williaminsd wrote:Some observations from my first “lockdown” trip yesterday: Southwest, SAN-SMF-SAN. Prior to this, my last trip was March 11 to Fresno. Since then, I have cancelled eight trips into SMF and another half dozen to various points throughout the west.
My last itinerary to SMF was on Alaska, Feb 21-Feb 25, so it’s been well over two months since I’d flown into Sacramento.
What a difference…
First, and surprising no one, the San Diego’s Terminal 1 was nearly deserted. As I walked through, I counted precisely four people on my way to Pier 2. Of note, all T1 operations have been consolidated into P2, with P1 and Gates 1-2 completely closed with no access permitted.
Once through TSA (maybe 2 minutes – “delay” caused by social distancing requirements), I went up the escalator to find Pete’s Coffee and the KUSI Newsstand/sundries stores open. The main bar/restaurant was closed.
Two Southwest flights were scheduled, mine to Sacramento and next door a flight to Phoenix. I was a bit surprised as I expected maybe 10-12 people for my flight, but was greeted by 20-25 passengers at each gate. The mix was of all ages, including children and elderly, which I also found surprising. Everyone was wearing a mask and keeping their distance.
By the time my flight boarded, I counted 32 pax in the PHX holding area. I couldn't get a final count as we boarded first.
Southwest took passengers in groups of ten and social distancing was again implemented as we approached the agent. The gloved agent would not touch your ticket, nor did she assist anyone having difficulty with the phone-reader. It wasn’t a big deal…
Once on board I noted that the first four rows on our 737-700 were blocked-off using the tray tables and I grabbed a window seat in Row 5. The FAs asked everyone to alternate rows if possible and only allowed groups traveling together to sit in same row on either side.
The last time you would see a FA was just prior to take-off as they made their last-minute checks. There was no service, not even water. That’s not a complaint, just an observation.
I counted 39 passengers, which again, was significantly more than I expected. It was the quietest flight I’ve ever been on…
Returning from Sacramento was similar, the only difference I noted were fewer people wearing masks on the return. At SMF Terminal B, I saw the sundry shop open plus Dos Coyotes take-out. They had a few people in each, which is encouraging.
Southwest had five jets parked on ramp at SMF and Alaska had two 737s parked. There were three Southwest jets at gates when I got to airport: one for Las Vegas, one for Burbank and mine. Las Vegas flight left before I arrived at gate, but the Burbank flight looked to have about 30 people waiting. I counted 38 passengers on my return to San Diego. While I couldn’t see all of Terminal A, I counted 2 Delta jets at gates and one United.
I had the same flight experience as my outbound, with one notable exception. The FAs noted that San Diego County has a mask requirement and told passengers they would be happy to supply them with masks upon exiting the plane if needed. Southwest always steps-up!
While I prefer Alaska on this route, through May 17, Alaska only has one RT per day, and the timing is impossible for one-day business. Starting May 18, it goes to 2x/day and June 1, 3x/day. Southwest offers five flights/day at present with convenient times for business each way.
My next flight to SMF is scheduled for 6/2 on Alaska. This is a multi-day trip and taking it will depend on hotel availability. Hope we're all starting to get back to work by then.
Stay well everyone…
Thanks for the report williaminsd. I haven't been on a flight since mid February and have been wondering what its like in the airport and on flights these last few weeks. Hoping this virus goes away sooner than later. April numbers should be coming out soon, so I wonder how bad it will be for the first full month of quarantine.