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-   -   What is the PDX - LAX route like now? (https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/alaska-airlines-mileage-plan/2014810-what-pdx-lax-route-like-now.html)

flying_kittens Mar 31, 20 4:46 pm

What is the PDX - LAX route like now?
 
I need to move home to LA for several months, due to a death in the family. I made six RTs on this route between Jan 12 and March 6. March 6 was the first time I noticed significant changes in protocol and crowd drop off.

To minimize exposure to the virus, I want to take the first flight of the day which now appears to be 7:30. Anyone know if that equipment has usually already flown that morning or if it’s been parked at PDX overnight?

Any of your experiences on this route would help me decide how to time this. I need to go sometime the second week of April. I could go sooner, if I hear of more flight cuts that would put more passengers on a plane if I waited.

I would really appreciate any feedback, and please know I wouldn’t be flying if I didn’t have to. Thanks.

jjclancy Mar 31, 20 5:54 pm

Today [3/31], there was an 06:00 and 07:30 PDX-LAX.

Tomorrow [4/1], the first will be at 11:55, inbound from ANC. Maybe. Things change quickly these days. Seat maps for both ANC-PDX and PDX-LAX look mighty sparse, you'll interact with surfaces touched by far more people going through TSA than on the aircraft itself.

Go when you need to; you have very little control over loads or the prior aircraft movements unless you book an hour before departure.

chrisl137 Mar 31, 20 8:51 pm

I flew PDX-LAX on 3/29 on the 19:55 flight for similar reasons.

Many of the flights are being cancelled - I was booked for PDX-BUR, which was cancelled, so I rebooked for PDX-LAX and got lucky that I didn't pick the later flight because that also got cancelled and you have to call to get everything confirmed when that happens. I printed multiple boarding passes so that I wouldn't have to touch my phone on a scanner and could dispose of them after they were touched by TSA, but PDX precheck just swipes your ID now.

PDX airport is extremely quiet. A few of the concessions are open, but most are closed. Of the C-gate restaurants, I think it was just Mod Pizza, Potbelly, and Bambuza (starbucks might also have been open). If you have precheck, you can get through with minimal contact - put your ID in a separate "dirty" bag or pocket after TSA swipes it and use the post-TSA sanitizer to clean it and your hands once you're through. I think my ID was the only thing I didn't control that I had to contact between the rental car (nobody even at the dropoff) and getting food post-security. There are few enough people at the gates that social distancing was not an issue. I think only the security on the D-gate side was open. It may be different on weekdays, but sunday nights Precheck is D-side only after 8 anyway, and with nobody flying it makes sense to only have one checkpoint going. There weren't enough people for social distancing to be a problem - way more TSA agents at the checkpoint than passengers. I did get a sub at Potbelly and ate it at the gate - they looked like they had decent kitchen hygiene and I ate by tearing the outer bag open (presumed outside contaminated), then sanitizing my hands, then ate via the inner wrapper that had only touched gloved hands. If you get a drink you should plan to sanitize it along with anyplace you set it down. The tables are still out for eating.

There were about 20 people total on the flight according to the FA, with 5 of them in F. Nobody had to share a row with anybody they weren't traveling with. I didn't have anybody in the row directly in front of or behind me, either. You should use the app and check seats as your flight approaches to make sure you're in a row by yourself, ideally with empties in front of and behind you. It's not likely anybody is going to pick a seat next to you, but some computer that's only susceptible to silicon-based viruses might have other ideas. The crew were talking about flights up from Mexico that had fewer than 10 people on them. The PDX-SJC flight at the next gate had about a dozen people on it. Boarding was super fast, but two people were late-ish so we pushed about 15 minutes early instead of 30, which we could have except for the last two people.

The plane, at least in F, was pretty clean. I used a few clorox wipes to wipe down everything in and around my seat that I might contact, and I think the only place they picked up any visible dirt was a little grease from inside the seatbelt clamp. I brought a ziploc bag full of wipes and made sure I wiped anything that I might touch around the seat area, and deliberately chose not to try deploying the tray table and cleaning it, since the little armrest tray is sufficient for the can of soda (no cup, no ice) that they'll give you. On PDX-LAX (3/22) there were no snacks, but on LAX-PDX the FA brought around the snack basket. I took two items and bleach-wiped their outsides. She brought chocolate bars a few minutes later, which also got the bleach-wipe. Once you've bleachwiped everything you might touch then you have your own little self-contamination-only area, and can bleach-wipe everything that comes in like the soda and snacks.

Once you're at LAX, you can get to the curb without touching anything, but I recommend getting a shot of hand sanitizer as you pass each little sanitizer station. There's nobody in the terminals - it's quieter than post 9/11. If you're taking an Uber/Lyft, you should walk to the pickup spot if you can, so you don't have to deal with the buses, which are probably infrequent and will have been touched by a moderate number of people. You can get into your ride with contacting only a couple door handles and then the seatbelt, and then you should sanitize again (I'm assuming you're carrying sanitizer). If someone is going to pick you up, this would be the time because you'll never have an easier drive in and out of the horseshoe.

