Tips for Keeping Safe When Flying During the Coronavirus
As the world slowly opens up, concerns about how to travel safely are at the forefront. Gearing up for a busy fall and winter travel season doesn’t mean that the coronavirus-risk has been eliminated. Flying isn’t going to feel anything like it has in the past yet with a few pivotal precautions, and some useful tips from insiders, there’s no reason to delay or cancel travel plans any longer.
Airlines, travel agents and travel operators have banded together to fight the communal COVID-19 risk and each one is taking proactive steps to ensure travelers keep safe and healthy when flying.
Wondering how to keep safe when flying in coronavirus times? Here are some tips you’ll find useful:
1. Drive yourself to the airport
Even if you normally take a limo or taxi to the airport, experts believe the safest option to reach your airport of choice is by driving yourself or having your personal driver, friend or family member drive you – someone whom you know has been isolating and keeping social distance.
2. Know the drop-off/parking procedures of your chosen airport – they’re likely to have changed
Even if you know your local airport well, you’d be wise to check their current, COVID-19-safe procedures as they are likely to have been changed. The main priority for airports is to keep people moving and try to disperse crowds, so know where you must go, either to park or be dropped off.
3. Give yourself plenty of time for check-in and customs clearance
Flying is never as swift as it sounds (unless you’re on a private plane, of course) and the whole procedure has been slowed to a near-sloth speed right now – give yourself plenty of time and you can avoid stress.
4. Discourage anyone who wants to see you off
Right now is not the time to have languid farewells at airports – say your goodbyes at home and keep everyone safe. Most airports are only allowing in people with airline tickets.
5. Take advantage of online check-in and print your own boarding passes
Many airlines have introduced touchless-printing barcodes on their app, to help you avoid having to incessantly touch everything (including your own documents) once you’re at the airport. Get acquainted with your airline’s app and all its features before traveling.
6. Bring your own hand sanitizer, mask and hygienic wipes
Airlines and airport staff are committed to keeping all surfaces disinfected but it’s fair to assume that this cannot be exhaustive. Bring your own anti-germ supplies and you can easily sanitize your hands and any surface you need to touch, especially on the plane. Be aware of all the times you touch your face (to adjust your mask) and makes sure you only do so after using your hand-gel.
FYI - the CDC is advising against the use of disposable gloves, as they may end up being more prone to contagion – especially as hand sanitizer tends to literally degrade the latex
7. Maintain a 6-ft distance as much as possible
Social distancing when flying may sound like a ridiculous concept, but this is all about minimizing risk, not avoiding it altogether. When you can, keep a safe distance of 6 feet from anyone else and let your mask and sanitizer gel pick up the slack when this is not possible. Most airlines have mandatory mask policies during fights – make sure that your airline does before you book
8. Pack your own refreshments
As some airlines are suspending meal-service, you’re encouraged to bring your own food and/or snack, remembering that liquid-restrictions is still in place. We suggest bringing your own water bottle which you can refill once you are through security. Be safe and go green at the same time! Make sure to pack your food in a clear Ziploc bag for easy inspection (this also avoids airport security staff from touching your bag unnecessarily) and some airlines are asking passengers to kindly eat before flying which is a great idea, especially on short flights.
9. Don’t have a meltdown IF there is someone seated next to you
Over three-quarters of flights departing within the USA are only half-full, which means up to 25% are having passengers seated next to one another. If having the seat next to you empty is pivotal to you traveling, inquire with your airline as to their passenger restrictions and what you should be expecting.
10. Remember that the risk of contracting coronavirus during a flight is minimal
Coronavirus contagion through surfaces is not typical although it’s also not impossible. Just minimal. Do all of the above and, statistically, this is not of any major concern.
A few bonus hints from Jim Raycroft – the man behind most of the photos on our website.
1. Sit as far forward in the plane as possible. Most airlines are now boarding from back to front. The air circulates from the front of the plane to the back of the plane so the freshest air is in the front.
2. Take a window seat – this keeps you away from everyone in the aisles and prevents people from having to walk over your seat to get to the restrooms.
Here’s some more info you may find useful:
- US Travel Association guidelines for flying during coronavirus
- Air Canada Safety Policy
- Air France Safety Statement
- American Airlines Safety Policy
- Delta Safety Commitment
- Emirates Safety Measures
- JetBlue Travel Alerts
- Southwest Coronavirus update
- United CleanPlus
At Ocean Getaways, we are likewise committed to ensuring your health and safety on your upcoming private yacht charter vacation. We can arrange private transfers from your destination airport to your yacht, making sure drivers and all companies with whom we deal follow the required safety protocols.