Staying safe on a plane in Covid times

Five ways to reassure yourself about your next trip and keep health and safety front of mind.

IATA recommends staying safe on long-haul flights by keeping masks on.
IATA recommends staying safe on long-haul flights by keeping masks on. Photo Credit: gettyimages/ Chalabala

With borders around the world easing restrictions, the travel market is experiencing a long-awaited resurgence. The threat of Covid-19, however, is still very much present, particularly with the more transmissible Omicron strain. Taking a cautious approach to air travel could pay dividends in the long run.

Travel touch-free

Over the last 18 months, contactless interactions have become the norm, whether shopping for groceries, ordering takeaways, or checking into a hotel, and similar practices are being applied to air travel.

Download the airline app if possible and use other contactless facilities such as bag drops or passport self-scans. You might find yourself with lots of time on your hands so consider downloading digital magazines or newspapers on your device, to avoid touching items that may have been used by many others.

Keep your mask on

In December, White House chief medical adviser Dr Anthony Fauci said he would be comfortable flying with precautions and noted that wearing a face mask would be one of these. It’s a view shared by IATA, (The International Air Transport Association), which recommends masks and advises changing them frequently if on a long-haul flight.

Book a window seat

Window seats are closest to the air vents within the panels of a plane, so there may be fresher air circulating if you sit in this position. Window seats are also furthest from the aisle, so you can ensure you are socially distanced from movement up and down the plane.

Seated and secure

Once onboard, limit your movements as much as possible. On a long-haul flight, be aware of how much movement is going on around you before getting up from your seat and ensure you wear a mask every time you move around. IATA also recommends taking your time when the plane lands, rather than rushing to disembark.

Don’t take existing precautions for granted

The air within a plane’s cabin is filtered to a high standard but that doesn’t mean you should throw all caution to the wind. If one precaution has been taken for you, think about other ones, such as travelling at less busy times so you are more likely to have a free seat next to yours, washing your hands frequently and keeping these away from your face.

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