February 22, 2021
COVID-19 and travel at SEA Airport
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.
Meet Angela Kim of Orange County, mother of four and lifestyle blogger behind Mommy Diary, where Angela writes about motherhood, pregnancy, special needs parenting, lifestyle, DIY, and travel. Angela started Mommy Diary seven years ago after leaving her job as a professor of writing to be a stay-at-home mom to care for her daughter with special needs.
“A lot of people view social media as superficial, but my blog is not about that. I try to be honest about my experience so women can feel less alone,” she said. “I want to show motherhood as a hard but rewarding and beautiful journey.”
When Angela’s parents moved to Seattle six years ago after living in California for 26 years, it was a huge decision for the family.
“I am very close to my parents and my kids are very close to their grandparents. Since they moved, we travel to Seattle a lot to visit; we use SEA Airport at least four to five times a year. Travel has become a necessity for families to stay together.”
Angela hadn’t traveled at all since the start of the pandemic in March, but when her parents needed her help, she packed a bag and booked an airline ticket from Ontario, California (ONT) to Seattle (SEA), traveling with her six-month-old baby.
“It was really scary,” she said. “I was breastfeeding my six-month-old so I couldn’t leave her at home, and I was nervous about bringing her. In the end, I was pleasantly surprised that traveling was a smooth experience.”
Angela showed up at the airport prepared and ready to take additional precautions to stay safe.
“I kept my baby close,” she said. “Kids tend to touch stuff so I lightened my load so I could carry my baby. I kept my mask on at all times, but it is hard to put mask on a six-month-old. That wouldn’t work so I kept her really close to me so her nose and mouth were not exposed to the outside.”
Flying solo with a baby isn’t easy even during normal times, so Angela advises packing light so your hands are free.
“Use a carrier, check in your luggage, and choose a backpack to free up your hands,” she said. “Travel light and you’ll get through things faster when you’re going through security and getting on the plane. This is not the time to travel too heavy with a lot of stuff.”
When taking kids to an airport bathroom, give them something to hold like a phone to minimize contact with surfaces, she said.
“It’s hard to predict what they are going to touch; try to keep their hands busy,” she said.
She also wiped down her airline seat, seat back, and tray table with sanitizing wipes before sitting down.
While Angela was in Seattle, she minimized contact with those outside her family and mostly stayed at her parents’ home. After returning to Orange County, she self-quarantined for two weeks before seeing her husband and children, just to be safe.
“At SEA, I was surprised to see a lot of people traveling, but everyone had masks on,” she said. “Even when we were waiting by the gate, everyone was trying to stay six feet away. There were hand sanitizers everywhere that I used frequently, and it was always stocked. The bathrooms were clean and there were social distancing signs everywhere.”
She was nervous about going through security checkpoints but that went smoothly. The whole experience made her feel confident about air travel in the future. Angela said next time she travels to Seattle she will likely bring her whole family.
“After doing it once, I feel safer; my parents are getting older so we are trying our best to see each other as much as we can.” she said. “In Seattle, we’ll limit the places we go and always wear a mask and wash our hands frequently.”
“After all of this, I’m looking forward to traveling to Hawaii and our usual family trips. I’m hoping to take an international trip to Asia. We are an Asian American family, so we want to show our children the motherland, but that’s not going to happen for a while.”
One of her favorite parts of her job as a blogger is showcasing family travel opportunities. Most of those have been cancelled, but local family travel destinations are starting to open up and resorts want to showcase how safe they are.
February 22, 2021
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