How to prepare for holiday flights during COVID-19

Virginia

What people can expect when traveling by airplane during a pandemic.

VIRGINIA (WDVM) — Holiday travel may look a little different this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. What can those flying to see family for the holidays expect this year when they arrive at the airport? 

Rebecca Spicer, President of Communications for Airlines for America, said that one of the biggest changes travelers will notice are health precautions implemented throughout the airport and the planes.

Spicer says that multiple cleaning measures have been put in place, such as hospital-grade filtration systems on the aircraft and regular sanitization of seats. In addition to these changes, travelers will also be required to wear a mask and fill out a health form upon check-in. 

But Spicer says passengers will notice other precautions that go just beyond the aircraft. 

“You will see more routine cleaning, especially at touch points like the check-in kiosks, you’re going to see more plexiglass around the check-in counters, at the TSA checkpoints,” she said.

Flyers should also be aware of what they won’t see — which could be some of the usual food establishments.

“A lot of the vendors are not open right now, so I highly recommend anyone going to the airport pack a little snack and an empty water bottle so that you can fill up that empty water bottle on the other side of TSA,” said Spicer.

One other travel tip is to make sure you have reliable transportation, as many airports have closed their parking garages. 

Overall, Spicer wants travelers to know that flying via airplane is, for the most part, relatively safe.

“A report from Harvard yesterday said, that because of all of these layers, that the risk of transmission on an airplane is really quite low,” she said. “It’s as safe, if not safer than, our daily activities, like going to the grocery store.”

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