Flying during a global pandemic is anything but easy. Hopping on a plane and going on holiday looks and feels quite different than it did at the beginning of 2020. Although airlines are taking all sorts of precautionary measures and trying to do their best to prevent the spread of COVID-19, flying can still be a risky business.
You spend a lot of time in airport terminals, touch all sorts of popular touch points and come in close contact with other people, increasing your risk of exposure to infection. According to the CDC, “staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19”. But if you really need to travel by plane, for whatever reason, avoid making these 6 terrible mistakes!
Being the first on the plane
Being among the first people boarding the plane feels like a privilege of some sort; or at least it used to be before the coronavirus changed everything, including the way we feel about flying. Nowadays, if you want to be safe, it’s better to be among the last passengers boarding a plane instead of the first ones.
“Try to board the plane last, after the line has thinned, so you’re not stuck waiting in a tight space with lots of other people as they board,” said Jonathan Fielding, professor of public health and pediatrics at University of California, Los Angeles, and chair of the U.S. Task Force on Community Preventive Services.
To make sure passengers comply with social distancing rules, Delta Airlines has started boarding flights from back to front and passengers are required to wait at the gate until their row is called.
Booking an aisle seat
Social distancing in a huge airport is a little bit easier to maintain, but how should you stay six feet apart in a small cabin? Well, for starters, booking an aisle seat is not the way to do it because the aisle is frequently transited by other passengers and flight attendants.
If you do have to fly somewhere, instead of an aisle seat, opt for a window seat which allows you to have more personal space and maintain a safer distance from other row passengers. This is especially possible after many airline companies such as Delta, American, United, Southwest, and Qantas, have decided to leave the middle seats empty.
With no middle seat available anymore, here are other Things You’ll No Longer See in Airplanes After Coronavirus.
Eating at the airport
Eating at the airport, while waiting to board your flight, used to be fun, emphasis on used to. Now, grabbing a quick bite in the airport’s food court is not exactly a wise choice. According to numerous health experts, the food area in airports is one of the places where germs, viruses and bacteria lurk the most. This creates more opportunities for viruses such as coronavirus to travel from one host to another easier.
The safest thing to do when traveling by plane is to prepare and pack your own meal or simply eat at home if you have the time. Read also 20 Smart Ways to Avoid Getting Sick While Traveling.
Using a kiosk
If there’s one thing we’ve learned amid the coronavirus, is that we should just keep our hands to ourselves. Stop touching all sorts of high-touch surfaces like airport kiosks and then our faces, for one! That’s because screens at self-service check-in kiosks are touched by countless people throughout the day, including people that might be infected with the novel coronavirus but asymptomatic.
“Our studies have found that viruses can spread very rapidly via the hands because of the large number of surfaces that you touch,” Charles Gerba, a microbiologist and professor at the University of Arizona. To prevent the spread of the virus, or catching it, check in online, reduce contact with ticket counter employees to a minimum and avoid using touch points such as kiosk screens.
Using a paper ticket
The coronavirus is less stable on cloth, paper and cardboard, but it’s still not a smart move to print your tickets. Especially if we were to believe a study published by The Lancet, which suggests that the coronavirus can survive on paper for up to four days!
To avoid any reasons for concern, scan the mobile ticket on your phone. This way, you can just show your ticket to the gate attendant without him touching it. Speaking of touching, You’ll NEVER Want to Touch These 7 Things Again After COVID-19.
Not sanitizing your seat
Long before the arrival of the infamous coronavirus, some people used to think others are overreacting by wiping down the tray tables and armrests on the plane. Well, who’s laughing now? Not only it isn’t funny but it has become essential that we sanitize our seats and other items we use on the plane, especially if you’re not on the first flight and other people have been sitting in that seat just minutes before.
Airlines announced they have been enhancing cleaning procedures and flight attendants will hand out additional wipes to passengers on board. “This move, which will touch the majority of our aircraft each day, includes a more thorough cleaning of all hard surfaces, including tray tables and armrests,” the American Airline said in a statement.
“I advise people to bring their own germicidal wipes to rub down the high touch surfaces, the armrest, meal tray and the button that makes your seat go back,” said Paul Pottinger, infectious disease specialist at UW Medicine. “It’s also mighty neighborly to offer one of those wipes to the person you’re sitting next to.” See also 19 Things You Shouldn’t Say to Flight Attendants.