Safety tips for flying during the COVID-19 pandemic

Airport style, 2020 edition

As someone who lives to jump on the next plane for new adventures around the world, the Covid pandemic definitely put a damper on many of my plans. I was yearning to “walk down the airplane aisle” again and finally after 5 months of being quarantined at home, we recently took our first flight ! I was excited, curious and nervous all at the same time for travel in this new pandemic era. Overall we had a safe and pleasant experience flying during the COVID-19 pandemic and here are some of my safety tips that I can share based on our experience :

1 ) Covid Test prior to flying :

Many international destinations and some airlines are requiring a negative COVID test to travel which in my opinion is the most responsible thing to do. Even if it isn’t required I think it is essential to get tested prior to flying so that we can all be responsible travelers. Also it would be best to quarantine at home after your test to when you actually leave for the airport.

For instance, when we went to French Polynesia there was a requirement that everyone needed to be tested 3 days prior to departure. Knowing that every single person on the flight was negative gave us so much peace of mind.

 

2 ) Keep informed of the travel requirements to your destination :

Every country and/or airline might have different travel and testing requirements. In this new age of COVID era travel it is so important to be aware of the requirements of your destination so that you are well prepared.

 

3 ) Keep extra time for routine airport procedures :

It helps to leave extra early and keep extra time for airport procedures if there are longer lines. When we went we were literally in and out of most lines in 5 – 10 minutes!

 

4 ) Online check in :

To avoid as many physical touchpoints with other people during your travels, it helps to check into your flight online and download the boarding pass to your phone.

 

5 ) Wear a facemask at all times during travel :

Masks on!

This goes without saying but following the rules of wearing a mask is so essential. Right from your uber ride to the airport to when you reach your hotel room in your destination. The only times we took our masks off was to eat/drink. Avoid touching your face unnecessarily and avoid any high touch point surfaces too.

 

6 ) Follow social distancing at all stages of travel :

Another rule that is assumed is to practice social distancing whenever possible. Airports are well equipped with markers to make social distancing easy at all spots from check in to security, restaurants and boarding, etc.

In the flights, some airlines are blocking middle seats, while others might be trying to space different households apart on board if they aren’t at a 100% capacity. You can always call your airline to check their new policies and to check how full your flight is. If experiencing a full flight and you are able to, you can consider upgrading your ticket to business or first class which might allow for more personal space and therefore less risk.

Many flights are also boarding and deplaning a few rows at a time to avoid unnecessary crowding and queuing.

 

7 ) Washing your hands frequently :

Another tip which goes without saying is essential. Wash your hands frequently or keep hand sanitizers handy to use. I loved using hand sanitizers with a built in clip/keychain so that I could strap it to my backpack.

 

8 ) Pack all the safety essentials :

All my travel essentials

Airports and airplanes have never been cleaner. Airports are well equipped with many hand sanitizing stations and flights also hand out a safety kit usually (with masks, disinfecting solution, etc).

Safety kit distributed by airlines

But I made sure to pack extra face masks, hand sanitizers, sanitizing wipes etc. I also packed safety glasses, face visors and gloves. I do prefer the glasses over the visor as it can tend to fog up a bit. In the US, TSA is also allowing 1 bottle of a 12oz hand sanitizer per passenger; be sure to check with the rules of other international airlines.

 

9 ) Pack extra snacks in clear bags and bring a reusable water bottle :

Empty dining halls, only 2 restaurants were open at LAX when we flew.

Many restaurants in airports are closed or at a reduced capacity/hours. Even on flights food service might be stopped or limited, so carry dry snacks like energy bars, nuts, chocolate, etc to keep you satiated whenever you get hungry. TSA also requires you to keep food in clear bags and place it out on the bin during security. My fave travel bottle is the Avana Ashbury.

 

10 ) Bring your own inflight essentials :

I brought my own travel pillow, blanket, water bottle, eye mask, compression socks and headphones for my flight. See my full list in this blog post.

 

11 ) Choose a window seat and stay seated :

I have always been a window seat person!

The window seat is perhaps the safest seat as your exposure to people traffic on the aisle is minimal. Avoid unnecessary movements up and down the aisle (unless its a long haul flight).

 

12 ) Wipe down your entire seat area :

I used to always be “that” crazy person even pre pandemic haha! But wiping down your seat area is so important during the current times. Its helpful to have disinfectant wipes handy and easily accessible when you travel. Some airlines have started to implement deep cleaning practices on the seat, seatbelt, tray table and seatback pocket. However, as an extra precaution you should still wipe down your own area, particularly your tray table. I also used wipes in airports on dining tables if we were having a meal there.

 

 13 ) Open the air vent : 

Experts have said that a good tip when you sit down in your seat is to turn on your air vent so it pushes the air, not on your face, but directly in front of your face. This helps keep any particles or viruses away from your face.

 

14 ) Wash your travel clothes after the travel day :

Choose something comfy to travel in and as soon as you arrive at your destination, immediately remove and wash the clothes prior to next use.

 

15 ) Test and quarantine post trip : 

This isn’t required upon return to the US and rules for quarantine also vary from one state to another. California dosen’t have any entry requirements but we isolated at home immediately after our stay and got tested on the 3rd day after arrival. We were negative and still isolated at home and monitored for symptoms till 14 days.

 

Have you traveled during the pandemic ? How was your experience?

As a disclaimer : I understand that the decision to travel might not make sense to everyone right now, and that is totally fine. I’m not one to tell you whether to travel or not – that is something you have to decide for yourself, based on your circumstances. However, I DO want to be a helpful resource for travel related openings, show you how it is possible to travel safely + responsibly if you choose to travel during the pandemic and of course I want to inspire you to travel after the pandemic is over.

Thanks for stopping by!

Jyo

 

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *