Flying during a pandemic

Serra+sophomore+Cameron+Clarke+prepares+to+board+airplane+under+COVID-19+protocols.

The Catalyst / Paige Clarke

Serra sophomore Cameron Clarke prepares to board airplane under COVID-19 protocols.

The holiday season upon us once again. In a typical year, this would mean traveling across the country and even internationally to visit family and friends to celebrate the season. But as we all know, 2020 has been far from typical. In the middle of a pandemic, many are wondering — is it safe to fly?

According to a Harvard University study, “Because of the frequent exchange of air and HEPA filters on planes, over 99% of the particles containing the virus are removed from cabin air.” The key to this is continuing to wear masks on the plane at all times. Airlines were very upfront about their protocols for COVID-19 and cleaning, and United Airlines even showed a video on this process following the safety demonstration.

Because of the frequent exchange of air and HEPA filters on planes, over 99% of the particles containing the virus are removed from cabin air”

— Harvard University

When you first arrive at the airport, on the terminal doors signs are posted saying masks are required to be worn at all times, as well as other information on COVID-19 symptoms and preventative measures. While they do not give you a proper COVID-19 screening with a temperature check, it is expected if you feel sick to stay home. While in line for baggage check and security, markers are on the floor to promote social distancing, but the distance seemed to be less than six feet due to the limited space available.

Hand sanitizer is placed throughout the airport, and many restaurants and shops that would have been full are gated off and closed. Some dining and shopping is available. When waiting at the gate for the plane to board, while separate parties kept a distance, it was challenging to keep a proper six-foot distance between everyone as there is limited seating and standing room.

“Traveling was different but the airline took the proper precautions to make sure we all felt safe,” said senior Maddie Perry on her flight experience. “They handed out sanitization wipes and showed us how they clean in between flights which made me feel much better.”

When the plane is ready to board, aside from first-class and a few other special exceptions, the attendant calls the plane to be loaded back-to-front. When you enter the plane, a sanitizing wipe is handed to all passengers, allowing them to disinfect their hands or any spaces on the plane. Each United passenger is also handed a “snack bag” while in the air, containing water, snacks, and another sanitizing wipe. When the seatbelt sign is off, passengers are free to get up out of their seats to use the restroom or any other needs. Similar to the loading process, the plane is loaded front-to-back to prevent contact between passengers at the opposite end of the plane.

Wearing a mask is second nature to me now, but having to sit with a space in between myself and others was interesting”

— Annalee Wolfe

“Flying during COVID was interesting since there are many protocols in place for safety,” said NDB alumni Annalee Wolfe on how she felt while in the air. “Wearing a mask is second nature to me now, but having to sit with a space in between myself and others was interesting.”

So, is it safe? Yes, proper measures are being taken for the safety of the passengers, crew, and airport workers. Still, it is important to remember that there are risks with every action, especially when leaving home during a pandemic, and this risk assessment is up to the individual concern of the passengers.

Do you feel safe flying during COVID-19?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Print Friendly, PDF & Email