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masked out of Miami, through deserted Dallas to Denver


    I originally booked a one way, nonstop flight from Miami to Denver on American Airlines, heading up to help relocate my son back to Florida. That flight was supposed to depart MIA at 8 p.m. and arrive DEN at 10:30 p.m.


    The night before, while checking in on the American Airlines app, I found that my itinerary had been changed to an 11 a.m. departure, with connection at DFW, and a new 3:40 p.m. Denver arrival time. I called customer service to verify, and to let them know I couldn’t pull up my boarding passes like usual. I was told to just get them at the airport. 





    My husband dropped me off the next morning at 9 a.m. at MIA Departures. My first impression was that there was nearly no one around except for a few others being dropped off – but lots of staff. I didn’t have any of the usual dodging other drivers and pedestrians. Everyone had masks on. At the American check-in, there were maybe 10 agents checking in 10 passengers. I waited all of two minutes. There was tape on the floor to ensure 6 feet of space between those agents and passengers. 


    TSA was remarkable in that agents were all in a good mood. Lots of joking around with each other and kindness toward passengers. There were also repeated reminders to have a mask on and keep some distance between you and the person in front you. I was told to pull my mask down when I showed my ID and boarding pass. 




    I put my only luggage, a backpack, on the belt. I placed my shoes, glasses, purse, and sweater in a tray. Without thinking, I put my iPad in the same tray. An agent pulled it out and placed it in its own tray. When I gathered my things, I lifted the iPad and found a dirty tissue – not mine – in there. Yuck. I immediately pulled out my container of antibacterial wipes and did a thorough wipe down. 


    The gate was deserted. Only a few restaurants were open. Every store closed with the exception of the ones selling snacks and magazines.


    At the gate, someone who didn’t seem to speak English and wasn’t wearing a mask, sat down next to me with a giant exhale. I immediately moved. Sorry, not sorry. 


    Upon boarding we were given white goodie bags that held a water bottle and a mini bag of pretzels. Seating was determined after check in so that they could space us out. The poor flight attendants were busy constantly answering questions and reminding people to put their masks on or make sure they covered their noses. A half hour before landing, forms from the CDC were handed out for folks whose final destination was Dallas/Ft. Worth. Apparently this was one of 13 airports enforcing screening for passengers. 


    While taxiing to the gate, you could see how empty the airport was.

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On the DFW tarmac. The only thing missing was a tumbleweed blowing by. (Photo by Joan Musumeci Correa)

    Five agents from Customs and Border Protection were waiting at the gate. We were asked for that form we filled out on the plane, or for proof that we had a connecting flight. I was told I could keep going. Deplaning was very orderly with instructions to remain seated until your row had its turn. The airport was filled with CBP agents. Walking from my arrival gate in Terminal D to my A departure gate , I counted roughly 20, all armed. 

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DFW, Terminal A. No tumbleweeds here, either. But roller skates or a bowling bowl would’ve worked. (Photo by Joan Musumeci Correa)

    The flight to Denver was pretty busy, but I was lucky enough to have a row to myself. Deplaning was uneventful and I saw a lot fewer masks in DEN versus Miami and Dallas. The mood in the city was more typical. The majority of people I saw were wearing masks. Another sign of the times, my son tells me the area’s pollution cloud has disappeared. 

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Exiting Denver International Airport with not much company – at all. (Photo by Joan Musumeci Correa)

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