Tags: Coronavirus | Coronavirus Special | Travel | flying safety

Is it Safe to Fly? Experts Argue Pros and Cons

an airline staff member disinfects an empty airplane

By    |   Thursday, 25 June 2020 02:19 PM

Experts say things are looking up for airline travel as we head for summer vacation during the coronavirus pandemic.

As more Americans feel the need to see loved ones, or simply take a break from lockdown, passenger numbers are rising for airlines. But even with travel restrictions lifted in many areas, there are definitely pros and cons to consider before hitting the once-friendly skies.

According to Travel + Leisure, the cleaning procedures aboard airplanes has been amped to include disinfecting planes between flights while some airlines have installed HEPA filters to completely refresh the air onboard and filter out 99% of airborne pathogens.

United, Jet Blue, Delta and Southwest use electrostatic antimicrobial sprays to sanitize every cabin surface. While many airlines provide disinfectant wipes and had sanitizers, experts told Travel + Leisure it’s wise to bring your own.

Longer flights are riskier, Dr. Winfried Just, a researcher in mathematical epidemiology and professor at Ohio State University, told Travel + Leisure. Longer flights have more margins for error such as people using the bathrooms more frequently or removing their masks during the flight. She added that “safe is never 100% safe” when it comes to flying during the pandemic, so even short hauls can be hazardous if a person near you has COVID-19.

One of the easiest ways to mitigate your risk when flying is to wear a face covering and many airlines are making it mandatory to comply. Some also are purposely leaving middle seats empty to help create some distance between passengers. And experts said that flying first class, where there is more overall space, may be an option to consider.

According to Today, even infectious disease experts are mixed in their opinion of the safety of air travel during the pandemic. A recent survey revealed that out of 511 epidemiologists polled, 20% said they would travel by plane this summer, 44% would do so in three months to a year, and 37% would fly in over a year. Less than 1% said they would never fly again.

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Experts say things are looking up for airline travel as we head for summer vacation during the coronavirus pandemic.
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Thursday, 25 June 2020 02:19 PM
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