July 2, 2020

Is It Safe To Fly Right Now?

The world is beginning to open back up amidst coronavirus – although slowly and with caution in most places. In most parts of the country, officials are being very cautious in opening their borders. Nevertheless, the vast majority of us would very much like to get out of the house. And for many of us, that means having the freedom to travel again.

You may have heard that the world of travel will never be the same again, and it’s true. A small, yet significant piece of traveling is getting on a plane. You may indeed be wondering; it is truly safe to fly right now? We will get into the specifics in this article, but the short answer is…YES! But with precautions. Read on…

How Clean Is The Plane?

The cleaning process for airline carriers may vary but for the most part most airlines are disinfecting planes between each flight.  There’s also heavy concentration on high-touch surfaces and bathrooms.  Most modern airplanes have HEPA Filters, which keeps the air clean by filtering out airborne viruses and bacteria by about 99% throughout the flight. It is said that an airplane with HEPA Filters is safer than other confined places like a bus, subway or movie theatre.  Some airlines are even taking it a step further by disinfecting every nook and cranny of the cabin  by using electrostatic antimicrobial spray overnight or between flights to ensure safe travel.  These airlines include JetBlue, Delta, United, Hawaiian and Southwest. 

Know Before You Go

Before heading to the airport, consult with the current guidelines provided by your travel advisor, departing airport and airline, and be prepared to follow them! Most airlines will require that you wear a face mask. If you don’t wear one, you will likely be denied boarding. In addition, many airlines have suspended any sort of refreshment service, as well as removing all literature from seat pockets. This is to limit as many touch points as possible to minimize the spread of the virus. So, if you need these normal services, be sure to bring your own snacks on board, as well as your own reading material, should you want it.

Make Some Room

With some airlines starting to lift restrictions on spacing and flight capacity, it may be in your best interest to look into how full your flight will be, and how comfortable you are with social distancing (or lack thereof). If everyone is wearing masks, the risk is certainly lower, but that coupled with spreading out a bit is even better. If that is a concern for you, try to opt for airlines that are still limiting capacity and blocking middle seats. You may also want to check into what kind of aircraft your flight is using – the bigger the better. Or if you can afford to splurge a bit, opt for first or business class, as some airlines are reducing capacity in these classes even more.

Expect Different Flight Schedules

With most airlines completely redoing their schedules and making significant cuts, choose your flight carefully. Try to avoid the peak flying times of mid-morning to mid-afternoon, and expect last-minute changes and delays as airlines continue to scramble with demand. Domestic air travel is back on the rise, and that only contributes to the ebb and flow of disruptions. As the industry continues to react to daily

changes, don’t be surprised if they change, rebook, or cancel your flight. If possible, sign up for instant alerts the minute you book your flight, so you are continually updated.

And if you are considering an international flight, many places around the world still have restrictions on who can fly into their country, and certainly whether or not you are flying as a tourist. The key is to be informed and if your chosen destination is not yet keen on accepting tourists, respect that decision and plan to visit at a later time.

The Bottom Line

Above all, be responsible. Always wear a mask the minute you arrive at the airport, practice social distancing and wash your hands often. Consider your fellow travelers and remember that you may have the virus and be asymptomatic. Keeping these things in mind will ensure you have a stress-free flight, knowing that you are protecting yourself and others. Be well!

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