The pandemic outbreak of COVID–19 has necessitated a change in the way we do most things, right from socializing to traveling. Our battle with Coronavirus has now transitioned from ‘restrictions’ to ‘relaxations.’ Even as the number of positive cases is increasing at an alarming rate in many countries, the Governments have lifted the ban on several industries, including travel and tourism, and now these businesses have resumed operations. Whilst everything seems close to normality, it cannot be ignored that the threat of contracting coronavirus is higher now than it was before. So, we have come up with certain important tips to stay safe while traveling during Covid-19.
Follow Airlines’ Mask Policy from Departure to Arrival:
We all know that the use of face masks is one of the effective ways to protect ourselves from catching the virus from both symptomatic and asymptomatic people. Travelers must especially be careful regarding the type of masks they use since most airlines have now toughened their mask policies. Non-compliance with these policies might also result in your travel suspension. While American Airlines requires all customers above 2 years of age to wear masks on board and at airports, one of the guidelines of British Airways says that passengers must change masks every four hours. United Airlines and Delta Airlines have recently banned masks with built-in exhaust valves.
Apart from encountering infected people, one more grave concern while traveling during COVID is the risk of infection when coming in contact with the contaminated surfaces. Right from airport check-in at the departure point to checking out of the destination airport, we will be touching many surfaces that could be contaminated with coronavirus. Hand hygiene plays a major role here. Either use gloves (and discard them with care in a closed bin) or sanitize your hands every time you touch something to stay safe during Covid-19. Passengers are allowed to carry hand sanitizers up to 350 ml in hand baggage, according to the instructions of the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security. Automatic hand sanitizer machines are also installed at different points in airports.
Wipe down the surfaces before up touch them:
Although airlines are very cautious about the cleaning and sanitation of plane cabins, it is always safe to do our bit. Use disinfectant wipes/ sprays to clean areas like the armrest, headrest and back pocket of seats, tray table, air vent, etc. and stay safe while traveling during Corona. Note that the virus survives on the surfaces for a long time and easily gets transmitted to anyone who touches these surfaces and touches their face/nose/mouth/eyes in turn. Also, carry a separate zip lock bag for the purpose of discarding these used wipes.
Be mindful of social distancing and minimize Human Contact:
Maintaining a distance of 6-feet from others is hardly possible when traveling. More often than not, we find ourselves in close proximity to people at check-in areas, immigration and baggage counters, waiting halls, and during boarding. The least we can do is try to stay away from crowds, follow the safety guidelines displayed on placards at different spots in the airport, and co-operate for smooth processing of airport formalities. Rely on technology wherever possible like getting an e-boarding pass, making e-payments, etc. Popular airlines like Delta Airlines, JetBlue, Alaska Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines are implementing the best social distancing practices by limiting the cabin capacity and blocking off adjacent seats while accepting reservations.
Procrastinate travel if you are unwell:
The basic and important rule to stay safe during Covid-19 is to avoid traveling even at the slightest hint of any health issue. As per the advice of medical professionals, people who have recovered from flu, fever, or cold must not travel during the immediate period of 24-48 hours after recovery. This saves you from becoming susceptible to the virus infection.