Should you fly this summer? Here’s what the experts say

Public health experts trying to keep the country safe are encouraging some return to normal life as businesses reopen. And experts even say it’s safe to go on short overnight vacations. You may be tempted to go farther and hop on a flight back to your office or favorite burger spot, yet with coronavirus, it’s very different these days.

And should you fly? Well, 20% of epidemiologists surveyed by The New York Times say not yet. Other economics experts state how bad the economy, including airlines, are suffering from shutdowns. But what about you?

Experts recommend holding off for a few months if you can. But what if you have a family emergency or have to go somewhere for work? Here are some things to know.

Flights put you within six feet of disease

The main concern with flying is how close of the proximity it is to others from all over the US and world. You’re likely going to be within six feet of another person, possibly one spreading coronavirus with each cough or sneeze.

A recent study from the journal Travel Medicine and Infectious Disease found one person flying from the Central African Republic to France got COVID-19 on the plane. No one in Africa had the disease where the patient was, who was in his 50s, and ended up in ICU. So exercise caution since you’ll be sharing air for a long time with dozens of others.

Put your belongings in a baggy and wipe everything down as you go

TSA might give you a look, but wipe your passport and phone right after going through the scanner. After your flight, get rid of as many items as you can. There’s no need to reuse sandwich bags, so bring a few extra and throw them away after you deplane and take your stuff out.

Stay put in the seat

Doctors always encourage more water and exercise, but on a plane during a pandemic is not one of those times. Don’t unbuckle, constantly snack, or drink enough to have to use the restroom too often. By not interacting you’re more likely to stay safe.

Wear a mask and be prepared to change plans

Wear an N-95 mask if you can. It’s what doctors and nurses use. If the flight you take checks temps, you might be forced to reschedule if it’s above 98 F. But airlines want to help, so they’re offering free rebooking.

Airplanes are dirty, so bring cleaning supplies 

You want to be more cautious on a plane than getting mail or getting groceries. Planes have surfaces that many flyers touch, potentially leaving behind coronavirus. Be sure to wipe those surfaces with sanitized bleach wipes you bring yourself before sitting down. 

You might also bring extra masks and tissues for anyone in need. It will help you and others to be more at ease.

Select a window seat

Having a wall on the side is one side no one is coughing on you. It’s potentially safer and offers a view. Also if you cough you can face the window instead of spreading particles of sickness into the aisle for all to breathe.

If you fly, you put yourself and others at risk of this disease, which could claim 200,000 American lives before years end. But if the risk is worth it, go safely with these tips above.