With the COVID-19 pandemic far from culminating in the short term, with faster vaccination processes (in countries such as the United States, Israel or Chile) and slower (in much of the rest of the planet), arriving at an airport to Taking a flight requires that we continue to respect protocols and recommendations, some determined by the authorities and others that are worth taking as a precaution. Therefore, we review some tips and what to take on the plane to travel in times of coronavirus.

And although traveling is relatively safe, it does not hurt to take extreme measures, have all the documentation in digital version as well as on paper (in the event of any inconvenience, requirement or loss) and coordinate the logistics of our trip with greater precision than usual.

As we already know, the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC), like all airlines, require that passengers and crew wear masks when boarding, disembarking and during the flight, as well as inside air stations. .

A Harvard University report published in October 2020 stated that air travel in times of coronavirus is no riskier than shopping at a supermarket. And researchers from the Chan School of Public Health found “a relatively low risk of acquiring SARS-CoV-2 [COVID-19] while flying, ”thanks to air filtering systems and the requirement that passengers wear masks.

Major airlines equipped their planes with high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters that remove at least 99.97 percent of dust, pollen, mold, bacteria, and airborne particles as small as 0.3 microns. The CDC agrees, noting in its guide to travel during the pandemic that “most viruses and other germs are not easily spread on flights because of the way air circulates and leaks on planes.”

And although the airlines take care of cleaning the plane completely between flights, it does not hurt that passengers bring sanitary towels and alcohol (in the amount allowed by air regulations), and do a review per seat, armrest, headrest, touch screen and the tray where the food is served.

Face shield or glasses

Although all airlines require that you wear a mask or chinstrap throughout the flight, a clear face shield is another sure way to protect yourself. However, sometimes carrying a relatively bulky plastic device may not be comfortable. Therefore, one option is to wear glasses (they can be sunglasses), which provide an additional protective barrier against COVID-19.

Have several masks on hand

As we know both at the airport and on the plane we have to wear a mask or chinstrap, which can be made of cloth or disposable. But the process of the trip will take several hours (from arriving at the air station to arriving at our destination) it is convenient to have several masks and replace them every couple of hours. There are also masks that were designed for exercise and offer a more comfortable breathing option, which is not a bad idea.

Blankets or coats

Once the plane has reached cruising altitude and the cabin pressure is normalized, it is common for us to get cold from the hotel’s refrigeration equipment. This is why it is good to take a personal blanket with you, as several airlines are not offering that option. Or a coat that can be from a jacket to a scarf. Or both.

Glove layers to avoid contact

A good way to protect yourself while going from one stage of the flight to another (airport, checkpoints, migration, plane, disembarkation), is to have layers of disposable gloves. When we pass a point of contact (such as security), we remove one of those layers. Then when we go to the plane we retire another. Obviously, we will not be able to have five or six layers, because it would be really uncomfortable, but having at least three and then repeating the process when disembarking, is an extra measure to get away from the possibility of contagion.

Sanitation and other care

It is essential to have cleaners and sanitizing towels, or alcohol gel is something that we have to carry in our bag, as well as wired headphones (if we want to use the inflight entertainment) and wireless equipment if we carry our own devices such as tablets or computers .

In the airport

The recognized Mayo Clinic of the United States, also gave a series of recommendations to protect yourself and others.

· Keep a distance of 2 meters.
· Limit contact with frequently touched surfaces: handrails, elevator buttons, check-in screens. If these surfaces must be touched, use hand sanitizer or wash after use.
· Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
· Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
· Wash your hands often, especially after using the bathroom, before eating, and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.