ExpatActually

Q&As for Flying to the States During a Pandemic

July 28, 2020

Gasp! We flew back to the States. Say what?? In the middle of a global pandemic? Yes, you read right. I have received countless questions about our trip, so I thought I would do a quick Q&A run down for flying to the States during a pandemic.

1.) Aren’t you worried about being asymptomatic and passing the virus onto your parents?

  • Of course, I am. I’m a human being with flaws and worry. It’s odd, though, but I feel like becoming a mother has caused my emotions to become deeper towards my own parents. I am a believer with substantial faith. And while I’m not letting that replace common sense, I still have abundant faith in the instincts God gave me.
  • Saying all that, my eldest is starting school in September. If we don’t fly home now, then we’ll have to wait until next summer to visit. It is illegal to pull kids out of school in Germany unless you have a written doctor’s note. Parents are heavily fined thousands if caught, and it has happened. True homeschooling is also illegal, so there isn’t an option of keeping them home to travel. We have to abide by school holidays. This means, if we wait until next year to visit it would be over two years. My heart can’t handle that, and neither can my kids.

2.) Aren’t you worried about your boys catching it?

  • Of course. I am worried about everything happening to them. I’m a nurturing momma bear, and my boys are my world. Anything and everything has crossed my mind at some point. When they were babies, I feared they would stop breathing in the middle of the night. Toddlerhood kept me hyper-aware they they would choke to death or unknowingly jump to their death. Getting hit by a car on their bike, kidnapping predators, and negative friend influence always swirls in my head. Mommas ALWAYS worry about their babes, but I absolutely cannot live in fear.

3.) What happens if you get sick?

  • I had hubby triple check with our insurance what would happen if we did indeed get sick while in the US. We have public insurance in Germany, but anything that arises during international travel will be covered up to 56 days.
    • What happens if you get sick post-56 days??
      • Well, we’ll deal with it if it happens! This is the point I just give it all to God because I cannot sit and spin on constant worry and what-ifs. I would have to be committed from crazy anxiety and panic attacks. I mean, crazy strange things happen and could happen anywhere we go. One of us could have severe food poisoning, be involved in a tragic car accident, or our flight could crash. A number of things “COULD” happen every single day that would leave us in the hospital for more than 56 days! But, I don’t let all the what-ifs keep me tucked under my covers 23 hours a day.

4.) How will you get back in Germany?

  • Surprisingly, I’ve been asked this the most in conjunction with how in the world will you get into America. First of all- we are US Citizens, and citizens are exempt from Covid travel restrictions. I believe most were confused because we are living in Europe, and Europeans are currently banned from traveling to the United States.
  • Along the same lines, we are allowed back in Germany because we are residents. Hubby has a work permit (working visa) sponsored through his company, which allows all of us to be residents. And we have little plastic ID cards as proof to present at customs when we land in Germany. Same as showing our US Passports in America.

5.) Do you have to quarantine?

  • Nothing was said to us prior to landing in the States, but it is suggested to quarantine when back in Germany. Hubby is required to work from home for two weeks upon arrival per his company’s request. All four of us took the Covid test prior to leaving Germany (results were negative), and we will do it again when returning home to Deutschland.
  • Both tests were/will be voluntary for our own peace of mind that we aren’t spreading the virus if we have it with no symptoms present. If the test is negative when we return, then we will return to our normal lifestyle. If positive, then we will keep our butts at home! Common sense, y’all.

6.) How was the flight?

  • First of all, “third time is a charm” is 100% correct here. We had two flights prior to this get canned, and one of the routes was completely cancelled with zero flights coming or going. Therefore, the flight we did end up taking departed out of Germany and landed in America in different cities with a different carrier than originally planned.
  • The flight was absolutely fine. If you are an avid flyer, then it was really no different than past trips. They gave us a Purell wipe to sanitize individual areas to our own liking, masks were mandatory for the entire flight except when eating, and seats were sold every other one.
  • Honestly, it was one of the better flights we’ve experienced because of the extra space for us to stretch out. The meals, beverages, and snacks were delicious and the FAs served everything with gloves. They also kept masks on the entire time. We filled out this form prior to deplaning, but were never stopped for screening upon arrival.

7.) How is it in America?

  • Well, for starters…America is really freaking big. According to everything being blasted around the media outlets, it’s horrific. Zombie-Apocalypse type horror. Not the case. Like I mentioned earlier, I do believe Covid is real. However, I (my personal opinion) believe it has been grossly blown out of proportion.
  • Back to America being far and wide…the infection rates vary greatly depending on the region you reside. The southern states are on apocalyptic levels compared to other regions. We’ve been here a few days in NC, and stores that were requiring masks are not anymore. And those same stores were not mandating masks in the beginning of the pandemic. It’s all over the board.
  • I’m not standing guard at the local ICU, but maneuvering around town seems the same except seeing folks in masks. It doesn’t seem so strange to me though, because masks have been mandated in Germany since all this went down in March.

8.) Overall thoughts?

  • If you live outside of the States, stop watching the news. It’s painting a terrible picture of America. If you live within the US, stop watching the news. It’s instilling an unnecessary amount of fear. Don’t let Satan win!
  • Wear your mask, wash your hands, and go about your business. Don’t do anything drastic out of the ordinary, but don’t live in fear. I am a believer; therefore, I lean into His comfort and the peace He provides me on the daily. Sure, I have my overwhelming moments where I want the Earth to open up and swallow me whole. But I press on for my kids and try my best to be a good role model for them. And to me, that is praying and following my God given-instincts that He will give me clarity and guidance. Even before the pandemic, this behavior was paramount to my beliefs in being a good momma.
  • I have other expat, American friends living in Germany who have flown back to the States during the pandemic, and all has been okay. I also have friends in the same boat who have cancelled their once a year trip home. In the end, you have to weigh your options, risks, and ultimately decide what is best for your family. And for Heaven’s sake...stop listening to everyone else (good or bad) and trust your instincts.

Further questions? Feel free to leave them below!

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