Natalie B. Compton, Washington Post travel reporter, tells us about the good, the bad, and the ugly aspects of flying in a post-vaccine world.
Here are 30 observations from my first vaccinated flight. Everything you hated about flying is back, baby.
Many people took a hiatus from travel last year, because — well, you know why. Road warriors stayed home. Newlyweds put off their honeymoons. But now that millions of people are vaccinated and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said immunized people can travel with less risk, people are taking trips again en masse.
I’m one of those people.
Two weeks after I got Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen shot, I decided to fly home to celebrate my dad’s birthday in Fresno. After a year of writing things like, “Wish I was there to celebrate with you!” in greeting cards, I could finally go eat birthday cake with my parents in person.
So I left for D.C.’s Reagan National Airport to take my first fully-vaccinated trip.
When I flew in November, airports looked like ghost towns and the tension between passengers was so thick you could cut it with a knife. Not anymore. Flying’s back, baby, and so is everything you used to hate about it. I’m talking crowds swarming the gate a half-hour before boarding; lines at every Starbucks in every terminal; barefoot travelers sprinting to their connecting flights, sandals in hand.
To paint a picture of what flying’s like now, here’s everything I noticed along the way.