I’ve had multiple readers send in comments lately, like this one from Sandy M. “Interesting story on OGG to HNL (here’s the trip report). Wondering why your family isn’t wearing masks on the plane. Not that it’s really any of my business but I was just surprised by the photo. Also Southwest is now a big inter island competitor with Hawaiian. Not sure how fares compare, but I know Hawaiian definitely lowered theirs once Southwest began operating there.” RELATED: President Biden Tries to Unite Americans By Criticizing Travel ‘Junk Fees’ in His State of the Union Address
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If you’re a longtime reader, then you know that I took Covid-19 and the pandemic very seriously. Some might even say we played it too safe but I wasn’t taking any chances since I have two little kids. My daughter was an infant when the pandemic began and my uncle was one of the early ones to succumb to the nasty virus back in March of 2020.
I went from getting on a plane every week to not flying for over 14 months and like many, I cleared my calendar and did my part by wearing a mask and getting vaccinated. We even kept my son home from preschool for a year.
My family and I went from bouncing around the world to bouncing around our house in Los Angeles. I’m not complaining because it was an incredible bonding time with my wife and kids. I just felt bad for those less fortunate and for our elders, especially my now 94-year-old dad, who I used to fly to see every three weeks in South Florida and my mother-in-law, who would either come visit us or we would visit her in Toronto every two to three months. Those trips all stopped.
My wife and I wore masks pretty much whenever we went out in public up until my son’s first day of kindergarten in August 2022. My sister, who lives in Florida, thought I was a California freak that it took that long for us to lose our masks.
I figure there are so many germs in kindergarten and no one is wearing a mask, that a plane is probably a safe haven thanks to their filtration system.
In response to Sandy’s questions: Interisland airfares are indeed similar and now can be had for about $39 each way if you plan in advance and snag a sale. But between Southwest Airlines (SWA) and Hawaiian Airlines, I prefer Hawaiian (even though you have to pay for checked bags) because they’re more reliable (especially after their Christmas meltdown) and their service is better.
I also told Sandy that we were all sick with Covid and other viruses in December and again, the kids’ school probably has more germs than an airplane. But I still travel with my Wynd air purifier. I put it next to my youngest who is not vaccinated and it’s an amazing device. I credit it for us not getting sick this past summer when we flew Dallas to Los Angeles and a little kid (he was probably only two years old) a row behind us seriously coughed the entire flight. It wasn’t one of those little coughs either. It was a deep, downright scary one and of course, he never covered his mouth. Everyone near us winced each time he opened his mouth and I just prayed the Wynd would work its magic and … it did. Here’s more on it. FYI: Use promo code “JOHNNYJET” to get 10% off your Wynd personal air purifier.
I’ve flown with it over a dozen times on a variety of airlines including American, Envoy, Hawaiian and United and have never had a problem using it. In fact, I’ve had multiple flight attendants ask me about it and remark that they would like to have one as well.
Bottom line: When the mask mandate was in effect, I complied 100%. Now that it’s over, it’s every individual traveler’s personal choice to make. We continued wearing masks until we were comfortable not to. But as pilots say in their pre-departure announcement, whether you wear a mask or not, please respect your seatmate’s choice.
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