Summer Travel: Flying in the Pandemic
by Suzanne Powell
by Suzanne Powell
After months of desolation at the airports, air travel has increased every week, leading into the busy summer vacation season. With full flights becoming the norm, it is more challenging than ever to socially distance on planes, making it increasingly important to take additional precautions.
Mask Up: The number one thing you need to remember before heading to the airport is to mask up. Most airlines and airports now mandate the use of masks. It is a good idea to bring along a few different masks to switch out as necessary. If you are boarding a long flight, you should also try wearing your mask at home for a few hours before the trip to find the type that is the most comfortable for your needs.
Go Digital: Now is the time to make sure you are using the power of technology as much as you can. Start by downloading your airline’s app. From here, you can access flight information as well as your boarding pass. This step will eliminate having to exchange papers with airport employees. For further protection, consider downloading an electronic wallet app to pay for your purchases during the trip. For every contactless interaction that you initiate, you will lower your risk of contracting the virus.
Bring Your Own Supplies: Traveling during a pandemic necessitates that you come prepared. Do not count on the airport or airline having the supplies you need for a safe travel experience. Hand sanitizer is your best friend during this health crisis. Be sure to keep the sanitizer accessible at all times so that you are not left without it. For example, take a small bottle with you in your purse or carry-on bag and your suitcase.
You should also bring antibacterial wipes on your journey. Although the airlines have stepped up their sanitizing efforts on their aircraft and in the boarding areas, it does not hurt to do quick cleaning with your supplies. When you sit down in your seat, you can use the wipes to clean the seat, the tray table, and any other area that you will touch.
Wear Glasses: One of the most significant vectors of transmission is touching your face with your hands. Many people do not even realize how much they touch their faces because it is such a subconscious reflex. Wearing glasses may serve as a natural reminder to not touch your face. This will also further decrease the risk of being infected through the eyes.
Pack Food and Drink: As a result of the health crisis, many airlines have drastically cut their in-flight food and beverage service. Additionally, many terminal kiosks and food vendors are not operating at this time. Packing your own food is also more sanitary than consuming items that have been passed around many hands.
Be Mindful of Distance: There is not much that you can do if you are booked on a crowded flight. However, you can mind your distance while in the terminal building. Even during a pandemic, passengers are crowding the boarding area to get on the plane. Do your part by standing away from the crowd and waiting until the people disperse before you board.
While you cannot put yourself in a bubble while flying, being intentional about following these tips will incrementally reduce the risk that you contract the virus and inadvertently pass it on to others.
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