Travelers have gone back to the skies just months after COVID 19 was declared as a global disaster. The World Health Organization has reported over 110 million confirmed cases of COVID 19 and about 2.5 million deaths globally. How safe will it be to fly at a time when the world is in limbo, and everyone is suspicious about each sneeze and each cough that may come their way?
Many travelers are itching to return to the skies, particularly in the forthcoming spring and summer seasons. Experts suggest that air travel could be a relatively low-risk activity compared to other modes of transport. This narrative explains why you need to keep your worries at bay the next time you want to take a flight trip.
Sure, you may have quite a bit of doubt surrounding air travel and might find yourself asking a few questions.
How safe is flying in this era? Indeed, how secure is it to book a flight in this period considering the infectious nature of COVID-19?
Thankfully, various studies are seeking to demystify answers to this question. One can find significant research that is present on this matter since WHO declared the pandemic. Most of the analyses have presented evidence that there are minimal risks of contracting COVID-19 while using air transport.
What Do Proven Facts Say About How Safe Is It When Flying During Covid 19?
Or, more specifically, what are the figures in the public domain hiding from the general public? Genuinely speaking, there is evidence that air travelers transported the novel coronavirus disease. However, there’s scant or no information to tell us the number of people who contracted the disease while on a plane.
Most of the people who test positive for COVID-19 after air travel were possibly carrying the disease during the flight. This out-rightly reveals that there is a remote connection between air travel and the spread of the disease. Yet still, there’s a greater likelihood that the travelers could have contracted COVID-19 immediately after landing, considering the screenings they must pass before boarding the plane.
Nonetheless, reputable medical institutions like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have presented numerous warnings against air travel, noting that it increases an individual’s chances of contracting the disease. The CDC points out the inability of passengers to maintain social distancing on crowded flights as one of the major risks.
Even still, other scientific studies have presented evidence that there are minimal risks of exposure to coronavirus among commercial flight users provided that they adhered to the recommended health protocols. For instance, a six-month research study or investigation conducted by the U.S Department of Defense in collaboration with United Airlines revealed that passengers had minimal risks of contracting the virus if they put on masks for the entire flight period.
However, the study presented a few exemptions. There was an increased risk of exposure to COVID-19 in specific instances. For example, if a passenger sat on the same row (either behind or in front) with an infected peer. The half-year research failed to consider the dangers associated with waiting for a flight in a congested airport.
Is There a Way to Keep the Virus Away from the Airplane?
Even though researchers have proven that planes could be the safest transportation mode in the COVID-19 era, it will be challenging to keep the virus off flights. Most studies never touch the block of asymptomatic patients who account for the highest number of direct coronavirus infections across the globe.
That reveals that the safety screens initiated by transport and public health authorities, as essential as they may sound, cannot keep track of all people who may be spreading the virus without presenting with the apparent symptoms.
In reality, the dangers presented by asymptomatic patients only reveal that there’s a decent chance that you’ll be traveling with a person infected with the virus if you choose to travel by plane.
Ideal conditions for Safety Assurance in Air Travel
A range of experimental and modeling research studies have shown evidence that air travel could be pretty safe. However, there must be certain protocols in place to lessen the probability of contracting the virus.
Generally, planes have essential built-in safety systems (ventilation and air filtration systems) that prevent the spread of respiratory viruses. Mechanical models have revealed that the filtration systems of a plane can replace internal air at least six times per hour with exchange rates of up to 30 times per hour.
Similarly, an airplane’s airflow mechanism has specific features and designs to prevent respiratory droplets from a passenger’s body from floating in the cabin. Ideally, the air circulates from the head of a passenger and then collects below the feet. This engineering minimizes the horizontal spread of the exhaled air and the chances of spreading COVID-19 on planes.
Actions to Take to keep you safe when flying during COVID-19
The truth is that air travel could become a necessity even in instances where you want to avoid that mode of transportation by all means. Here are a couple of tips that’ll lower your chances of contracting the virus as you embark on the air trip.
Restrict your travel to short distances
There’s a clear link between the time of exposure to the virus and instances when COVID-19 was contracted. 9. A blog written by CNN commentator Erin Bromage showed a direct positive relationship between the time of exposure to the virus and the chances for successful infection. This indicates that short-distance air travel could reduce the risks of contracting COVID-19 compared to extended trips.
But what if the long trip is unavoidable? Experts recommend that you break up your trip. Taking several short hops could come in handy as you’ll have adequate time to get fresh air before taking the next leap. You may also choose to drive a fraction of the journey then fly the rest.
Be Careful as you Travel to the Airport
You may decide to take a taxi to the airport. However, it would be best if you were extra firm in ensuring that everybody in the cab follows mask protocols throughout the journey. Also, be sure to roll down your windows to maintain air circulation.
Modeling studies have shown that rolling your car’s windows down even an inch could be very critical in aiding air circulation and reducing airborne ailments’ transmission. Don’t put a lot of worries into the weather. Ensure that most of the exhaled air moves out as you allow fresh air to come in.
In this case, driving yourself to the airport could be the best remedy. Pay a few dollars for car parking, then fly. Even then, ensure that the windows are down.
Wear a face mask properly for the entire journey
It is best to think about a few critical requirements when wearing a face mask, such as fully covering your nose and mouth. Also, experts would suggest wearing a proper mask to minimize the need for double-masking.
Always adjust your mask if you feel that it is not covering your nose and mouth so you can ensure the best results, lowering your chances of contracting the virus.
Statistics and information from organizations such as the Transportation Security Administration show that more passengers have gained the confidence to travel than the previous year.
The main points are to follow the safety protocols, and you can be among the many travelers who decide to fly to their destinations.