Hey there! Before I get started, let me just say that I’m not trying to encourage anyone to be out there flying willy nilly during a pandemic. Sure, flight prices are low! But coronavirus cases are at an all-time high, which makes taking extra precautions incredibly important. While you may not be going on vacations during this time, you might find yourself needing to take a plane at some point. I want to help you rest a little easier with…
6 Tips to Fly Safer During the Pandemic
1. Pick the right airline.
First thing’s first: choosing your airline before you even step foot in an airport! A lot of airlines have chosen to pack their flights as full as possible. Southwest kept their middle seats open for many months (I flew with them last year and felt very safe partly because of this), but at the time of this post, Delta is the only airline still leaving middle seats unoccupied.
Also be aware that not all airlines’ cleaning schedules/regimens are created equal. Some aren’t cleaning/sanitizing between each flight, and I don’t know about you, but that makes me nervous! So before you book the cheapest ticket you can find, you might do a little research on what their cleaning process looks like.
2. Bring hand sanitizer
A big one, if you want! TSA is allowing hand sanitizer up to 12 ounces in carryon bags/purses. Be prepared for them to test it though – that happened to me once. If my trip is more than a few days, I’ll bring a big one and a couple of smaller ones so I can refill and keep some in my purse + car + place I’m staying.
Don’t forget – your mask goes over your mouth and nose!
3. Keep travel wipes handy.
It doesn’t do you a lot of good if you have to go through your entire purse/bag (touching all of its contents in the process) to find your sanitizing wipes. Make sure they’re in an easy-to-reach pocket or right on top so you can grab one whenever you need it!
4. Be aware of everything you touch.
I’ve never been a huge germaphobe, but since the pandemic I’ve been extremely aware every time I touch a surface outside my home – especially one that has probably been touched by a million other people. Blech! That means suitcases, arm rests, and escalators, just to name a few! Remember the travel wipes? I use them to wipe down my seat (in the airport and on the plane), my suitcase handles, purse straps, and phone regularly.
5. Wash your hands often.
While travel wipes and hand sanitizer are helpful in a pinch, nothing is as good as actually scrubbing your hands with soap. It’s the last thing I do before boarding the plane and the first thing I do when I get off. Just make sure your suitcase handle and phone are clean before touching them with your clean hands, though! Once again, super awareness is your best friend!
6. Try to find a spot away from others to eat
Usually airport restaurants will have a seating area, especially if there are several close together. It’s more of a food court seating situation, with some bar stools and a bunch of tables. And a bunch of people. From my experience, most of those people are more concerned with sitting down and eating than they are about social distancing. SO. Instead of finding a seat in the crowd, I get my food to go and bring it back to my departure gate. If it’s getting at all close to time for us to board, it’ll be pretty crowded there, too. That’s why I usually find a gate close by with only a handful of people (and preferably an open outlet to charge my devices) and listen carefully for my flight’s boarding announcements while I eat.
Some may think this is overkill, but I don’t eat inside restaurants during this time. So finding a place very socially distant (think 10+ feet) from people (who are wearing masks because they aren’t eating) to relax and enjoy my food is important to me!
I hope this post has been helpful for you! I know a lot of people are very apprehensive about flying right now, which is completely understandable. These 6 tips are just things I’ve implemented so I can fly safely (or as safely as possible) during the pandemic. I would love to hear other precautions you’ve been taking while traveling by air – feel free to drop them in the comments! And if you’ve done your research and decided you’re not comfortable flying at the moment and would rather road trip it, check out this post for all your road trip essentials!