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Alaska Couple’s Essential Journey Helps Keep Family Business Afloat

COVID-19 and travel at SEA Airport More Information

November 23, 2020

In this series, we check in with people using Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) for essential travel. While leisure travel has been largely put on hold during COVID-19 as we all work together to limit interactions and flatten the curve, we know some of you need to travel for work, family, emergencies, and other reasons that can’t wait. We are here for you now and whenever you are ready to return.

Lyndie Prout and her husband Ashlan, live in Kodiak, Alaska working for Ashlan’s family’s commercial crab fishing business. Earlier in the pandemic, they spent most of their days harvesting crabs on one of the family’s fishing boats, but when Ashlan’s father needed to pick up a 2,000-pound Bobcat in time for the upcoming October King Crab season, Lyndie and Ashlan volunteered to make the journey to the lower 48. The plan was to fly to Dallas, Texas to pick up the equipment, and haul it back to Alaska in a box truck.  

With people largely reserving air travel for essential purposes, and airports and airlines taking additional safety and security measures with COVID-19, Ashlan and Lyndie weren’t sure what to expect on their travel journey.

“We weren’t nervous ourselves; we were pretty confident we would be ok, but we knew we had to take precautions to be safe,” Ashlan said.

Since they had been confined to a boat the whole summer, they were anxious to stretch their legs and get out of town.

“We’d been cooped up on a boat so long we were excited to hit the road. We knew everyone was taking the virus seriously and were being respectful and cautious about it,” Lyndie said.

The two booked their flights and made plans to fly from Kodiak, to Anchorage, to Seattle, to Dallas. 

Lyndie and fish

FlyHealthy@SEA

Throughout their journey, they noticed that airlines and airports were taking extra precautions to make sure travelers stayed healthy and safe. 

“They were taking strides to make sure everyone felt comfortable, and we were happy to see that the middle seats were left open on our flights,” Lyndie said. “Things were definitely different at the airports as well and we felt safe.”

When they landed at SEA Airport they noticed signs, floor decals, and loudspeaker announcements instructing travelers and employees to wear masks and follow physical distancing requirements. There were plastic protective barriers in place at restaurants and ticketing counters to buffer travelers and airport employees.

“There was definitely a lot of signage and information making sure people were well aware of what was going on and could stay safe,” Lyndie said. 

On a flight

A complicated journey

They arrived in Dallas and picked up the box truck and equipment without a hitch, but along the way the truck started giving them problems.

“We had to stop several times; the Bobcat was super heavy and with the heat of Arizona and Texas, we had car trouble,” Ashlan said.

They discovered the truck wasn’t meant to travel such a long distance with the weight of the heavy machinery and the steady incline of the terrain in scorching heat. After pulling over every 30 minutes to keep the truck from overheating, they finally made it to Phoenix, Arizona, to a repair shop.

“We were stuck in the middle of nowhere, but while we were waiting for the truck to be repaired, my dad came and picked us up. He brought us to my family home in California so we could stay until the truck was ready to drive,” Lyndie said.

A week later Ashlan and Lyndie flew back to Phoenix to pick up the repaired truck and drove it to Sacramento, where Ashlan’s brother took over and drove the Bobcat the rest of the way to Alaska.

Ashlyn and Lyndie with box truck

New travel normal

Like many people, Ashlan and Lyndie have had to put their vacation travel plans on hold due to COVID-19.

“During normal years, I love traveling,” Ashlan said. “As soon as the longer winter season is finished, after we catch Snow Crab in January and February, we like to take a trip. This year we had planned a road trip followed by a trip to Hawaii, but as soon as we got home from the road trip in March, everything had shut down. Our plans were upended just like everyone else’s.”

Lyndie said they had hoped to do some international travel this year but that has been put on hold. 

“We were on our way to Bali last year at this time; I’m looking forward to everything clearing up in the future so we can make travel plans and continue to explore new places.”

Lyndie on vacation

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