6 Truths About Flying During a Pandemic

Covid-19 has single-handedly slashed the travel industry into half and make travelling a thing of the past for many, but as dangerous as it may seem to be in a sealed in an air-craft in the air with several others, air-travel may be safer than most people think even during a pandemic.

Since travel increases a person’s chance of contracting Covid-19, health ministries around the world have warned against travelling during the holidays. However, there are always those who choose to travel and there are ways to make the journey that much safer.

According to the American Medical Association, there are six things travelers should be thinking about when flying.

1) Travelling isn’t just about flying

As the end of the year approaches, daily new cases are still on the rise while travelling options are getting lesser. Look up the whole trip as to where you’ll be walking to, catching a train or bus, navigating the station or airport to actually being in the plane flying itself. If you think that the only place that you are at risk of contracting the virus is on an airplane, think again.

2) Risk of getting infected while flying is low

Passengers wear masks on a Myanmar National airlines flight out of Yangon. Many airlines now require passengers to don masks.

When compared to an office building, classroom, supermarket or commuter train, an airplane isn’t the most likely setting where you would contract the virus. According to researchers and flight surgeons, Daniel Shoor MD, MPH and Hernando Ortega MD, MPH, “The odds of being on a plane with a person with actively transmissible COVID—both positive and in the window where they are significantly shedding as identified by the research—are quite low,”

“To match that, discussions have set forth a pattern of communication to express and share those similarities and differences as each flight has a takeoff and a landing location with different authorities,” they said.

“As this progresses, we will see areas ramp up and others go away, so you have to reevaluate the way you think about how you travel,” said Dr. Shoor.

3) Airplanes have proper airflow

Contrary to popular belief that everyone in an airplane is breathing the same air, “air enters the cabin from overhead inlets and flows downwards towards floor-level outlets,” said Dr. Rui Pombal, MD, medical director of the Aviation Medicine Centre and Travel Clinic. “Air enters and leaves the cabin at approximately the same seat row or immediately adjacent rows.” On top of that, a plane’s ventilation system takes six minutes to reduces the number of viral particulates in the air by 99.9%.

4) Airlines and airports are prepared

In addition to the proper airflow as mentioned above, international, regional, national and regional organizations are always on the run to improve what they can prepare prior to public health events; all these includes, travel bans, passenger screening, quarantine, testing social distancing, sanitizing, flight processes and other engineering actions.

5) Less leaving, less risk

Sitting down “reduces the chances of random physical contact and disturbs less the cabin ventilation pattern that tends to prevent air from flowing lengthwise along the cabin,” said Dr. Pombal. “It may also optimize the use of the seatback in front as a barrier.”

6) You still need that mask

Masks work the same way they do on the ground and above, check your airline requirements and if they provide you with masks or if you should bring your own; you could also consider bringing more than one depending on your flights duration and how frequent you plan on changing your mask.

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