Tips for Safe Travel During COVID Holidays
For most of us, travel, especially air travel, has been seriously curtailed for the last eight months. In that time, we’ve seen the infection rates rise and fall, now rising again. If you decide that you must take a flight somewhere, here is what you need to know.
Before You Travel
The CDC website offers a number of considerations before you travel. FIrst and foremost, don’t travel if you are sick or if you have been around someone with COVID-19 in the past 14 days. Don’t travel with someone who is sick.
Next, please determine if COVID-19 is spreading at your destination? If so, perhaps delaying travel would be the wisest choice, particularly if you live with someone or if you are visiting someone who is vulnerable.
Then There’s You
Are you at higher risk of infection than most of the population? Once again, you should weigh the need for travel against the risk to your health.
Finally, does your destination have requirements or restrictions for travelers? Some state, local, and territorial governments have requirements, such as requiring people to wear masks and requiring those who recently traveled to stay home for up to 14 days. Be sure to check state, territorial, tribal and local public health websites for information before you travel.
If you are traveling internationally, check the destination’s Office of Foreign Affairs or Ministry of Health or the US Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs, Country Information page for details about entry requirements and restrictions for arriving travelers, such as mandatory testing or quarantine. As with local travel, you want to be compliant before you discover a problem.
Getting to the Plane
Marin Airporter takes your safety very seriously. Check our safety protocols on our blog. We are a great way to get to SFO.
Then, once you leave the Marin Airporter bus, you still have a way to go before you get to the plane. Modern air travel requires spending time in airport terminals with security lines and boarding lounges, which can bring you in close contact with other people and frequently-touched surfaces. These circumstances may put you at greater risk than being on the flight itself.
The precautions you should take are now familiar but are even more critical in an airport environment.
- Wear a mask
Long thought to provide protection for others, recent studies suggest that a mask may protect the wearer more effectively than thought.
- Bring supplies
Pack sanitizing wipes and hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, extra masks, and a sealable plastic bag.
- Avoid touching surfaces
Transmission from surfaces is now known to be unlikely, but better to be cautious, especially at the airport.
- Social distance
Maintain a minimum of six feet when indoors.
- Wash your hands
Do so frequently, for at least 20 seconds.
On the Plane
Many studies have concluded that the flight itself may be the safest part of your journey—safer in some cases than going to the local grocery store or visiting “safe” relatives and friends. Research in multiple studies supports this conclusion.
For example, a recent MIT release said this: “Air volume in the cabin [is] completely refreshed every two to four minutes. Air flows into the cabin vertically — it enters from overhead vents and is sent downward in a circular motion, exiting at floor level. Once air leaves the cabin, about half is dumped outside, and the rest is sent through HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters, similar to those used in hospitals, before being mixed with fresh outside air and entering the cabin again.”
While this doesn’t guarantee your safety, it is comforting to know.
Where to Sit?
While the plane as a whole is a relatively safe space, studies indicate that window seats may be the safest. Why? In that seat, you have another person only on one side of you, not both. If you choose an airline that blocks the middle seat (for domestic travel as of December 1, that will be only Delta) you have as much social distance as you can hope for.
If you make the choice to travel, please know that Marin Airporter is dedicated to making your time with us as safe as possible. And we encourage you to follow published guidelines as they continue to evolve and change.
Together, we’ll get through this!