-By Diana Maiola
In considering topics for my November blog post, it was a toss up between French macaroons and how to stay safe during flying. Hmmm!!??
I think that the sweet macaroons can wait as the flying safety info is indeed important if you are considering air travel anytime soon. First of all, thanks to the additional steps that the airlines have taken to keep passengers and employees safe, air travel definitely has acquired a new persona since the onset of the pandemic. Still, there is plenty that you, the traveler can do to minimize your risk and stay healthy.
Personnel in the airport that you will need to interface with before you board the plane have adopted a very hands-off policy. For example, many airlines ask you to have your ticket/boarding pass already uploaded to your phone or printed before you arrive to the airport. When passing through security you are now asked to hold your ID up for verification rather than handing it to the agent as it was done in the past. Aboard the plane, flight attendants are distantly present and interaction with passengers is extremely minimal. Following are a few tips to keep in mind….
Please Wear a mask or two!
It should be obvious by now that a mask is part of our daily routine. To amuse myself, I have actually taken to coordinating them with my outfit. Looking forward to the day when they are not necessary. However, in the interim, have a couple extras in your carry on just in case the one you are wearing gets compromised. If you are considering to arrive to the airport without a mask, you most likely will not be allowed inside as mask-less passengers will be turned away. It is just not worth taking the chance as you are potentially putting yourself at risk as well as possibly the people around you.
Wipe down your seat
Anymore, in addition to a mask, hand sanitizer has also become a part of our daily reality. Of course, you will find sanitizing stations very available throughout the airport, but it is good to stock up on it anyways before your flight. The CDC recommends using a sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol. Keep in mind that the TSA has made an exception to their traditional 3-ounce rule where hand sanitizer is concerned and you are now allowed to take sanitizer containers as large as 12 ounces with you through security and in flight. This being said, there is no excuse! Go prepared and I like to include the anti-bacterial wipes in my carry on as well. Once on board, dowse the wipes with sanitizer to re-enforce them and use them to wipe down your seat and everything around it that you may touch during your flight. This includes your seat, head rest, arm rests, tray table, air vent knobs, any handles and your seat belt.
Choose a window seat.
Experts believe that your risk of infection while flying is decreased when you are sitting in a window seat. This one is difficult for me because I always request the aisle seat!! However, since people are constantly walking past you in the aisle seat, it has been proven you are more likely to get ill if you sit on the aisle because people are touching surfaces and walking by. So based on this information, the window seat is better.
Open your air vent
Here is some good news…..It is proven that we are much less likely to catch a communicative disease when outdoors thanks to air circulation. The same principle applies to indoor spaces, like airplanes, as well. The average airplane ventilation system brings in fresh air from outside and filters nearly 99.9% microbes out of the air, creating a surprisingly safe breathing situation for passengers!!! Hats off to air circulation!! Remember to sanitize the air vent knob before you open it!
Furthermore, many experts are now attributing the downward flow of the air to low COVID-19 infection rates on airplanes. Apparently, air from the vents in airplane cabins ultimately flows to the ground, which may help to reduce the spread of airborne particles containing the virus. While more research is needed, we do know for sure that more air=less virus particles, so keep those vents open and flowing!!
The Bottom Line
The less you interact with other people on your flight, the better. This includes flight attendants, gate attendants and that cute irresistible baby across the aisle. To avoid frequent interaction and conversation with flight attendants, bring your own snacks, pillows and blankets, and plenty of water.
This is a good idea in order to keep yourself healthy, but depending on the airline you choose, it may also be necessary given how many airlines have reduced in-flight services during the pandemic.
As Always, be Well, stay Safe and keep the Peace,