On Friday, May 22, I flew from Los Angeles, where I currently live, back home to Charlotte, North Carolina, to be closer to family right now.
Planes have been flying emptier the past few months: U.S. air travel demand is down about 90% from a year ago and 73% of U.S. flights are less than half full, Airlines for America (A4A) estimates. However, my flight happened to be an exception and was nearly full. I was prepared with the basics — I wore a mask for the duration of the journey and packed hand sanitizer — but looking back, I could have done more to feel safer at the airport and on-board the plane.
It's nearly impossible to socially distance if you're traveling by air, so you're better off avoiding flying if possible. But if it's essential you travel, here are four things I wish I'd done differently before heading to the airport:
Here are three things I did ahead of time to prepare for a safe flight that I would recommend:
Flying safely comes down to more than just maintaining your distance from other travelers. You want to limit contact as much as possible by doing things like using a mobile boarding pass, bringing your own food or paying for anything in the airport using a form of contactless payment like Apple Pay, instead of cash or card.
As for the actual flight, it's hard to know whether you'll be flying at half capacity or sitting inches away from other passengers. Prepare for it to be full, expect to have your face covered the whole trip, pack disinfecting wipes and keep your hand sanitizer close.