Coronavirus Travel: Top Airport and Flight Safety Tips
Most Australians are in a fortunate position to be able to travel domestically within the next few months. Whether it will be travel for business, pleasure or reunions, the reality is that COVID-19 is still something to think about. There are some extra precautions you can take to protect yourself while travelling through airports and on a plane. Read on to learn more.
Is it safe to be on a plane?
The risk associated with flying comes mostly from the chance of being close to someone that is sick. An increase in shared, high-frequency touchpoints (public bathrooms etc), is also risky. However, as the number of travellers has dropped dramatically, the risk has somewhat dropped too.
Fewer people are travelling, so if you practice social distancing, there won’t be as much risk from airports as there was pre-pandemic. The same goes for planes. Airlines are operating at a reduced capacity to allow for enough space between passengers. Really, crowd-wise, it’s not so different from travelling on a busy train or bus.
You might be thinking about that recirculated cabin air. That was a hygiene issue that airlines addressed well before the pandemic, because reducing the circulation of any pathogen or virus – even the common cold – is beneficial.
The air in a plane is probably cleaner than the re-circulated air in your home or office. That is unless your air conditioners are fitted with surgical-grade air filters like they are in planes. In most aircraft, the entire mass of cabin air passes through these filters much faster. Cabin air is completely refreshed every two-to-three minutes.
General COVID Precautions are Still Best Practice
When you travel (or whenever you’re in any public place), the best thing you can do for yourself and for others is to practice the COVID-safe behaviours that make up our new normal.
Keep your distance at the airport and on the plane. That means paying attention to the markings on the floor whenever you’re in a queue, and adhering to the boarding announcements to help crew manage crowds. The airline will likely leave a seat between you and travellers that are from another party – but if you see a free window seat in an empty row, ask if you can be moved to that one instead. This will keep you further from passengers and crew walking through the aisles.
You should also wear a face mask and pack a few extra for long journeys. Wash your hands frequently, use hand sanitiser and avoid touching your face as much as you can as per the current guidelines.
Understand Your Destination
The situation can change quickly during a pandemic. Make sure you regularly monitor the COVID situation at your destination so that you are aware of any updates to outbreaks, quarantine requirements or travel restrictions. You should also take a moment to research your airline, departure airport and destination airport for any COVID precautions that may affect your plans. And don’t forget to allow for plenty of extra time for extra COVID checks throughout your journey.
Consider Packing Your Own Food
The more you can minimise your contact with others, the better. But on an airline journey you’re probably going to need some food. If your flight is only a few hours, plan to eat a meal before you leave home and pack some snacks to keep you satiated during the flight. And really, you won’t be missing out on much by forgoing airline food!
Pack Your Own Water Bottle
The same goes for drinks. Staying hydrated is important for staying healthy in general, but especially on a flight. Keep your water intake high and your contact low by bringing a reusable water bottle with you. You can empty it out before you go through security and refill it on the other side. That way you’ll have plenty of water with you during the flight and won’t need to rely on in-flight service to stay hydrated.
Plan Your Bathroom Breaks
It’s also a good idea to go to the bathroom before you board the flight to minimise the number of times you need to visit the bathroom on the plane. Airport bathrooms are more spaced out and less crowded so it will be easier to distance yourself from others.
Pack Carry-On Only
Minimising shared touchpoints is important for safe travel. This includes those that happen behind the scenes with your baggage. If you can, travel with carry-on baggage rather than checked baggage. This way you can limit the number of hands that your luggage passes through. By avoiding checked-luggage you’ll also skip the wait at the collection carousel which will keep you away from crowds and allow you to leave the airport as quickly as possible.
Use Packing Cubes
Keeping your luggage organised with packing cubes is not only a sanity-saver, in COVID times it can be safer too. If your bags get questioned at a security check, packing cubes will help to minimise the number of touchpoints during the search. Rather than having the agent’s hands touch multiple items as they search through your bag, they’ll only be touching the outside of a few cubes (unless then need to look inside a few). If you use packing cubes that are machine-washable, you can throw them all into the washing machine at your destination as an extra precaution.
Keep Your Phone Sanitised
Our phones are one of the most touched items we own. And the germiest. This is especially true while we travel as we use them much more to pass time, look up information or directions, and book accommodation, food and transport etc. For this reason we would recommend paying extra attention to phone hygiene. The best thing you can do is travel with a portable phone sanitiser, like our UV Phone Sanitiser Wireless Charger Pro.
This nifty device uses UV light to remove over 99.9% of germs found on your phone. Not just from the front either, but every surface that the light shines on. It can also be used to sanitise anything that can fit comfortably inside it (headphones etc), which is great for de-germing on the go. The best thing about it is that it doubles as a wireless charger so you can keep your phone charged and clean while you travel.
While it may sound scary, remember travelling by air (especially domestically within Australia) isn’t much riskier than travelling by any other means of public transport. If you adopt these tips you can minimise your risk, which is probably a good thing to do even beyond the pandemic to keep ourselves and our community healthy.
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