How to stay safe while flying amid COVID-19 pandemic
TORONTO -- Many passengers, who recently took flights that landed at Toronto Pearson International Airport, say they felt safe on board their flights and while the flying experience was different, it was not too uncomfortable.
“The air is circulated better in the airplane than it is here on the ground,” Toronto-area resident Sharon Britt said.
Public health officials say it is best to stay home to prevent the spread of COIVD-19, but if a person must fly for work or to see family then there are ways to do it safely.
“I think as long as you wear your mask and be aware of the situation we should be all right," Toronto-area resident John Hill said.
Some passengers said they were more nervous travelling amid the pandemic.
“I'm actually here for work and I didn't really want to fly, but I had no choice because I’m an essential worker,” Maurice Bonnetsnueller said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention maintains that most viruses and germs do not spread easily on flights because of how air circulates and is filtered on airplanes.
However, concerns remain about the lack of social distancing and mask policies onboard airplanes and while airports have intense cleaning programs, people are warned to still be careful.
“Knowing how the airlines operate particularly this year where its been so terrible for them financially, our concern is that they're going to be maximizing profits by parking aircrafts and not using as many crews so flights could be fuller,” said Bill McGee, the aviation advisor with Consumer Reports.
“There are a lot of chokepoints, particularly in smaller and older airports, where social distancing becomes very difficult.”
Some airports are implementing new technologies, like automatic electronic access points to help reduce human contact.
To stay safe before a flight, it is advised people contact their airline about its COVID-19 policies and ask if they have empty middle seats and how strictly it enforces masks.
If people can, they should try to book a flight earlier in the day when planes are cleanest.
“If you're on a 6:30 a.m. flight you're probably going to get on a plane that just received a heavy cleaning,” McGee said.
When booking a ticket, try to get the most flexible option available in case you need to change their flight or have a last minute cancellation.