The last time I flew was during pre-COVID times back in December 2019. The difference between then and now are wildly different. It was not unusual to have 30,000 people travel to Oahu on a daily basis. The number dropped nearly to nothing (but still didn’t stop all tourists). As of this publication the two week quarantine requirement is still in effect. https://www.hawaiitourismauthority.org/covid-19-updates/
My last few days in Hawaii were pretty hectic: getting all packed up, doing a final inspection of my apartment, selling my car and having lunch or dinner with a few good friends. On the day I flew out of Hawaii, I arrived at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport about four hours early. I really didn’t know what to expect, as many procedures of daily activities were constantly changing. A quick glance around was pretty eerie – I was one of about twelve people in the check-in area (this included employees). Customer service was fast and friendly. Going through the security check point was quick and easy.
As I’m looking around for a place to eat, I notice that Burger King is the only place open. The other fast food places weren’t just closed, they were thoroughly wrapped up in plastic coverings. Dine-in areas were all closed, so I wondered around for a place to sit and eat. I ended up eating at the Cultural Garden – a very tranquil and picturesque environment which is a combination of Chinese, Japanese and Hawaiian influence.
As I was still hours early for my flight, I went to go sit at my designated gate: I was stopped by security. Apparently the airport didn’t want too many people in one area. Everyone sat in the middle seats in the center of the main hallway.
Boarding the Delta flight had a different procedure: it went from the back of the plane to the front in sections. It was pretty organized, and honestly I didn’t mind this at all. Once on board, it was clear that the seating capacity was reduced. The seat between me and the window seat was empty, making this flight pretty comfortable.
The layover in LAX was a similar story but more active. The first thing that was noticeable was a large reduction of people at the airport. A few snack / gift shops were open as well as one fast food place. It was such a strange view of a much smaller group of people roaming the airport. The boarding procedure was the same.
Over all the flying experience was an interesting time. It is pretty wild to see such a striking difference in a booming tourism economy to just about zero tourism. This certainly needs to change if we want many parts of our economy to survive.