Is It Safe to Visit My Family for the Holidays?

The holidays are basically upon us and people want to know if it’s safe to fly. Here’s what we can tell you: the data is promising.

family in airport with masks

CheapAir knows this is a very personal decision, but the experts have some pretty simple tips to help keep you and your family safe this holiday season.

Flying is Safer Than You Think
When Covid-19 arrived, the airline and travel industry were hit hard and had to react quickly. To their credit, they did and we now have policies and procedures in place to keep travelers as safe as possible throughout the air travel journey.

In the airport, the airlines have implemented no-touch or minimal touch check-in procedures to maximize social distancing. In this same vein, boarding is much more efficient – with most airlines having adopted back of the plane to front boarding procedures to keep your interactions to a minimum.

Once on board, the air filtration system on airplanes is state-of-the-art and rivals systems found in hospitals. More on that in a bit. But first, let’s talk about the one thing you can do to keep your risk low when flying.

Mask Up for Maximum Protection
Even with all the new safety and cleanliness protocols in place, perhaps the best protection against Covid-19 in the air is a simple face mask. A recent study of Etihad Airlines, that has very rigid mask protocols, showed the importance of masks.

A review of Etihad flights in June and July of 2020, shows that five flights had seven infected people on board, but on these flights no other passengers were infected.

Even on one 8-hour flight that (incredibly) left Dubai with 27 infected people on board, only two others were infected. There haven’t actually been any super-spreader events since masks became mandatory on board flights. The data doesn’t lie. Masks are keeping people healthy in the air.

Air Filtration + Face Masks = Flying Safe
As we mentioned, airplanes have excellent air filtration systems already in place. When you combine in-flight HEPA (hospital grade) air filtration with uniform mask usage, you greatly reduce the potential for airborne transmission of Covid-19.

Understanding Risk Depends on Geography
There are areas around the country managing Covid-19 better than others. Know the facts on the ground for the destinations you plan to visit, including the associated quarantines for your destination as well as your return home. For instance, some states have instituted 14-day quarantines for arriving travelers.

A complete list of states with quarantines in place can be found on CheapAir.com’s site. Just choose your destination and a travel advisory with the quarantine details will appear.

Look Into Pre-Flight Covid Testing
Fast-result Covid tests for travelers have recently been instituted by some airlines in the U.S., and we imagine more are going to follow in pretty short order. Right now, United, American, Alaska and Hawaiian Airlines offer pre-flight Covid tests in specific markets.

We hope we’ve given you the tools to make a solid decision with the facts on your side. As always, happy travels!

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