As news of the novel coronavirus spreads through the world, so does the COVID-19 virus itself. This is having a serious affect on peoples’ travel plans.
Many people who have planned a spring vacation are now worried that their travel might be disrupted. This is due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Some are changing their plans and staying at home, while others want to go ahead with their vacation or business trip. Here are some things to bear in mind about air travel and COVID-19.
On the plane
Everyone now knows about avoiding certain surfaces and washing their hands thoroughly at every opportunity. Warnings also tell us to avoid touching our face – a difficult prospect as we often touch our eyes, nose or mouth without even thinking.
Let’s face it, when traveling by plane you touch many things. At the airport, you may use the self-check-in screen, along with many other travelers. Once on the plane, you are crammed in with a lot of people in a relatively small space. You place your hand luggage in the overhead compartments, along with everyone else, as well as the restroom door and more.
According to a report by the New York Times, using airports and planes is known for what has been dubbed “community transmission” of coronavirus. While this is scary, airports and airlines are making some changes to protect travelers. The World Health Organization is working with local public health officials worldwide to make travel a safe option.
Travel plans canceled or delayed
Regrettably, as the novel coronavirus reaches pandemic status, some travel plans have to be canceled. This is particularly so for anyone visiting China or Italy. The European country has literally shut itself down in an effort to keep their citizens safe. Even mortgage payments are being suspended.
Italy will close all restaurants, bars and shops across the country in an effort to curb the spread of coronavirus, the country's prime minister says. Supermarkets and pharmacies will stay open. https://t.co/1bd2i4gdls pic.twitter.com/aWIcP7L5OP
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) March 11, 2020
Besides flights being canceled, due to the chaos at airports caused by COVID-19, flights are often delayed. This is not only inconvenient, but it also means travelers are stuck in a closed environment at the airport for longer than intended. Luckily, if your flight is delayed, you can claim flight delay compensation, which at least helps financially.
What to expect from airports and planes
While coronavirus is causing cancellations and delays, it is still possible to travel. You will just have to get used to various changes in both the airports and the planes themselves. Read on for what you can expect:
Cleaning and more cleaning
While hopefully airports and planes are kept clean on a normal basis, travelers will see a lot more cleaning going on. This is due to the number of surfaces you have to touch in the airport, before even getting on the plane.
Airports worldwide are jacking up their cleaning processes by disinfecting the most-touched areas. These include elevator buttons, handrails, counter tops, door handles, food court areas and more.
Posters are being printed outlining steps the public can take to avoid the novel coronavirus and bugs in general.
As the public panics and overstocks, many countries are reporting a shortage of hand sanitizer. Don’t worry, as airports will be making hand sanitizer readily available at the airline ticket counters, boarding gates, lounges and baggage claim areas.
Changes to self-checking
As using the self-check-in process involves touching screens several times, your airline is likely to remind you that you can check in using your phone. You can then show your phone at the boarding gate.
On the plane
Once you board the plane, you will notice flight attendants are wearing gloves in an effort to stop the spread of the virus. When served drinks, you will get a new glass each time to minimize the chance of the virus spreading. Some airlines are encouraging their passengers to fill water bottles prior to getting on board, so you won’t need a glass at all.
While many love the warm towel service when traveling first class, this service will be suspended for the time being. Airlines are encouraging their passengers to carry disinfectant wipes. These will be used to wipe down tray tables and armrests on a regular basis.
Travel safe during the COVID-19 crisis. Remember all the main preventative measures. Wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds each time. Avoid touching your face when away from your home. Keep at least six feet away from anyone that appears ill. Keep well everyone!