Coronavirus-related travel restrictions are gradually being lifted by many European countries including Italy from June 3, Iceland from June 15 and Greece from July 1.
However, the decision to lift the restrictions on international flights in Canada will be made when the federal government believes it is safe. Speculations are on the rise that may lead to a re-opening on Canada Day (July 1).
People eager to reunite with their families or get home safely are looking forward to flying. But post-lockdown travel will be a lot different from what we’re used to. To that end, industry-wide guidelines are being drawn up to make sure safety compliances are put in place.
As a responsible citizen, you have to follow the rules to keep health and hygiene issues at bay. Read this post to learn some helpful tips for safer post-lockdown air travel.
Flying in the Post-Lockdown World: Airport Hacks for Safer Travel
While Canadians are looking forward to flying again, always be mindful of the health risks. Here are some airport hacks to travel safer post-lockdown.
1) Take All Safety Precautions
Air travellers are advised to take the same health and safety precautions when travelling as they would in quarantine. Wash your hands (for at least 20 seconds) or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer frequently. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Wear a mask and use a tissue to cover your mouth and nose every single time you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash immediately. Do not use disposable gloves as this is more likely to spread any virus to which they come in contact.
2) Practice Social Distancing
Airports are typically crowded, and after travel restrictions are lifted, many people are going to be ready to fly. This poses a safety hazard if an infected person is asymptomatic. Your best bet is to keep a distance of one to three metres from others, especially is someone appears to be ill.
3) Don’t Share Airport Cabs
Shared cabs are a big no-no for travelling to and from the airport as they increase your chances of coming into close contact with an infected person.
Instead, choose a reputable airport taxi. These luxurious vehicles are disinfected regularly and all safety guidelines are followed. You also won’t have to share your ride with strangers, which reduces your risk of infection. Drivers get regular temperature checks, wear masks and use alcohol-based sanitizers to clean their hands.
4) