Flying home on COVID times


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Flying home on COVID times

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In March 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in the USA I was a history teacher at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado. When the stay-at-home order was issued by Colorado's government and FLC confirmed classes online only I was eager to come back to my home country, Mexico. After my boss's approval, I proceed to purchase my flight ticket. Prices were constantly changing even on the same day. One ticket could go from over $600 around 8 am, to $450 at noon and less than $300 by the afternoon. Other days ticket were more expensive in the morning and less by the evening. I originally purchased my ticket for the end of April but when rumors of a potential USA's close of borders increased, I changed my ticket for April 3 to prevent more stress about the potential risk of being stranded at Durango's or Dallas's airport. I profited from the no-cost policy to change plane tickets and went ahead. The mood at both airports was eerie with very few travelers. Even the usually overcrowded Dallas Airport looked empty. Passengers at waiting rooms were scarce and food vendors were hard to find as most of them were closed. The few open had blocked their seating sections. To find my boarding room was very hard as it was constantly changing within few minutes. To board my international American Airlines Flight 3697 from Dallas to Guanajuato, Mexico, I walked from one side to another and took the train to another terminal. By the time I had arrived it was already changed again. Surprisingly my American Airlines Flight 3697 had plenty of passengers. I could not identify a single non-Latino traveler. It seems that most passengers were Mexican nationals or descendants. I paid a small difference to be upgraded to First Class and I was very pleased that few passengers chose that class. Nobody sat beside me or in the other section after the corridor. However, as previously announced and confirmed at boarding, no meals or beverages were going to be supplied at all during the flight. Boarding had no problems, although I noticed there were no police officers at boarding, as usually happens on flights to Mexico, nor a double safety search was made. The flight went smoothly and once I arrived on time at Guanajuato International Airport I noticed that a lot of passengers were not wearing masks, and they were not mandatory at the flight nor at the airport. I had mine. Once we passed Mexican' Customs, passengers were told to do two lines for Mexican and Non-Mexican travelers to pass a health inspection. We had to fill out a questionnaire about our activities of past days and if we had any fever or cold-related symptoms or if we had contact with someone sick. Depending on your answers you were put in a different room, but for me, that answered negatively all questions, I met with a nurse who scanned my temperature on my forehead and requested my address, email, and phone number. I was strongly recommended to self-quarantine at home for at least 14 days, which I did. My husband was waiting for me at the airport and regardless of what we were doing in the USA, I did hug him and saw other passengers did as well with their families picking them up at the airport. For some moments COVID policies did not apply to our beloved ones!

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American Airlines

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This item was submitted on April 26, 2021 by Maria Concepcion Marquez Sandoval using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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