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How to Stay Safe When Flying During the Coronavirus Pandemic

In this recent article by USA Today, experts say flying is safer than it was earlier in the COVID-19 pandemic because of airlines’ changes, but travelers can take precautions, too.

Here are a few tips from the article and from us on what you can do to fly safely:

Parking and shuttle

If you are driving to and parking at the airport, make sure the lot you use is practicing COVID-19 precautions. At Park&Zoom, along with other precautions, we implement social distancing on the shuttle bus, disinfecting the shuttle interiors and the external handles after EVERY trip, down to the seat belts, buckles, and seats, and regularly disinfect the ticket booths and checkout station. Learn more about the COVID-19 precautions being used at Park&Zoom.

Face masks are required

Bring a face mask or face covering and wear it on your Park&Zoom shuttle, at the airport, and on the plane. Austin Bergstrom International Airport and all major U.S. airlines require passengers to wear them. Some airlines, including United, American and Delta, said they will ban passengers who refuse to wear them.

Bring hand sanitizer

Bring your own hand sanitizer and use it regularly. The TSA relaxed its liquid rule for hand sanitizers and allows travelers to bring a hand sanitizer container as big as 12 ounces instead of the usual 3.4-ounce limit in their carry-on bag.

Use touchless check-in options

Use your smartphone to check in to your flight on your airline’s mobile app in advance, and save your boarding pass straight to your phone. You can also check in via the airline’s website and print your boarding pass. Either way, you’ll be able to avoid waiting in line to use the check-in kiosks at the airport.

Bag Check

If you have bags to check, consider using the skycap outside to avoid lines (if they’re open at your airport).

Don’t use the bins at TSA checkpoints

The Transportation Security Administration recommends travelers put all personal items such as cellphones, keys, lip balm, and tissues in their carry-on bags instead of in a bin to avoid cross-contamination.

Disinfect your airplane seat

Although airlines are deep cleaning plane interiors more frequently, you can never know if your seat area was disinfected immediately prior to your flight. To avoid catching other people’s germs on your next flight, pack your own wet wipes. Clean all hard and non-porous surfaces in your seat area, including seat back, arm rests, tray table, and belt buckles.

Bring your own food and drinks

Bring your own food from home and an empty water bottle to fill once you clear security, to avoid touching plane snacks and drinks.

Consider connecting flights

Taking two or three shorter flights, rather than one long one, will limit your time in the vicinity of a possibly infected person. Also, you’re less likely to need to use the bathroom on the plane on several shorter flights, which would reduce the amount of time spent in the aisle.

Window or aisle seat?

Sit by the window. Selecting the window seat reduces the number of people sitting around you, and you’re farther from people who may walk by in the aisle.

Open the air vent

Most airborne viruses and other germs do not spread easily on flights because of how airplanes circulate and filter air. Most planes have filters that remove 99.9% of particles from the air while bringing in outside air. So keep the air vents above your seat open to improve ventilation.

So, pack your mask, snacks, wipes, and hand sanitizer, make your parking and plane reservations, and have a great trip!