Flight Safety: 7 Tips to Stay Safe During Covid-19

By Jason Zilberbrand

October 30, 2020 Educational

COVID-19 has changed the world, and the aviation industry is no exception to this. Pandemic travel restrictions in the United States almost had a full-on shutdown of domestic flights. While that didn't happen completely, the amount of domestic flights has declined. Commercial air travel in the United States is down just over 30% from this time last year, and we expect things to worsen before they start to get better.

Most people are not ready to start traveling again, and even those who have returned to the airlines have noticed numerous changes at airports. So if you are going to travel you do need to take precautions. Here are seven tips on how to have a safe flight during COVID-19.

1. Follow the Airline's Rules: Mask Up!

All airlines require passengers to wear masks while they board the plane. In fact, most airports also require passengers to wear masks while within the building.

If you see someone not complying with the airplane's rules, don't be afraid to speak up or alert a flight attendant to remind the person they need to be masked at all times. Even though the airplane filters its air every few minutes while in flight, it's still important for all people to comply with an airline's public health requirements.

The airline also has rules onboarding as well, often boarding by rows now rather than by groups.

2. Bring Extra Sanitizing Wipes

Some airlines are giving out sanitizing wipes to passengers to wipe down their seat and tray table area. However, not all airlines provide this or have the means to provide it to everyone continually. To stay safe, be sure to bring your own sanitizing wipes.

When you get on the aircraft, you can use them to wipe down your seat, the seatbelt, the tray table, and any other surfaces you may frequently touch. Even though airlines clean their aircraft between flights, give yourself peace of mind by doing a little bit extra.

If you don't have sanitizing wipes, use hand sanitizer frequently after touching surfaces inside the airplane.

3. Change Fees are Long Gone

If you find you cannot take the original flight you booked, don't worry! Many airlines have done away with change fees for the rest of 2020. If you don't feel safe flying, you can save that flight for another day.

Here are some of the airlines that have waived change fees for the remainder of 2020:

  • Alaska Airlines
  • American Airlines
  • Delta
  • Frontier Airlines (changes must be made 7 days before a trip)
  • JetBlue (waived until February 2021)
  • United Airlines

Southwest Airlines never charged change fees even before the COVID-19 pandemic.

4. Remember the Airport

Don't forget that the airport itself is crawling with possible germs too. Don't worry too much, though: you can still keep yourself safe even inside the airport.

You can avoid interacting with many people by bringing your own food to snack on and an empty water bottle to fill at water fountains. If you can, it might even be better to eat and drink on the airplane itself, since airplanes will filter their air every few minutes. The airport, however, will not.

Wash or sanitize your hands as you normally would. Avoid crowded areas if possible too.

5. Carry-On, Don't Check

Do you want fewer people handling your luggage? If so, then using a carry-on is the way to go.

It's convenient for public health regulations, but it's also convenient for you outside of pandemic precautions. There's no more need to wait at the baggage claim for your bag to appear! You can step off the plane, ready to head to your final destination.

6. Check In Online and Use a Mobile Boarding Pass

Check-in online and print your boarding pass at home. You won't have to stand in line around others and wait to have your boarding pass printed if you check-in online. Some airlines like Spirit or Frontier will penalize you if you don't check-in early, so watch out!

Not only that, but you could opt to use the airline's app to get a mobile boarding pass as well. This makes the check-in process easier, as well.

7. Do Not Board if You Have Symptoms

This seems obvious, but some people may try to make excuses for why they need to board a flight. Regardless, if you or someone you're traveling with is showing symptoms of COVID-19, do not board the airplane.

Not all airlines take people's temperatures before boarding. Make sure you're monitoring your own potential symptoms. You don't want to be the reason you make the plane ride a superspreader event.

Flight Safety is Important

COVID-19 is no joke, and taking flight safety precautions while you're flying is necessary. Follow all rules of the airline, including wearing a mask. Not all airlines will offer sanitizing wipes or hand sanitizers, so be sure to bring your own.

If you need to change your flight, don't worry: change fees are a thing of the past. Airports themselves are crawling with germs, so you want to avoid as much contact and exposure within them as possible.

Check-in online and even use mobile boarding passes to avoid long lines of people. Lastly, do not board the aircraft if you are exhibiting or experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19. Stay responsible not only for your own health but for the health of those around you.

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