As states continue to slowly reopen, some brave passengers consider flying during the coronavirus. Airlines and airports both are taking extra precautions and cleaning with vigor. But is it really safe to fly right now? And what should you expect if you do decide to hop on-board?
The federal government currently allows interstate flights. But with no solid regulations about flight capacity, flying experiences currently vary by a pretty wide margin. Some passengers report comfortable trips. They are pleased to find airports are not nearly as crowded as they remember. Their flights are not full and everyone wears their mask. But still other trips have involved crowding to board and deboard or flights in which every seat is packed full.
So if you have to travel, what should you be prepared for?
New Procedures While Flying During Coronavirus
Some of the routine of flying remains the same. Other aspects have changed. Read on to feel fully informed and prepared before you embark on your journey.
You May Have to Check Your Own Bags
Plenty of passengers prefer to check their bags outside of the airport. But currently, Skycap services are hit or miss. So you may need to drag those bags inside and take care of checking them at a kiosk or the ticketing counter.
Airport Eateries May Remain Closed
Hungry? You’ll want to eat before you arrive and pack some snacks besides. You’re facing a gamble as to how much of the airport is open. We suggest checking online to see if the airport has listed what businesses are still running. Many newspaper stands continue to operate and sell snacks but lines are long since passengers lack other options. And–bad news: you won’t be fed much on the plane either.
In-Flight Services Are Limited
You won’t find any relief onboard, either. Airlines such as Southwest have switched to providing water and snacks. You can, of course, bring your own food on the plane. But you won’t be able to sit back and sip any cocktails. So if that’s part of your plan, scout any open bars at the airport beforehand and do your drinking there.
Not Everyone Respects Social Distancing and Not Everyone Wears a Mask
By nature, navigating an airport requires some close encounters. Even without the usual crowds, passengers are facing difficulty in social distancing. Some people simply don’t seem to pay attention or care. But even for those who are attentive, lining up to board and deboard becomes a cramped situation. Some airlines are enforcing rules about masks but not all will remove passengers that refuse. Be prepared to see people around you with and without their faces covered.
You’ll Need to Fill Out the Forms at Check-In
Like many aspects of this pandemic, authorities are handling this procedure via the honor system. At check-in, travelers of several airlines may have to fill out an additional health form. On it, they will agree to wear their mask while traveling and promise they have not shown symptoms of or knowingly come into contact with anyone with COVID-19 up to 14 days before flying. Frontier screens their passengers but other airlines are asking TSA to handle temperature checks.
Is it Safe?
So is it safe to be flying during the coronavirus? The short answer is no one knows. And it’s frustrating; we get it. It seems there are new unknowns to cope with each and every day. If you absolutely have to travel, be prepared and alert. If you don’t have to fly? Consider whether it’s worth the risk to you.