Are you going to fly commercial? Start here first. By this point, you’ve got your airline tickets booked and have a long list of places and attractions you want to visit.

But the real question is, what are you going to do to protect yourself from COVID-19 while you travel?

In The United States, there are more than 16,100,000 flights handled by the Federal Aviation Administration every single year. With so many people, it can be a stressful time for air travel.

For travelers looking for the safest flight experience, check out this list of the top seven easy flight tips for peace-of-mind flying. Read on to learn more.

1. Consider Your Destination

There is a lot that goes on before you purchase your airline ticket in the era of COVID-19. Consider the number of confirmed cases at your destination. Is the coronavirus spreading where you’re traveling?

If possible, choose to land at an airport whose city has a low case count, or risk quarantine.

It may be in your best interest to rent a car instead of flying on an airline, so always consider your arrival location and local regulations.

Be especially cautious, traveling if you have existing medical conditions or are over the age of sixty.

Think about where you are traveling from as well. If you are sick or have been around someone with the coronavirus in the past two weeks, do not go. Even if you are asymptomatic, you still pose a threat to fellow travelers around you.

2. Remember to Wash Your Hands Often

One of the best air travel tips in the era of COVID-19 is to wash your hands often. Washing your hands helps prevent the spread of respiratory diseases like COVID-19. Avoid things such as:

  • Touching your nose, mouth, or eyes with unwashed hands
  • Eating food and drinks with unwashed hands
  • Interacting with contaminated surfaces or objects

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), you should scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds before rinsing them under warm, running water. Allow your hands to air dry.

If you don’t have access to soap and water, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol content.

Avoid touching communal items on the airplane like collapsible tray tables, window panels, and seats. If possible, do not get up to go to the bathroom during your flight.

3. Protect Your Items in a Plastic Bag

A plastic bag might be the holy grail of airline travel tips. Protect your items in a plastic bag to avoid contamination from employee handling.

Don’t forget to give yourself time to obtain your boarding pass from your airline . Allow additional time for airline employees and TSA agents to change personal protective equipment and sanitize common areas between travelers.

Remember security wait times can be very unpredictable so prepare for a long wait, especially in historically busy airports. Check out the Customs Border Protection (CBP) and the Transportation Security Agency for specific wait times at airports.

Get ahead of the game and know what you can and can’t bring in your carry-on to help ease the screening process for both the TSA agents and yourself.

As of June 2020, the Transportation Security Administration is allowing one liquid hand sanitizer container of no more than 12 fluid ounces per traveler in carry-on bags. Any larger than this will not be permitted through the screening checkpoint.

Remember to empty all other liquids, including water bottles, before going through security.

4. Always Wear a Cloth Face Mask Covering

The CDC recommends you wear a cloth face-covering in public areas where social distancing may be challenging to maintain. Face masks help slow the spread of the virus by preventing air-borne pathogens from passing to those around you.

If you’re traveling with young children, those two-years-old and younger do not need to wear a face mask. It can cause difficulty breathing for small kids.

Make sure your cloth face mask is placed securely over your nose and mouth and fitted comfortably under your chin. It should be snug against the sides of your face. Avoid adjusting the mask or moving it up on your forehead or around your neck.

When you take off your cloth face mask, handle only by the ties or loops of the cover. Remember to fold the outside corners and avoid touching the part of the veil that was exposed to the outside air. Always wash your mask between uses.

5. Try for an Upgrade

One of the most fabulous flying tips is to try for an upgrade. The CDC recommends only those who qualify for essential travel do so during the COVID-19 restrictions. Because of this, commercial flights are a lot less busy right now.

Ask your airline employee if there is an opportunity for an upgrade to business or first class. These seats tend to be more spaced out and will likely have less contact with other passengers on the airplane.

6. Bring Along Disinfectant Wipes

You will inevitably have to touch surfaces and objects in the airport and on the airplane. Be sure to bring along disinfectant wipes to sanitize common spaces before using them.

Consult with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for approved disinfects for COVID-19.

7. Don’t Get up During the Flight

If possible, don’t get up during the flight. Those in regular contact with people closer than 6 feet are more susceptible to spreading and contracting COVID-19.

When you board the plane, go straight to the window seat and try to remain there. The best way to social distance on an airplane is to stay in your position during the duration of the flight.

Use These Flight Tips

Your travels should be an incredible experience filled with positive memories. Don’t let a flight during the pandemic stress you out. Be sure to keep these flight tips in the back of your mind to experience the safest travel possible.

Want to see more posts like this one? Check out the rest of our blog to learn more or get an appraisal from Jason Zilberbrand, ASA, and senior accredited appraiser at VREF.