Airline Travel During Coronavirus: 5 Things to Remember When Flying During the COVID-19 Pandemic by Isabella Garofanelli
With airlines resuming service and many states reopening, some are considering traveling to release the frustrations caused by having to stay at home for months (among many other things, of course). Before anything else, I’d like to say that while wanting to go on a holiday is totally understandable (I mean, who doesn’t want to be whisked away to an island paradise far, far away from this pandemic?). It’s important to note that coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in the U.S. (and in other countries, too) continue to rise. That said, moving from one place to another, especially via an airplane, may not be the smartest decision right now.
I do understand though, that there are cases wherein travel is forced upon us by circumstances. For this reason, here are five important reminders you need to keep in mind so you stay safe when flying during the pandemic:
1. Always Practice Physical Distancing
First, I have to give credit to airlines and their staff, because all the safety measures they put up are against old habits, and those die hard. On my last two flights, as soon as it's OK to exit the plane, everyone gets up and starts to crowd the aisle. And I'm just there thinking, "Did everybody suddenly forget what physical distancing is?"
According to studies, constant practice of physical distancing, along with wearing of face masks and hand washing, can greatly reduce transmission of the novel coronavirus. Keep this in mind while boarding, disembarking, lining up to use the bathroom, practically everything throughout your entire journey.
2. Upgrade If You Can
Especially if you’re going on a long flight, it’s advisable to upgrade to business or first class where you can enjoy more personal space and less risk of being exposed to the virus. It’s unlikely you’ll be flying more frequently in the coming days, so why not use your mileage points to have a more comfortable and safer journey?
3. Do Not Take Off Your PPE
Some people tend to remove their personal protective equipment (PPE) when getting on the plane. Please note that as long as you’re exposed to people, you are potentially exposed to the virus, and unless you’ve just tested negative for it, are also a potential carrier. Keep your mask, goggles or face shield and other protective equipment on at all times. It may be a bit uncomfortable, but it’s the responsible thing to do.
4. Keep Your Hands Off Surfaces and Disinfect Them Often
Really, stop touching every inch of the plane. Please. Sure, airlines now have more stringent cleanliness policies, but passengers also need to do our part and travel responsibly. I would also like to reiterate the importance of washing your hands or disinfecting them before touching your personal belongings, food or water.
5. Check the Updated Boarding Guidelines and Local COVID-19 Restrictions Before Flying
One of your best weapons against the virus is knowledge. Make sure to read through the updated TSA screening and boarding process of your airline before heading out. Also, take the time to read up on local restrictions in your destination to avoid any unpleasant surprises.
Keep in mind that traveling during this period is really not something I’d recommend, however, if you really have to, please always do the responsible thing and keep in mind the above mentioned guidelines.
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