With the huge decline in air travel, those still flying have plenty of room. Maybe everyone was running late, Juan Grimaldo thought.
It was earlier this month at the Phoenix airport, and Mr. Grimaldo, 22, had just arrived at his gate. He had finished a stint working on a construction site and bought a cheap American Airlines ticket home to El Paso, Texas. He knew the coronavirus pandemic would keep most people at home, but there wasn’t another passenger in sight.
As he approached, the gate attendant greeted him by name. That was odd, he thought. He boarded, bemused. A sea of empty rows gaped. “Then it hit me,” he says. “I was the only one on the plane.”
To fly is an experience that upends a sense of space and time. In the wake of the coronavirus, with millions of Americans sheltering in place, that is truer than ever. Airports sit eerily empty, symbols of how the virus has devastated the economy and airlines in particular. Air passenger numbers are down a whopping 95%, according to U.S. government data, with many airline workers laid off or furloughed.
Excerpt from WSJ
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