Post Vaccine Pandemic Travel – Domestic Edition

Post Vaccine Pandemic Travel – Domestic Edition

The last time we set foot in the airport was 4 months ago back when domestic traveling was just picking up. Today, domestic traveling has returned to pre-pandemic levels. Images of long lines in the airport, packed flights, and stories of flight delays/cancellations and crowds in HI had me reconsidering whether to make our way to Kauai or not. I would have canceled the trip had it not been for the fact that the flights and hotel were entirely covered by points thanks to redeeming my miles and points at the incredibly low “pandemic rates” back in March. There’s no way I’d be able to cover the entire trip using my miles and points at today’s redemption rates. So off to the airport we went.

We were actually pleasantly surprised when we got to the airport. Crowd was minimal, thanks to weekday travel. Online check in with no checked bags allowed us to head straight to the CLEAR lane to complete our enrollment process (free membership through Amex), which then allowed us to skip to the front of the TSA Precheck line. Our first leg of the flight to Seattle was full, but we managed to snag seats in the exit row with the additional legroom.

Seattle airport was a zoo though, owing to the fact that it is Alaska Airline’s major hub, with tons of transiting passengers. We managed to escape the crowd by checking into the Amex Centurion Lounge, which was itself close to capacity.

Lunch and drinks in the lounge. Plenty of passengers took advantage of the full service bar, which unfortunately did not have either port or Amarula.

The second leg of the flight to Lihue was thankfully not full. Joe and I got a row to ourselves, which made the 5+ hour flight more comfortable.

Upon arrival, we breezed through the Hawaii health screen as most people had already had their PreClear screening done prior to boarding (I wasn’t able to get my PreClear screening for unknown reasons), and then we were met by our driver in a timely matter.

Prior to this trip, I had expected all the worst case scenarios playing out, but it ended up being rather normal. I do have to say that traveling mid week is key, and having the various Amex benefits (CLEAR, TSA Precheck, and lounge access) removes a lot of the travel associated aggravations.

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