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Navigating the new normal of air travel Air travel picked back up during the summer months. Returning travelers learned that some things have changed. If you haven’t flown since before the pandemic, here are some factors to keep in mind if you plan to get on a flight soon. — Haley ShapleyDocumentation: As of Sept. 1, no airlines are currently mandating proof of vaccination to fly, but many international destinations allowing entry require either a negative COVID-19 test within a certain window of time before departing or proof of vaccination. Make sure you have all your necessary documents ready and accessible. American Airlines has partnered with VeriFly to help make keeping documents as seamless as possible.
Masks: Masks are required in airports and onboard commercial aircraft for everyone ages 2 and older through at least January 2022. Masks must cover your mouth and nose, and cloth versions need at least two layers of fabric. Bandanas, masks with vents and face shields don’t qualify.
Food and drink: Meal and beverage service was reduced or eliminated on many flights in the early days of the pandemic. Although airlines are starting to add back food and drink offerings, employee availability and supply chain issues continue to challenge some airport retail providers. To be on the safe side, pack your own snacks and water bottle (fill after going through security).
Stress: Even in the best of times, flying can leave you feeling frazzled. Fortunately, there are resources to help you cope. For example, American Airlines partners with the meditation app Calm to offer inflight exercises aimed at relaxing your mind and body. Access these through the onboard infight entertainment. Lessons the pandemic taught us It’s been a year of trials, frustrations, limitations and stress. But the pandemic was also a time for rediscovery and grounding in what really matters. What we’ve learned over the past year-plus, we can carry with us and help shape a more meaningful life all the way around. — Tamekia ReeceLESSONContinue to develop new work skills. The pandemic brought a major shift to most workplaces. Employers and employees had to try new things. Make a commitment to stay current with your job skills and learn new ones. Read books, take classes, join professional organizations or volunteer to expand your skills.LESSONMake self-care a priority.The pandemic brought on stress and anxiety for many people. It’s important to eat a healthy diet, exercise and get enough sleep. These actions can affect mental and physical health. Simple pleasures like unwinding with a good book or tinkering around with tools in the garage are also important for well-being.LESSONDon’t take the great outdoors for granted.People are seeking outdoor experiences like beach destinations, national parks, hiking, camping and road trips. These are places where travelers can have their own personal space. Get outdoors and take the time to appreciate nature.LESSONMaintain a healthy work-life balance. Working from home showed how difficult it is to try to blend work and home life. It also showed us where we eat up precious time — be it a commute, unnecessary meetings, etc. Establish boundaries between work, family, fun and relaxation.LESSONPrepare for the unexpected. Many people took a hit to their income during the pandemic, thanks to reduced hours, layoffs and company shutdowns. Don’t be caught unprepared for any type of unexpected event. Build an emergency fund with three to six months’ worth of expenses to prepare for unanticipated events.