As commercial flight is changing dramatically and its future remains unclear, a look at how we got here Grounded: Perpetual Flight . . . and Then the Pandemic considers the time leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing global plummet in commercial flight. Mobility studies scholar Christopher Schaberg tours the newly opened airport terminal outside of New Orleans (MSY) in late 2019, and goes on to survey the broad cultural landscape of empty airports and grounded planes in the early months of the novel coronavirus's spread in 2020.