With states re-opening and more COVID-19 testing sites available, air travel is slowly picking up speed. Ready to reach for the friendly skies? Be prepared for a far different experience than it was before the coronavirus.
If you’re used to summoning an Uber or Lyft, grabbing a quick coffee or meal-to-go and then choosing a favorite magazine to help you relax on your flight, these tips will help you to understand how to navigate air travel today.
Before You Go
Prepare for your trip by checking out the cases in your destination and by purchasing a few essentials like hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol) and cloth face coverings (or disposable face masks).
You’ll also want to download the app of the airline(s) that you are flying. Many are using their apps for touchless boarding, a great way to minimize the amount of times you have to exchange papers or to touch public screens.
Keep in mind that many airport concessions are closed, and several airlines are not offering food-for-purchase. Remember to pack healthy snacks and meals for your flights along with any entertainment that you will enjoy keeping you relaxed.
Getting to the Airport
Your best bet is to leave more than enough time for the extra steps to prioritize you and other’s health. If you can, its recommended to get a ride from someone that you have been living with during stay-at-home orders. If that’s not possible, popular ride share services like Uber and Lyft are operating and both require drivers and passengers to wear facial coverings.
Before you exit your ride, it’s courteous to wipe down your seat and door handles, most cars will be equipped with cleaning supplies.
Finally, be sure to check the airport’s drop-off, pick-up and parking procedures since many are newly designed to help keep people moving. Some airports have even closed long-term parking lots.
At the Airport
Here is where all that preparation pays off. Since you already have the airline’s app on your phone, hand sanitizer, facial coverings, snacks and entertainment in your bag, you’re ready to get in line at T.S.A.
Even though crowds are thin, keep your distance from other passengers and be ready to scan your own ticket from the app (or a printed ticket). T.S.A. suggests that you put your food in plastic bags that you place directly in bins to prevent agents from opening your bags.
When you arrive to your gate, take a few minutes to understand what the boarding process will look like. Some airlines are boarding in groups of ten to keep congestion light.
On the Plane
You made it. Before you kick off your shoes and crack open your book, you might choose to wipe down your seat. Although most airlines have dramatically stepped up their cleaning protocols, it can’t hurt. An easy way to learn exactly what each airline is doing to increase safety is to review their website.
Whether or not you have a seat mate (most airlines are operating at reduced capacity), you will need to keep your mask on during the flight, unless you are eating or drinking.
Once You Have Landed
Some health departments may require you to quarantine for 14-days after you land. Don’t worry, you will be informed of this stipulation when purchasing your airline ticket.
Had to cancel your travels this year? Consider making this year’s family vacation a virtual trip!