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  • Writer's pictureEric O'Link

The Reopening

The signs are everywhere. And they are encouraging.


Masks are coming off. Restaurants are open at full capacity. Last Sunday’s newspaper had a travel section for the first time in, well…at least a year. At the airport, it looks lively again.


At least it did when I flew from Billings, Montana, to Minneapolis-St. Paul last week. The Billings terminal was nearly standing room only as people waited for one of several departing mid-afternoon flights in the cramped gate area. (It seems the Billings Aviation and Transit Department is working on improving that situation; a new terminal concourse is under construction.)


On board our Delta Air Lines Airbus A320, there were a few empty middle seats – but the flight was mostly full (and had been upgraded from an originally scheduled Embraer 175, ostensibly due to demand). When I stepped off the jetway into the Minneapolis airport, it felt almost like old times (except for the masks, natch): Concourse F was filled with people. Baggage claim was busy. There was a line of traffic queuing to the arrivals curb.


How much this COVID-19 pandemic has taught us. Many of us can successfully work from home. Family time is more precious than we realized. Medical professionals, teachers, essential works are everyday heroes. And, in the words of Delta CEO Ed Bastian, “Travel is a gift.”


I started Jetset Shirts in 2019 to celebrate the modern marvel that is air travel. Hopping aboard a jet to fly – anywhere really – is one of my passions. My pay-the-bills job took more time than I would have liked that year, so I planned a launch of new website, storefront and t-shirt designs in 2020. Then the pandemic hit, and it changed everything. Promoting air-travel-themed apparel felt wrong, with so many people in the airline and hospitality industries furloughed or laid off. I vividly remember driving through the drop-off lanes at MSP’s Terminal 1 in May 2020 and being able to count on one hand the number of vehicles dropping people off (check out the photo over on our Instagram @jetsetshirts).


Surreal.


With hundreds of planes with taped-up engines languishing at airports worldwide, it became obvious Jetset Shirts had to take a rear seat until things improved.


Enter 2021. The vaccinated portion of the population continues to grow. The economy is growing. Travel is roaring back. So are we. I’m excited to debut a new Jetset Shirts website and online store. Our prices have improved along with our print quality. Look around, then head over to our Facebook page and let us know what you think. I love hearing from you and finding inspiration in your ideas.


Talk soon, and see you in the skies.



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