Note that all my concerns were about contact. Masks really protect other people from you, not you from other people, unless they're coughing or sneezing right at you. If you're going to pick something up it will be via surface contact and then transfer to your face. Pay attention to where your hands have been and try to maintain a bubble of only-you contamination on your hands and face, and if something has to be contaminated (like your ID), have a "dirty" spot to store it til you can clean it. If you have to touch things you don't control, treat your hands as contaminated until you can sanitize them.

(eta: flights are so empty right now you almost can book an hour before departure with only a small ~$30 or so penalty compared to a week or two out)
(edited again to add: I also took a shower immediately on arrival at the end of each flight, including full hair wash)

johnp012001 Mar 31, 20 9:26 pm


Originally Posted by chrisl137 (Post 32252623)
I flew PDX-LAX on 3/29 on the 19:55 flight for similar reasons.

Many of the flights are being cancelled - I was booked for PDX-BUR, which was cancelled, so I rebooked for PDX-LAX and got lucky that I didn't pick the later flight because that also got cancelled and you have to call to get everything confirmed when that happens. I printed multiple boarding passes so that I wouldn't have to touch my phone on a scanner and could dispose of them after they were touched by TSA, but PDX precheck just swipes your ID now.

PDX airport is extremely quiet. A few of the concessions are open, but most are closed. Of the C-gate restaurants, I think it was just Mod Pizza, Potbelly, and Bambuza (starbucks might also have been open). If you have precheck, you can get through with minimal contact - put your ID in a separate "dirty" bag or pocket after TSA swipes it and use the post-TSA sanitizer to clean it and your hands once you're through. I think my ID was the only thing I didn't control that I had to contact between the rental car (nobody even at the dropoff) and getting food post-security. There are few enough people at the gates that social distancing was not an issue. I think only the security on the D-gate side was open. It may be different on weekdays, but sunday nights Precheck is D-side only after 8 anyway, and with nobody flying it makes sense to only have one checkpoint going. There weren't enough people for social distancing to be a problem - way more TSA agents at the checkpoint than passengers. I did get a sub at Potbelly and ate it at the gate - they looked like they had decent kitchen hygiene and I ate by tearing the outer bag open (presumed outside contaminated), then sanitizing my hands, then ate via the inner wrapper that had only touched gloved hands. If you get a drink you should plan to sanitize it along with anyplace you set it down. The tables are still out for eating.

There were about 20 people total on the flight according to the FA, with 5 of them in F. Nobody had to share a row with anybody they weren't traveling with. I didn't have anybody in the row directly in front of or behind me, either. You should use the app and check seats as your flight approaches to make sure you're in a row by yourself, ideally with empties in front of and behind you. It's not likely anybody is going to pick a seat next to you, but some computer that's only susceptible to silicon-based viruses might have other ideas. The crew were talking about flights up from Mexico that had fewer than 10 people on them. The PDX-SJC flight at the next gate had about a dozen people on it. Boarding was super fast, but two people were late-ish so we pushed about 15 minutes early instead of 30, which we could have except for the last two people.

The plane, at least in F, was pretty clean. I used a few clorox wipes to wipe down everything in and around my seat that I might contact, and I think the only place they picked up any visible dirt was a little grease from inside the seatbelt clamp. I brought a ziploc bag full of wipes and made sure I wiped anything that I might touch around the seat area, and deliberately chose not to try deploying the tray table and cleaning it, since the little armrest tray is sufficient for the can of soda (no cup, no ice) that they'll give you. On PDX-LAX (3/22) there were no snacks, but on LAX-PDX the FA brought around the snack basket. I took two items and bleach-wiped their outsides. She brought chocolate bars a few minutes later, which also got the bleach-wipe. Once you've bleachwiped everything you might touch then you have your own little self-contamination-only area, and can bleach-wipe everything that comes in like the soda and snacks.

Once you're at LAX, you can get to the curb without touching anything, but I recommend getting a shot of hand sanitizer as you pass each little sanitizer station. There's nobody in the terminals - it's quieter than post 9/11. If you're taking an Uber/Lyft, you should walk to the pickup spot if you can, so you don't have to deal with the buses, which are probably infrequent and will have been touched by a moderate number of people. You can get into your ride with contacting only a couple door handles and then the seatbelt, and then you should sanitize again (I'm assuming you're carrying sanitizer). If someone is going to pick you up, this would be the time because you'll never have an easier drive in and out of the horseshoe.

Note that all my concerns were about contact. Masks really protect other people from you, not you from other people, unless they're coughing or sneezing right at you. If you're going to pick something up it will be via surface contact and then transfer to your face. Pay attention to where your hands have been and try to maintain a bubble of only-you contamination on your hands and face, and if something has to be contaminated (like your ID), have a "dirty" spot to store it til you can clean it. If you have to touch things you don't control, treat your hands as contaminated until you can sanitize them.

