What to Know About Airline Safety During COVID-19

This past year has brought many challenges to the world including travel. Travelers are hesitant about the safety of air travel but as COVID vaccines are being rolled out, it may be safer to travel than it previously was.

According to the CDC, fully vaccinated people are less likely to receive and also spread COVID-19. Keep reading to learn more about airline safety during the pandemic.

Airline Safety During COVID

Since the pandemic first began, airlines have taken steps to ensure the safety of passengers during flights. Airlines such as United Airlines have implemented procedures to keep passengers safe including:

  • Passengers using mobile devices to check in to flights and download your ticket rather than using physical kiosks
  • Disinfecting high-touch areas like armrests, door handles, and seat belts
  • Using electrostatic spraying to disinfect aircraft between flights
  • Installing sneeze guards at high interaction points

Airplanes use air filtration systems with HEPA filters. These high-efficiency filters remove at least 99.7% of airborne filters. Studies show that air quality in airplane cabins is quite high because the air circulating in the cabin refreshes every two to four minutes.

However, it is still adamant that you wear face masks when traveling during COVID on airplanes since air filtration systems can’t catch every respiratory particle before someone inhales it. Masks contain respiratory droplets, that could be spread if you weren’t wearing a mask, and keep them from being expelled into the air.

This is clear in a case that occurred early in the pandemic. A man with a dry cough was traveling on a plane and later tested positive for COVID. However, since he was wearing his face mask during the flight, he did not spread the illness to anyone else on the plane.

To learn more about the newest advances in airline safety, check out this post.

Traveling After Being Vaccinated

Research from the CDC shows that it is safer for those who have been vaccinated to travel on an airplane during COVID. Fully vaccinated passengers are less likely to get and spread the virus.

If you have been fully vaccinated with an FDA-approved vaccine (Moderna, Pfizer, or Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine), you do not have to get tested before or after travel unless a destination requires it. Also, you do not have to self-quarantine after your flight.

You are fully vaccinated two weeks after a 1-dose vaccine (i.e. Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine) or two weeks after the second dose of a 2-dose vaccine (i.e. Pfizer or Moderna vaccine).

Even if you are fully vaccinated, the CDC still recommends taking precautions when traveling during COVID. You should do the following:

  • Wear a mask over your mouth and nose during travel
  • Avoid crowds and stay at least 6 feet apart from anyone not traveling with you
  • Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol) often

If you have not been fully vaccinated yet, you should do the steps listed above as well as:

  • Get tested with a viral test 1-3 days before your trip
  • Get tested 3-5 days after your trip and self-quarantine for 7 days

If you don’t get tested after traveling, self-quarantine yourself for 10 days and avoid people with severe illnesses for 14 days (whether you get tested or not).

Travel Safe During COVID

By following proper precautions, you can ensure safe traveling for yourself and others. During this time, it is important to be prepared so that you can enjoy your journey and arrive at your destination safely.

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