masks were required at all times. We decided to travel with N95 for all of our flights.
When we landed, AA deplaned row by row, in an orderly manner. The Charlotte (CLT) airport’s marketing campaign was on point, with signage everywhere to social distance and hand sanitizing stations found at every gate. Recliner chairs were set up 6 feet apart and many restaurants offered alcoholic drinks to-go to reduce the number of tables seated. We were able to use our Priority Pass (a perk of the Chase Sapphire Reserve card) to isolate in a Minute Now sleeping room. This way, we did not sit in the general seating area to wait.
When we reached the Boston (BOS) airport, I noticed every other seat blocked off with a sign in the general seating area. There is also a rapid testing site at the airport. In our case, we took the PCR test 72 hours prior to arrival per the Massachussets State Travel Order. Our negative results were delivered the day before through email and we used the results to fill out a form required for entry. *Every state has different requirements, you can reference my previous post to find out what they are*
Once we arrived to Boston, I was surprised to find creative, outdoor dining options in spite of the cold weather (average temprature was 35F). We were able to stay warm and social distance in private igloos, rooftop greenhouses, and heated outdoor patios.
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We stayed at The Bostonian, a short walk away from the North End (little Italy), a couple of subway stops from lobster rolls at the Seaport District, and around the corner from the Freedom Trail. I have to say that being in a new city for the first time in months was a refresher. Curious to see what we did in Boston? Watch our Boston drone video!
Now we’re back in Austin, ready to bring in the new year at home before our next trip to the Dominican Republic to spend time with Gogi’s family in a couple of weeks! I’m very happy to say goodbye to 2020… and hello to 2021!~
Stay safe & HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!
Salma Travel Guru