Flying during a global pandemic – is it possible?

If you´ve over the age of 6, you´ll need a face mask from just before you enter an airport, on the flight and (my suggestion) all the way to your final destination

The times we live in are surreal – for all of us. In a world in which mobility became something we took for granted, the fact that we are, by all accounts, severely limited when it comes to our travel plans, is something that takes some getting used to.

Anyhow, after the first major wave of global infections had been somewhat curtailed via detailed lockdowns, it is now possible to fly again, albeit with carriers operating routes at a fraction of their normal capacity and with a raft of health restrictions in place to ensure the safety of all travellers and curb the spread of COVID-19 as far as possible.

My little family flew just over a week ago – a short domestic flight from Aalborg to Copenhagen as we returned from our surf holiday in Jutland and I´d like to share some of the experiences of doing so, for anyone wondering if it´s safe to fly currently.

This is a flight we´ve taken numerous times but this experience was unique in every sense. Here are some of the answers to questions a lot of people may be asking themselves right now.

  • Where can I fly to?

The answer to this question changes every day. However, KAYAK have made a useful page on which you can keep track of travel restrictions per country – with a regularly updated map that shows whether a country´s borders are completely closed, partially open, set to re-open soon or completely closed.

KAYAK`s Travel Restrictions overview at the time this article was published

Similarly, in the interest of keeping you informed, momondo has made this hub with all the info you need about COVID-19 and flying at the moment.

  • Is it safe to fly?

The short answer is yes – if you wear a mask at all times from just before you enter the airport to when you reach your final destination – i.e. in our case, our home in Copenhagen. This includes wearing the mask on public transportation – not yet a requirement in Denmark, but honestly, it should be common sense in the middle of a pandemic by now to wear a mask at all times in public transport – peak and off-peak.

At the airport – you need a mask and won´t be allowed past airport security without one (we saw a chap with a makeshift scarf who was instructed to buy a mask before proceeding.) Don´t be that guy!

This said, how safe it is to fly also depends where you´re going. In our case, a short internal flight in a country that at the time of writing has its COVID-19 outbreak under control, is low-risk, you could argue.

  • What sort of mask should I get?

I recommend a standard medical mask (see below) as they don´t slip off your nose that easily (compared to synthetic masks, for example.) You need to change your mask every 2-3 hours (as soon as you can feel it getting moist,) otherwise it´s not effective. Synthetic masks last longer but my personal opinion is that they don´t protect as well.

Standard medical face masks will do just fine. Synthetic ones may suffice but though they look better, my inclination is that they aren´t as effective
  • Does my child need a face mask?

Children under the age of 6 are not required to wear a face mask

Our lil man and his bear, Nibe, didn´t need masks on our flight 🙂
  • Can I take my mask off to eat?

Obviously, yes. Try to distance yourself from others when doing so, however.

  • What else can I do to fly safely ?

Sanitize your hands as often as possible and keep your distance. Our flight was more filled than I expected it to be but people were good at staying apart, with the exception of a select few who decided to block the aisle once the plane came to a standstill and they felt the urge to clamber out (some things will never change.)

  • I forgot to buy a mask before arriving at the airport – can I still make my flight?

Depending on the airport, you will probably be able to purchase masks either in one of the terminal buildings or just before the security check. Come prepared though so you don´t make a fool of yourself, or worse, contract COVID-19. It goes without saying – if you have a fever or other COVID-19 symptoms, it´s probably best to stay home or at the very least, get tested.

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