We recently flew four different flights after multiple cancellations forced us to change our itinerary. It wasn't the direct flight we had hoped for but we sure did learn some valuable insight to flying during these crazy times.
Here are the top 10 things we learned from flying during the pandemic and tips you can use for your upcoming flight.
Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against CDC and government advisories. These are general tips based on our own personal experience of flying during the pandemic. Traveling can increase your risk of COVID-19.
10. Loosen Your Wallet
If there was ever a time to spring for premium economy or business class, now is the time. When it comes to safety, there couldn't be a better investment right now.
Here are the reasons why an upgraded seat is worth it right now if you can afford the extra money.
- Remember the days when business boarded the plane first? That is not a perk during COVID-19. Business now boarded LAST which is what you want. The reason that it's perfect is your at the very front of the plane and nobody will walk by you during boarding.
- Business class allows for better distancing and usually a curtain the separates economy and at least 90% of the people on your flight. Even better is lie-flat seats in your own pod which gives you somewhat of a barrier.
- Bathrooms with less people using them
- Business class lounge with more space, less people, better social distancing.
9. Boarding Last
Human nature has taught us to rush to the gate and get in line to be one of the first people to board the plane.
If the upgraded seat was out of your budget, you can still wait to board the plane! Do not board immediately when you are called. This will avoid you getting in line with upwards of a hundred people cramped together with a lack of social distancing. Wait till there are just a few people left to board the plane and then get in line at the end.
8. Go To The Washroom
Seems simple right? Go to the washroom right before you board your flight in hopes that you can avoid using the bathroom on the plane.
Do not dehydrate yourself on purpose. Don't skip out on the water just to avoid the toilet.
If you have to use the washroom on the plane, be smart. Bring a tissue to open the bathroom door. Use paper towel for all touch surfaces. including sink handles, flusher, and exit handle. Wash your hands using CDC recommended handwashing guidelines.
This is not the time to be removing your mask, applying make up or touching your face.
7. Plastic Bag Your Carry On At Security
Bring a couple clear plastic garbage bags for security screening. Before you start throwing your bags, purses, belts and cell phones into the filthy bins, put them in a plastic bag first. Then place them in the bins. It's really easy to forget once you get on the flight that you just touched your bag zipper that came in contact with one of the most virus prone areas in the airport.
6. Be A Clean Freak With Wipes
Before you settle into your seat you have some housekeeping to do. We wipe down all services with disinfecting wipes. You are going to need to bring a couple packages as one little wipe won't do it. Grab two to three wipes and clean every surface around you. Tray tables, arm rests, seat backs, seats, storage areas, seat buttons, TV and even the seatbelt. Make sure you can see the wetness on the surface as you clean. If the wipes dry out, grab new ones.
5. Limit Your Carry on and Belongings
The less things you have to touch and sanitize the better. Most small carry on bags will fit under the seat in front of you. This way you don't have to touch the overhead bins and reduces the number of times you will have to get up during your flight. Bring less personal belongings. The more gadgets, laptops, games, books, bags, purses, etc. you carry on, the more you will have to keep track of sanitizing.
4. Eating and Drinking
If you can, do not eat or drink on the plane. Obviously for longer flights, this may not be realistic. If you must eat, ensure you have properly sanitized your hands first. Only remove your mask so that you can put food or drink into your mouth and immediately put it back on. Do not touch the mask itself. There are great lanyards that attach to your mask so you can avoid having to touch your mask directly or put it down on a surface.
Limit the amount of time you have your mask off to a little as possible.
3. Leave those vents open
Airplanes have installed advanced air filtration systems that constantly are filtering the air on board the plane. According to the CDC, “Most viruses and other germs do not spread easily on flights because of how air circulates and is filtered on airplanes.”
Those small circular air vents above you are bringing fresh clean filtered air.
However the CDC also states that “social distancing is difficult on crowded flights, and you may have to sit near others (within 6 feet), sometimes for hours. This may increase your risk for exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19.”
Tip: Don't forget to wipe down the air vent before touching it.
1. Masks And More Masks
According to the CDC, masks are now the most important defense in the fight against COVID-19. Masks should be worn in all airports and on the plane at all times.
For our own journey, we brought multiple masks with us. We had N95 masks, medical masks and cloth masks. Whenever we felt we were at highest risk, we wore our N95. The rest of the time we wore 3 layers cloth masks with filters or medical masks. That is up to you to decide which type of mask you feel most comfortable with. Airlines will accept any face covering as long as it does not have valves or vents.
As were were traveling for almost 24 hours, we found the mask strings really started to hurt our ears after awhile so it was great to be able to switch masks to something more comfortable. As well if one was dirty or got contaminated we could easily replace it. Don't depend on just one mask and ensure the masks don't have gaps along your face line.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories