COVID-19: Travel Safety Precautions

Air: Some travellers wonder if the air on a jet makes it easier, or harder, for COVID-19 to spread. The CDC reports most viruses are not easily spread on flights because of how airplanes circulate and filter the air. Air is circulated up to 6 times per hour and processed through HEPA filters which remove 99.97 percent of particles passing through them.

Jet Hygiene: Airlines are increasing their hygiene protocols to ensure onboard transmissions remain low. Some airlines are using UVC lights to clean surfaces. As an added precaution, you will want to bring your own supply of disinfecting wipes to wipe down tray tables, seat arms, windows and walls.

Queues: The greater risk of COVID-19 exposure comes from passing time in ticket lines, security queues, departure gates, jetways, and passenger seats—each of which potentially put you in close proximity with other people and frequently touched surfaces. Streamline your queue time by having all the necessary documents and information at the ready.

Mask On: Keeping your face properly masked and always covered, except when TSA agents need to confirm your identify, is the safest option. Almost all major airlines require passengers to wear a face mask or face covering during your flight. It is strictly enforced once you enter the airport terminal, at check-in, at departure gates pre boarding and post flight at baggage carousels. Passengers are reminded and encouraged to wear them during the entire flight.

Onboard Seating: Physical distancing is more difficult in a confined space like an airplane. Wearing your mask is essential when physical distancing is not possible.

Double Check: Travellers need to call ahead or log into the airline’s website to get the most up-to-date information, and check for updates regularly. Changes in flight schedules, travel restrictions, airline recommendations and regulations—and how they are being enforced—can occur frequently. Your entire trip could be ruined by relying on old and incorrect information, and you may not be allowed to board the plane if you are not able to comply with the rules.

Testing: Currently, a few airlines and airports are conducting on-site rapid tests for the virus of arriving passengers, as well as other customers who want one. Experts suggest this could be the new normal for airlines going forward.

Track and Trace: You may be asked a few questions while making a reservation or during check-in, including: Have you travelled out of the country in the last 14 days? Have you been in contact with anyone who has tested positive for coronavirus? Have you had any of the following symptoms: fever, dry cough, or difficulty breathing?

Signage: Most airports have placed markers in areas where line-ups occur to reinforce physical distancing as travellers wait in line. Passengers are also scanning their own boarding passes—both paper and electronic—rather than exchanging them with TSA officers.

Wash Your Hands: Travellers should wash their hands regularly or use a minimum 60 percent alcohol-based (70 percent isopropyl alcohol) disinfectant before and after using the check-in kiosk, completing the security screening process, and showing your ticket at the gate.

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