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Watch Air Travel During a Global Pandemic | The New Yorker Video


00:00

[synthesizer music]

00:15

Trump just issued a travel ban from Europe.

00:20

Our flight is technically today.

00:22

We’ll see what happens. [groans]

00:29

Video game controller.

00:31

All the essentials.

00:34

I highly recommend Barcelona.

00:39

I mean, just look at it.

00:41

[compelling steady music]

00:44

What I don’t recommend is making this trip

00:47

during a global pandemic.

00:49

We were anxious, my girlfriend and I.

00:51

We knew that American citizens were exempt from this ban,

00:55

but we had no idea how the airlines would respond to this.

00:58

We’d gotten a notification saying

00:59

our flight had been delayed two hours.

01:02

Was that a normal delay?

01:03

Or was that the first sign of something worse?

01:06

Would our flight be canceled?

01:07

Would the airports be complete mayhem?

01:10

Would we be stuck in Barcelona

01:11

for an indefinite period of time?

01:15

What we discovered at the airport wasn’t world-shattering.

01:18

Frankly, the airline employee seemed mostly concerned

01:21

that, sin of all sins, we’d been saddled with middle seats.

01:25

Hm, you have middle seats.

01:27

Because this flight is closed, so there’s nothing better.

01:30

[Girlfriend] That’s fine.

01:31

[Christopher] But we felt something,

01:32

something that’s hard to convey

01:33

through a hastily filmed iPhone video.

01:36

Dread, I think it was, something akin

01:38

to looking down from a high diving board.

01:41

It wasn’t just time to return home.

01:43

We were returning to a home that had changed

01:45

and gotten even scarier in the days we were gone.

01:50

[Woman] Timing, you know!

01:53

[quiet synthesizer music]

01:59

[Girlfriend] [laughs] [mumbles] that screen!

02:03

[Christopher] Yeah, not touchin’ that.

02:05

Please remain seated with your seatbelt securely fastened

02:07

any time the seatbelt sign is on.

02:09

And even if the sign is off,

02:11

please keep your seatbelt fastened

02:12

in case we experience unexpected rough air.

02:14

For everyone’s safety, federal regulations-

02:19

[quiet contemplative music]

02:23

[seatbelt notification beeps]

02:26

[Pilot] Flight attendants, we’re gonna pull around

02:27

[mumbles] for roll call.

02:30

[Christopher] As we deplaned, it struck me

02:32

that this is very possibly

02:33

the last flight I’ll take for a long time.

02:38

With travel bans in place

02:39

and with people’s rightful fear of the coronavirus,

02:42

airlines are cutting flights, laying people off,

02:44

and experts are projecting

02:46

that a lotta airlines will go bankrupt.

02:48

This will be one in a long, long string

02:51

of economic disruptions caused by this pandemic.

02:55

The frightfulness of it really hit home when we landed

02:57

in JFK with its unusually packed customs area.

03:02

As we meander through the line,

03:03

it hit me how ill-prepared we are for this.

03:08

Where are you guys coming from?

03:10

[Couple] Barcelona.

03:12

Have you been in China or Wuhan in the last two weeks?

03:15

[Christopher] Nope.

03:16

We’d visited Spain, but the customs official asked us

03:18

if we’d visited China during our trip.

03:21

Not Italy, despite its proximity to Spain

03:23

which is in the midst of their own COVID-19 crisis.

03:27

I don’t really know how we get past all this.

03:30

Sports may be canceled for the moments,

03:32

but sports cliches still ring in my head.

03:35

The only way out is through comes to mind.

03:38

Except through, in this case,

03:40

means a lot of people getting sick and dying.

03:46

I’m home now and I’ll be working from home for awhile

03:48

which is probably the best thing we can do.

03:50

I urge you all to do the same as much as it’s possible.

03:54

That makes the through part

03:55

a lot less scary, a lot less fatal.

03:59

Another sports cliche comes to mind.

04:02

Defense wins championships.

04:06

[quiet keyboard music]

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