Date: August 19, 2020
Greetings Valley Travelers,
Happy National Aviation Day!
Today marks a nationwide celebration of the history and development of aviation started by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1939. For those history buffs among us, August 19th also coincides with the birthday of Orville Wright. The Wright brothers are credited with inventing, building, and flying the world’s first successful motor-operated airplane.
National Aviation Day this year feels a bit different for all of us. We know 2020 has been especially challenging for anyone who has had travel plans disrupted as well as those of us in the aviation industry. At the Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport (SHD) we continue to work hard to ensure our passengers feel safe and comfortable flying with us by implementing extra cleaning/disinfection and safety procedures through our SHD Cares initiative.
Since we launched the SHD Cares campaign in early July I have heard from a number of you with many travel-related questions. Our customer service team has also been a great resource to all who have reached out to the airport for guidance. This truly is the beauty of your local airport – easily-accessible contacts to ask any questions (no matter how big or small) and a dedicated staff that genuinely cares about your travel experience and safety. This is more important now than it has ever been.
If you are on the fence about booking a flight or have some questions about what travel even looks like right now, you might just find some answers below. After getting in touch with me a couple months ago, Zac and Laura Hittie of Harrisonburg recently flew from SHD to Chicago to visit family. I asked them if they would mind sharing their experience as well as any advice they may have for anyone who may be considering a trip. Here’s what they had to say!
“Our most recent decision to travel with SHD was successful because of intentional planning on our part, as well as a commitment to safe and clean practices on behalf of United Airlines (SkyWest) and SHD. After postponing spring travel plans to visit family in Chicago, we did a lot of research on what airlines were doing to keep passengers safe. We identified a potential July travel weekend but waited until a few days before flying to book; we wanted to make sure that we were feeling well (us and our Chicago family) and that the flights would not be too crowded. We booked seats that were spaced out from other passengers (less than a dozen of us onboard).
At SHD, we were met with friendly screening agents using gloves, masks, and face shields. There was no waiting, no crowds, responsible distancing, helpful staff who answered our questions, and all staff and passengers were wearing face coverings. Upon arriving at ORD (with only carry-on bags), we quickly deplaned and made our way out of the airport to meet our family. It was shockingly uncrowded at O’Hare, so we did not feel uncomfortable in the brief time we were there (arriving & departing). In fact, at one point during our visit to Chicago, we ordered carry-out for lunch and felt more apprehensive about being in that busy restaurant picking up food than we did at any point with our flights. Other than that, we also felt incredibly safe in Chicago, as the residents there are taking masking and other precautions seriously.
Our advice to those who are trying to make a decision about flying would be to be thoughtful and responsible in your pla nning. Take precautions to protect yourself such as wearing face coverings, frequent hand washing, carrying pocket-sized hand sanitizer, keeping to yourself/maintaining distance from others, avoid checking bags where possible (less items for you to touch that are touched by others), and have a plan for getting to your destination without delay or coming in contact with others. If you’ve gone grocery shopping or dined out lately, chances are you have been around more people than you might encounter during air travel right now. We feel that flying, especially now while many are not traveling as much, can most certainly be responsible, safe, manageable, and enjoyable, even during this time of uncertainty. Be well!”
– Zac & Laura Hittie, Harrisonburg
While travel may be different than ever before, we’re committed to providing passengers with a safe and secure experience. If you have any questions about safety measures or travel in general, we are here to help.