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Why I chose a Cessna for my first flight during the pandemic

Aug. 19, 2020
4 min read
Why I chose a Cessna for my first flight during the pandemic
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While several of my TPG colleagues have taken to the skies since March — including a mix of personal and work-related trips — I have yet to fly on a commercial flight.

That's not to say that I'm entirely opposed to traveling by air, but I have felt more comfortable sticking to road trips, even if that means the occasional overnight hotel stay. I did finally end my 166-day no-flying streak this week, though, with a Cessna adventure at Hancock County-Bar Harbor Airport (BHB) in Maine.

My girlfriend and I have been spending the entire month of August at an Airbnb near Acadia National Park, and, given that National Aviation Day is this week, I decided to book us a tour with Scenic Flights of Acadia.

Due to the pandemic, you're guaranteed a private flight — thankfully, the price remained unchanged, at $129 per person, so we were able to experience a safe, yet affordable flight.

Everyone wore masks the entire time, of course. Plus, since I'm a private pilot and very familiar with single-engine Cessnas, I knew we'd be able to prop a window open for extra safety. The company is also sanitizing the plane between trips (with an extra $5 cleaning fee), and the state of Maine requires a negative COVID test within 72 hours for most visitors.

Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy.

To add an extra layer of safety, I wore an N95 mask with a surgical mask on top, and while we don't have an N95 that fits my girlfriend, she wore her cloth mask and sat in the third row, with significant distance and an open window between her and the pilot.

Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy.

As you can imagine from a flight above a national park — just before sunset on a clear summer day — the scenery was absolutely spectacular.

Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy.

The pilot even extended the flight by circling a few key spots so we could snap better photos, including downtown Bar Harbor and our Airbnb on the other side of Mount Desert Island.

We chose to book a 6 p.m. flight, with sunset coming around 7:30 p.m. With takeoff at around 6:15 p.m., a slight departure delay made for even better conditions.

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Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy.

After passing a handful of highlights, including Cadillac Mountain, the Cranberry Isles and the Bass Harbor Lighthouse, near our Airbnb, it was time to end our adventure with a smooth landing on Runway 22.

Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy.

Overall, we had such a fun time, and, with masks, an open window and a no-stranger guarantee, it felt as safe as could be for a mid-pandemic flight.

While you can't open a window on a commercial flight, many airliners feature onboard HEPA filtration, thorough cleaning and strict mask requirements. If you do have to fly during the pandemic, be sure to wear a mask, and keep these travel tips top of mind throughout your journey.

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TPG featured card

Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023