(eta: flights are so empty right now you almost can book an hour before departure with only a small ~$30 or so penalty compared to a week or two out)
(edited again to add: I also took a shower immediately on arrival at the end of each flight, including full hair wash)

Wow, you are through!

PV_Premier Apr 1, 20 11:22 am

can you rent a car and drive?

seems a little safer/lower exposure, if exposure risk is your major concern. you could drive it in two days. northern CA is not a hotbed of activity and there are some safe, clean places to stay in Redding or Dunsmuir. it is much easier to social distance in your own car than to roll the dice on doing it in the airport/on the plane.

chrisl137 Apr 1, 20 11:44 am


Originally Posted by PV_Premier (Post 32254293)
can you rent a car and drive?

seems a little safer/lower exposure, if exposure risk is your major concern. you could drive it in two days. northern CA is not a hotbed of activity and there are some safe, clean places to stay in Redding or Dunsmuir. it is much easier to social distance in your own car than to roll the dice on doing it in the airport/on the plane.

I actually considered that option for if I were to get stuck in PDX due to an air traffic shutdown, and I think the number of exposure opportunities probably ends up being higher if you drive. You have to stop for gas a few times, as well as food and restroom breaks, plus driving remains statistically fairly dangerous, and solo driving when already stressed is probably riskier than the number of exposures you face in flying through two ghost-town airports on a nearly empty plane.

I think a major reason for reducing air travel is to keep from moving infections from hot spots to cold spots, particularly now that social distancing and clean-bubble maintenance is easier in an airport than a grocery store.

dayone Apr 1, 20 3:42 pm

Moderator Note: Some off-topic COVID-related posts have been deleted.

dayone, AS Moderator

flying_kittens Apr 3, 20 3:33 am

Thank you for this detailed trip report. I have PreCheck. Booked a flight for April 8. I’ll eat breakfast at home, because I’m avoiding anyone else preparing my food unless I am desperately hungry.

Because I’ll be gone for so long, I am bringing my two cats with me. I would have booked two FC seats, but only one pet is allowed in that cabin. I bought a row of three Premium Coach seats for social distancing and comfort/space to tend to the cats if they get stressed. Luckily it’s just two hours. The MVP phone rep was “pretty sure” TSA would let me walk through the metal detector with one cat and then go back and carry the second one through. Carrying both at one could result in pandemonium.

I’ll be reserving a town car because of the 10 minute walk to the ride share space with two cats, and to reduce virus exposure from Uber and Lyft which have more rider turnover.

I really appreciate your feedback.

flying_kittens Apr 3, 20 3:39 am

18 hours with two cats, and lots of closed public restrooms. I briefly considered it but it’s not feasible and would be too stressful.

chrisl137 Apr 5, 20 3:15 am


Originally Posted by flying_kittens (Post 32259805)
Thank you for this detailed trip report. I have PreCheck. Booked a flight for April 8. I’ll eat breakfast at home, because I’m avoiding anyone else preparing my food unless I am desperately hungry.

Because I’ll be gone for so long, I am bringing my two cats with me. I would have booked two FC seats, but only one pet is allowed in that cabin. I bought a row of three Premium Coach seats for social distancing and comfort/space to tend to the cats if they get stressed. Luckily it’s just two hours. The MVP phone rep was “pretty sure” TSA would let me walk through the metal detector with one cat and then go back and carry the second one through. Carrying both at one could result in pandemonium.

I’ll be reserving a town car because of the 10 minute walk to the ride share space with two cats, and to reduce virus exposure from Uber and Lyft which have more rider turnover.

If you have two carriers they'll probably let you do that. I had a very difficult cat episode at BUR and TSA there was unbelievably helpful (details are probably way too OT for this thread). PDX security is so quiet right now that you shouldn't have too many problems - it will probably make it easier than it normally would be. There were many, many more TSA agents than pax when I was going through on 3/29. Also, bring extra pee pads to put under the outside of the carriers in the plane and the town car - they get bunched up inside the carrier, and on one of my cat transport trips the cat managed to hold it until about 20 minutes from the end. Fortunately it didn't get on the car upholstery.

And all the restrooms were open along the trip from PDX through LAX.

Waitlisted Apr 5, 20 11:44 pm


Originally Posted by flying_kittens (Post 32252095)
. To minimize exposure to the virus, I want to take the first flight of the day which now appears to be 7:30. Anyone know if that equipment has usually already flown that morning or if it’s been parked at PDX overnight?.

if you download the FlightAware app, the free version and check your flight number, you can click on the “where is my plane now” button to see where your aircraft is coming from.

flying_kittens Apr 7, 20 4:08 am

Thank you for the replies. I appreciate it!


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