Flying during COVID-19: 6 key issues to consider
During the past year, the COVID-19 outbreak has shaken the global economy and left many market segments in ruin or seriously crippled, struggling to stay afloat. Without a doubt, the travel industry was one of the first sectors to be hit with the devastating financial effects of the virus.
Not surprisingly, leisure and business travel suffered sharp declines during the pandemic.
Most people do not think that having a holiday during a global health crisis is a smart idea. Even business travelers have switched their frequent-flying routine with Zoom-based communication or other video-conferencing solutions.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a national and worldwide authority on infectious disease prevention and other public health issues, advises not to travel at this time. The travel restrictions are to keep the public safe and decrease the spread of the coronavirus.
However, circumstances in life force some people to travel, even amid such challenging, chaotic and uncertain times. Urgent family-related situations, critical health treatments, contractual obligations, unexpected emergencies, or other scenarios may push people to fly elsewhere despite the official recommendations and potential associated risks.
So what happens if you find yourself in a situation where you have to catch a plane and travel, either domestically or abroad? Here are a few tips to get your journey started on the right foot.
Are you planning to fly abroad? Make sure to read the destination country’s official government guidelines regarding who can enter and under what conditions.
Pay close attention to critical issues such as pre-arrival COVID-19 testing, vaccination rules, necessary documentation, quarantine requirements, or other travel restrictions and regulations at your target destination.
In addition, save yourself unpleasant surprises, interruptions, and delays by learning the local public-health laws in advance. Make sure to understand how your stay in that foreign country will look like during your visit.
Make sure to travel with all the necessary safety aids that can help you protect yourself from COVID-19. Before traveling, be sure to take precautions and equip yourself with face masks, hand sanitizers, disinfectant wipes, a thermometer, and other essentials.
Airfare is generally lower due to a significant demand reduction. With the decrease in travel demands, many cash-hungry airlines slash fares in the hope of winning more business. The bottom line? As airlines drastically cut prices to fill seats, travelers enjoy a greater ability to find dirt-cheap flights to many domestic and international destinations.
Flight change and cancellation options
Due to the unpredictable nature of the disease and transmission methods, it’s challenging to make medium or long-term plans with any degree of confidence. With this in mind, read the flight change and cancellation policies carefully before booking your tickets to ensure you’re reasonably covered under any eventuality.
Get up-to-date about airport and airline procedures
The coronavirus pandemic has forced airports and airlines to adjust to the new reality.
Before taking a flight, visit the departure and arrival airport websites and the airline’s official website to learn about the recent changes that took place, the most current protocols, and how they affect you during your trip.
Forming a Plan B
Since restrictions and policies may instantly change during your travel, make sure to have a ‘Plan B’ if things go wrong unexpectedly.
Will you have a place to stay if your flight back gets canceled? Will you have enough money to cover all your expenses in case of a sudden travel ban? Will you have a local network of support (like family members or friends) that will be able to help you in time of need?
Act responsibly and make sure to have the right answers to all these critical questions.