STORIES BY CASSIDY GOLDMAN

Flight Attendants Struggle Through the Onset of COVID-19

Published: Oct. 16, 2020

While most people were able to stay home throughout the COVID-19 lockdown, many flight attendants were unable to avoid the difficulties brought on by the pandemic.

“It was a juggle of what’s happening, where I am?,” said David Lang, a flight attendant for a major carrier.

Lang said most airports had similar treatments for their crews. However, there were vast differences in precautions taken in New York City versus other cities that had not yet completely shut down.

Throughout Lang’s first month of flying during the height of the pandemic, he had a layover in Detroit and a hotel experience he never thought possible.

All food, amenities and touchpoints had been removed. Items like the coffee maker, hair dryer and iron were only accessible if guests asked, since those items have to be cleaned every time, whether they are used or not. 

Some hotels even signified clean rooms by tapping them shut and requiring guests to break the seal to enter. 

Food was the biggest struggle for Lang and his crew while traveling during quarantine. Hotels did not have their usual food services. For about three to four months, room service was the only option. At one hotel during the height of the pandemic, Lang said he was handed a sandwich when he arrived, as it was the only food available.

The most uncomfortable change amid coronavirus was having to wear a mask. Lang puts on a mask before entering the airport and must keep it on until he arrives at his hotel room or at home. 

“I’ve had to try a few [masks] to see what kind works,” said Lang.

Each shift the flight crew is issued masks and gloves to use during their time in the airport and on the plane. 

It is now a procedure to limit drinks and snacks on the plane. Lang gives each passenger a bag when they enter the plane that includes a purell wipe and water bottle, along with a few other amenities to help keep travelers safe.

Lang says travelers are taking the changes well. They have adapted to seating from back to front, which helps cut down on close contact. Travelers must also stay seated until the row in front of them exits to allow for social distancing.

Throughout the month of April when the JAX airport would typically see 10,000 passengers pass through in a day, they saw 10,000 passengers pass through in a month. Photo by Cassidy Goldman.

With the heightened precautions and procedures, airline customers can travel safely without having to worry about being in harm’s way.

Most countries have closed their borders for the time being with the virus ebbing and flowing. Travel within the United States is still an available option for anyone looking for a vacation and a way to leave their house. 

As always, be sure to wash your hands, wear a mask and take the necessary precautions while traveling.