How Safe Is Air Travel During COVID-19?

COVID-19 is 3.5 times more lethal than the flu. Not only that, but it’s much more contagious; this is especially true for the new variants.

Given that, it’s not surprising to know that there are many CDC air travel restrictions in place. That’s not to say that you can’t travel, though. You still can—there are just requirements that you have to meet.

Are you traveling soon? Finding yourself asking the question, “how safe is air travel”? If so, you’re at the right place.

We’ll be going over everything that you need to know about air travel safety below. Keep reading to learn more!

1. Masks Are Mandatory 

All air passengers must wear a face mask—not just on the plane, but at the airport as well. This will significantly reduce transmission on the plane, assuming that an individual is positive.

The only exception is for children under the age of two. Those who provide a physician’s exception may be able to fly without a mask as well, though it’s getting harder and harder.

Take Delta Air Lines, for example, they’ve stated that passengers with medical exceptions must complete a virtual consultation with a medical professional before flying.

2. Do Things to Reduce Your Risk

There are steps that you can take to reduce your risk. For starters, you want to try and keep your distance from others during the flight. If you have the option of taking a less full flight, take it. That’ll give you more room for social distancing.

If you can, wear an N95 face mask or equivalent—that’ll give you better protection than a standard mask. Another option is to double up. CDC research has shown that using two masks blocks more viral particles than using just one.

And remember, the shorter the flight, the shorter you’ll potentially be exposed. Given that, you may want to drive part of the way to reduce the length of your air travel (these tips may help as well).

3. A COVID-19 Test May Be Necessary

A negative COVID-19 test may be necessary prior to flying. If anything, it’ll make things safer for both you and other travelers. Depending on where you are, you may also be able to do at-home testing.

Certain airlines have also partnered up with testing providers to provide in-person and drive-through options. Take American Airlines, for example, they offer both at-home and in-person testing for passengers.

While testing is generally not required for domestic flights, it’s highly recommended that you get tested if you’re unvaccinated, ideally 2-3 days before flying.

How Safe Is Air Travel During the Pandemic?

How safe is air travel? It depends on several factors, such as mask usage and the number of people on your flight. One thing’s for sure, though—there are things that you can do to lower your risk, such as keeping your distance from others and wearing an N95.

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