Flight attendants and pilots ask, “Is it okay to continue working?”


Many of those who continue to steal do so out of necessity, said Ms. Metz and Ms. Choma. A man on a flight with Ms. Choma was returning home to San Francisco after visiting Chicago with his father, who was dying of cancer, she said. On another flight, a woman left an abusive husband. Ms. Metz recently transported nearly 75 passengers, many of whom were stranded on a quarantined cruise ship.

For flight crews, the pandemic has changed lives in other ways. Airports and their destinations are often almost closed, making travel planning more difficult.

One recent Thursday morning, Ms. Choma spent 45 minutes in bed researching the weather and news at the destination, knowing that she would likely walk a long walk to find dinner. The bag she normally takes with fresh food and snacks now contains more durable items like Campbell’s Classic Chicken Noodle Soup, Tuna Packets and Blueberry, Chocolate and Coconut Rxbars.

“It’s something that if I’m stuck somewhere, if something goes really wrong and they stop everything, I don’t mind,” she said.

There are some small comforts in this new reality. On a recent trip to southern California, Ms. Metz went to a hotel where she often stays and was awarded a popular room with a view of the bay of San Diego. For Ms. Choma, a one-hour trip now takes 15 minutes, in part because she is allowed to park closer to the airport instead of many shuttles.

This Thursday, Ms. Choma left the house she shared with roommates, got into her car, and stopped near Terminal 2 at San Francisco International Airport. There she put on her lipstick and walked past security. The calm of the airport amplified the click of his heels and the squeak of the wheels on his bag, sounds that would normally be drowned out by the crowd.

“It’s like you’re just waiting for the hammer to fall or the carpet to be pulled under you,” she said. “How far will it go? Where is it going to go? What will airlines look like after this? “


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