May 13, 2021
Shots in the arm. Certificate in my pack. Almost half of the United States shot up with one vaccination or another, what does it all mean? To me, time to hit the road again with a trial run to New York City to shake the tree, touch bases, and do a time-and-temperature check on where we are.
I was not nudged into this as much as shoved. I’ve got more than a million miles from decades in the air with United, but it was American that made me an offer that I couldn’t refuse. More like a threat, to be honest. I would lose more than 200,000 miles with them if I didn’t book a trip somewhere PDQ. That was all I needed as an excuse for me and as a lure to mi companera who has been yearning out loud around the kitchen table about this or that museum as she reads the morning papers. Let’s go!
My last flight months ago to Atlanta and Columbus from the new billion-dollar Louis Armstrong New Orleans airport, I had my pick of parking spaces on the ground floor of the new deck. This time I had to hunt and peck to find one of the eleven spaces supposedly open on the second floor. This was at 445 AM in the morning yet, although it was a Friday. One thing that was pretty much the same as my last flight in the winter: not much of anything open. The same was true in DCA, National Airport that some call Reagan Airport. There was a line at 9:30 AM thirty long at the Dunkin Donuts, the only place a cup of coffee was on offer. Dunkin Donuts, you hear me, which is definitely NOT famous for the best coffee in the world. In New Orleans, being New Orleans, a bar had a good crowd at 5:30 AM, even if a cup of coffee was a mirage.
Airports are masked world. Everyone, large and small, is wearing something. On the shuttle between gates, we heard two older, mid-fifties guys grumping about how much they don’t like to wear masks, but that was the extent of their protest, because both were wearing them for darned sure. One thought he was on the wild side with his nose exposed, but, hey, that was one out of thousands. Good odds for the rest of us.
Which is not to say the Trumpsters aren’t flying, just that they’ve had to surrender their ground, just like they had to surrender the White House. The FAA reports that they have had 1300 cases of unruly passengers on flights between January and the end of April. Much of this has been over the requirement to wear masks in flight. This number of miscreant fliers in four months exceeds the number the FAA counted over the last decade. This protest is costly with fines ranging from $30 to $70,000 now.
Maybe the word has gotten out. I don’t know how friendly the skies are now, but they sure seem safer and healthier than any might have imagined. Join me on the road. I think it’s time now!