Many more people are traveling by air right now, but things are by no means back to normal.
If you are nearing your birth mother’s due date, you are likely concerned about how you will safely travel home with your newly-adopted baby. Air travel in adoption is not uncommon, but knowing what to expect now during the pandemic can be helpful, especially on that return trip with an infant! Here’s what I found:
1. Lines are kept to a minimum.
Both airlines and TSA seem to be doing all they can to keep lines to a minimum in order to maximize social distance. On a recent early morning flight, all lanes were open going through security, even with very few travelers.
Similarly, airline counters seem overstaffed for the number of travelers. Both of these modifications ensure that fewer people are waiting in lines and are able to get through the process more quickly.
Both of these factors make adoption travel (or any travel!) easier at this time.
2. Empty middle seats.
Most domestic airlines have committed to keeping middle seats empty through fall. This definitely helps with more spacing, not to mention more comfort!
Families traveling with an adopted newborn can rely on this currently, allowing them to occupy the empty seat with a car seat if they wish. It is also reassuring to know you don’t have to sit shoulder to shoulder with a stranger for four hours!
3. Bring something to read.
If you rely on the airline magazine for entertainment, don’t. They are currently not provided as they cannot be sanitized. So plan to grab something to read so you won’t be writing an article like this at 35,000 feet!
4. Water and beverages are tricky.
Most public facilities, such as airports, have shut down drinking fountains. This includes the bottle filling stations for us “bring your own water bottle” types.
Similarly, most airlines have stopped beverage service. Southwest, for example, provides a cup of water during your flight. So plan on purchasing some onboard beverages once past security.
5. Food isn’t much better.
Bringing your own snacks is your best bet for two reasons. Along with beverage service suspension, the opportunity to purchase any food onboard is gone. And in airports, many food service locations are closed simply due to lack of business.
6. Planes are cleaner than ever!
It is very apparent that cleaning had become a priority. Floors, tray tables, even the bathrooms have never looked cleaner!
The crew starts sanitizing as soon as seats are vacated. They seem to really take pride in sharing the safety precautions they are taking during this time.
7. Masks are required.
Currently, masks are required for everyone two years old and above. Again, another point of reassurance. Many airlines have installed HEPA filters and claim to have fully fresh air on the whole plane every three minutes.
If adoption travel during COVID-19 is part of your adoption journey, get the latest facts from your chosen airline. Know what to expect and how to plan for a safe and smooth flying experience.
As Vice President of Lifetime Adoption, Heather Featherston holds an MBA and is passionate about working with those facing adoption, pregnancy, and parenting issues. Heather has conducted training for birth parent advocates, spoken to professional groups, and has appeared on television and radio to discuss the multiple aspects of adoption. She has provided one-on-one support to women and hopeful adoptive parents working through adoption decisions.
Since 2002, she has been helping pregnant women and others in crisis to learn more about adoption. Heather also trains and speaks nationwide to pregnancy clinics to effectively meet the needs of women who want to explore adoption for their child. Today, she continues to address the concerns women have about adoption and supports the needs of women who choose adoption for their child.
As a published author of the book Called to Adoption, Featherston loves to see God’s hand at work every day as she helps children and families come together through adoption.