By Mattie Yallaly, GTBA St. Louis Chapter Member
After much consideration, my husband and I decided to move ahead with our annual February search to find some sun and a bit of warmth. Scottsdale Arizona provided us with an excellent opportunity to escape the cold, gray gloom of Missouri. The trip included flights, accommodations, rental car as well as ride-share. Outside of the travel industry, we ventured into restaurants, hiking trails, and a local market. This is a summary of our experience in the post-COVID environment.
The Parking Spot app is the most convenient and easiest way to go. Currently, Parking Spot is a bit limited, – as there is no valet parking and a couple of closed lots – but they provided their service seamlessly. Just a couple of minutes wait for the shuttle after parking and we were on our way. On our return, the shuttle was not as quick arriving at the airport as past experiences, but we made it back to our vehicle safely. The one downside was the removal of the water bottles upon exit. Travel invariably leaves me parched and I have come to count on that amenity.
St. Louis Lambert International Airport, Terminal 2 – The airport terminal was not very crowded initially and the TSA Security checkpoint was fast and fluid. At the Gates, it was a bit more congested. Everyone that I saw was complying with the mask mandate rules however there was very little opportunity to socially distance.
Southwest Airlines flight – At the Gate, Southwest has modified their boarding process to provide a bit more room in their loading queue. As long as passengers listened to the Southwest representative’s announcements, the process flowed well. I highly recommend that travelers bring their own food and drink (non-alcoholic per TSA mandate) to have on the plane as the food and beverage service is very limited, salty snack mix and a very small cup of water. The plane was clean, and standards seemed to be as advertised. The mask mandate is strongly enforced, over the nose and mouth. During the deplaning process, the flight attendant requested that passengers remain seated and not crowd the aisle until it is their row’s turn to disembark.
Hertz Rental Car – As a gold member, this was one of the easiest aspects to navigate in our itinerary. We arrived, saw our name on the board with the parking number, and loaded up the car. A very pleasant experience that we will surely strive to repeat.
The Scottsdale Resort at McCormick Ranch by Hyatt – This is a very nice property in Scottsdale, situated in a nice neighborhood with hiking, gastronomy opportunities, and the quiet elegance of golf courses. The experience at this property was very nice and the staff was excellent. My only issue was that housekeeping would only come once every three days unless I called every morning to request service. The valet services provided by Mike and Leon were particularly exceptional.
Uber – Due to storms canceling our flight 30 minutes from boarding, we were unable to get a new rental car to our secondary lodging. The Uber driver was efficient, and his car was clean.
Overall, this was a great trip even with the flight cancellations. We had a great travel experience with very little inconvenience from the Covid-19 pandemic. It has now been over 10 days since we returned with no ill effects. I attribute this to the increased cleanliness standards of these industry professionals as well as our increased awareness of good practices. I am looking forward to our next adventure!