As business leaders, we are beginning to travel again. Our work needs some in person attention, so you must buy the seat, and get on that plane. Here’s what I’ve experienced in my recent journeys that you may find helpful.
- The airports are pristinely clean. I’ve flown in and out of JFK on JetBlue to Florida and California. All of the airports were exceptionally clean, with hand sanitizer dispensers, and all associates at security and airlines are wearing gloves and masks at all times.
- Airline and airport associates are trained for the new process, and will help travelers get through check-in and security and boarding as smoothly as possible. The JetBlue team is stellar.
- The new process is functionally the same, but logistically different. The security lines are set up for social distancing. The boarding process reflects the spirit of social distancing … travelers are still figuring this one out. There are children and families traveling, and the expedited services for business travelers are not in place.
- You can purchase water and snacks and coffee, and socially distance to consume if necessary.
- Eat and drink before you get to airport. You are required to wear a mask at all times, so eating/snacking can be difficult.
- Bring wipes that you tuck into your travel bag. Wipe off your hands and feet after you clear security. I know, feet … really? Yes, you feel fresh and clean, and also remove any stuff you may have encountered in the shoe removal and screening process. If you are a sock wearer, replace your socks with clean socks after the security process. Wipe off your seat area, including the tray, seat & seat belt. Dispose of the wipes in the trash, and do not leave in the seat pocket.
- Arrive early enough to allow yourself to be patient. Wearing a mask is a new experience, and even with my N95 mask, it restricts airflow and field of vision. Double check to make sure that you get all of your things out of your airport transportation, and after you get through security. The mask and cleanliness mindfulness are great, but they can also be a distraction from your previous and typical travel auto-pilot routine. This is an excellent moment to slow down, move purposefully, and focus on what you are doing in the moment.
- Say “thank you” and express appreciation to the people who are showing up to keep the travel system functioning for you. If you feel the urge to complain or verbalize negative words, this is a great time to press your lips tightly together, and remain silent. Even better if you can frame that thought as “everyone is doing the best they can right now, including me,” and express gratitude.
The CIBO Express person said it best, “Nothing is perfect right now.” Accept this reality, and be practical about what this means to schedules, and flexibility, and maneuvering through your travel experience. We’ll step through this moment together. #SeatMates