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Covid on Airplanes: How to Travel Safely

Woman wearing a mask while travelling on an airplane

Getting ready for a trip is always exciting, whether you’re traveling for business, for leisure, or to reunite with loved ones. Regardless of your destination, there are always some aspects of your trip that need to be foreseen and planned in advance. Transportation, luggage, hotel reservations, adapting to weather conditions… the list could be endless. And recently, Covid-19 precautions were added to that mix.

But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered on that one. In this article, we’ll share everything you need to know about being safe during your next flight. Let’s begin.

What Are the Chances of Contracting Covid on Airplanes?

Last year, everyone was advised to keep a window open when sharing a room with a group of people. And so, to keep everyone safe, restaurants, schools, and offices were obliged to do so. But, what about flights? After all, one is supposed to spend a fair amount of hours with a bunch of strangers, and no windows can be open there. So, is it safe? The answer, as odd as it might sound, is yes. And to explain how, it’s necessary to begin by describing how the air circulation on an airplane works.

In most aircraft, people breathe a mixture of fresh and recirculated air. The air is sucked in by the ceiling ducts, to be released afterward. Half of it is let out of the airplane, and the other half is filtered and sent back into the cabin. The air is filtered with fiberglass meshes, which catch most microscopic particles. As a result, the air gets refreshed every 2-3 minutes, which according to the experts, is higher than the average rate in grocery stores or any other indoor area.

What’s more, experts also agreed that this is one of the main reasons why there hasn’t been any major spread of the Covid on airplanes so far, in addition to the safety protocols. This high rate of air circulation allows “old” and “new” air to mix evenly and consequently prevents viral elements from remaining inside the cabin for too long. Thus, the likelihood of getting Covid during a flight is considerably reduced.

However, the chances aren’t lowered to zero. Given the case of a passenger sneezing during the flight, since the air flows sideways, those particles could sneak out from the sides of their mask, and eventually reach other parts of the plane. Still, not all the particles are the same size nor do most of them necessarily carry infectious matter. But if the rest of the passengers aren’t wearing a mask, that sneeze could be a problem.

With that in mind, we can say that flying is a safe practice that you shouldn’t worry about, as long as you wear a mask at all times.

Staying Safe at the Airport

Beyond air circulation on airplanes, there is still another factor to consider when traveling, and that is the instance before getting on board. How can you stay safe during your time at the airport?

Airports can indeed be quite big, and passengers can easily practice social distance while waiting for their flight. But, without the proper precautions, the airport can still be considered a risk area.

Why so? Well, there are instances in which crowds are hard to avoid, such as during the pre-flight security check, or when waiting in front of the gate before boarding, etcetera. Those instances can make physical distancing quite a challenge. Plus, on a busy day, it can take up to an hour or more to get through them.

Moreover, having lunch at in-terminal restaurants or bars can also be risky. People need to take off their masks to eat and drink, and so the potential for exposure to Covid-19 there is higher for everyone.

So, after everything that has been mentioned, we can fairly state that the risk factor resides in how much time passengers spend at different areas of the airport, the number of people nearby, and mask usage.

Therefore, here are two tips to make things safer:

Avoid crowds

Check how many flights are scheduled at your designated terminal around the same time as your flight. If there are many of them, you can assume you’ll be at the airport at peak hours. In that case, we suggest you get to the airport early, that way you can go through the lines before everyone else arrives.

Avoid crowded restaurants

If you get hungry while waiting, don’t hesitate to go to the airport’s restaurants. But instead of sitting at a table, order a takeaway and have your meal in a quiet area. Airports are big enough.

Final Thoughts

These days, traveling can be safe, as long as you adhere to certain protocols. And as you can already tell, regardless of the situation, wearing a mask and practicing physical distancing is crucial.

Nonetheless, it is always good to add another layer of safety by getting tested before boarding. Visit our international directory and discover Covid testing locations in your area.