Flying during COVID? Or flying this holiday season? Maybe you haven’t been to an airport since March and that has you feeling a little bit anxious if so I’m here to help! I’m also not here to judge if you’re flying because I’ve flown since March.
I used to remember the days where I’d call an Uber or hitch a ride with a friend and be able to predict exactly how my time at the airport would be. But what now? If you’ve decided and made the decision that you’re comfortable flying, here are some helpful tips on what you need to know before heading to the airport.
Stay up to date on current restrictions
And this goes for both your home location and your destination. I can’t stress this enough because, at this point, you’re probably used to checking up on the latest news at home, but might not think about where you’re going. Although we’ve been long warned about this winter wave, it doesn’t mean anything about it is predictable. Maybe you’ll need to provide a negative COVID test, or even quarantine before/after. The last thing you want when you arrive is to have a surprise thrown at you.
Book a flight during non-peak times
The day right before a holiday, probably not a great time to travel if you’re trying to avoid crowds. Along with Friday or Sunday afternoon/evening. Random weekdays and early mornings tend to be the quietest around airports.
Take Advantage of airlines blocking off middle seats
I’ve flown Alaska and American during this pandemic and while I understand every company is trying to save some cash, why not take advantage of not having to sit next to someone. Currently Southwest, Alaska, and Delta have allocated this policy. Although Alaska’s ended Dec. 1st, the rumor is they still aren’t filling their planes, and they are still boarding with everyone sitting in the waiting area and they call you up row by row. American on the other hand was a completely full flight with no order into boarding.
For more information, check out Fodors and NerdWallet, but know that these can change. If you want the most up-to-date and current information, I’d recommend calling the airline directly.
How are you getting to the airport?
The majority of us, pre-covid just called an Uber/Lyft to get to the airport, now the thought of sitting in a car with a stranger in a covid world seems a little nerve racking. You don’t know who was sitting in the seat before you, or if the driver is cleaning the car at all. Obviously, the easiest way to take all the precautions would be to drive yourself or hitch a ride with a friend.
Limit time spent at the airport
I know I’m not the only one who rushes through security to have a bloody mary or a glass of wine before their flight. Experts are saying don’t do that (plus every time I’ve flown since the start of COVID literally nothing has been open in the airport). They say to get there with enough time to wait out any crowds that form and to get through TSA but nothing more. Have everything ready you need at the gate to limit the time spent near people who are working. And when you make it to your gate, if there’s a line or crowd, hangout for a few before getting on.
Quarantine, test, quarantine again
Here’s the deal, I know it seems excessive, but the rule of thumb is to quarantine, test, and quarantine again. Why? Because if you’re exposed and then get tested the next day, you’ll most likely show up as negative. That’s why you’re supposed to quarantine before the test until it comes back negative.
Bring all the sanitization
Yes, this means wipes and hand sanitizer. Some airlines do give it out to passengers as they board, but in this case, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Wear a mask
And keep it on your whole flight. Experts say, if everyone wears a mask there is a decreased risk of COVID spreading. Most airlines are only offering water, if that, to decrease the amount of time you are without your mask.
Test again when you get back
Just because you made it safely to your destination doesn’t mean everything goes out the window. When you get home, lay low for a week or so (14 days), and then get tested again to make sure you weren’t exposed while traveling.
Try to combine all holiday travel into one
If you’re working from home then chances are your schedule is a little more flexible than normal. Maybe you can work from your family/friend’s home for a few weeks to beat the holiday rush?
I’m no expert
With all this being said, I’m obviously no expert, nor do I claim to be. And I will throw it in writing that the CDC has recommended against holiday travel this year. We are supposed to have a small, socially-distanced Christmas, or only gather with people we already live with, if at all. I know that’s not feasible for all, which is why I put together these tips on how to stay safe while traveling this holiday season (or any time) during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Everyone is comfortable with their own decisions and people should let them make that decision for themselves. If your decision includes flying I hope these tips give you more comfortable and a road map on how to.
~ XOXO, the safely traveling, Amanda // Blonde out of Water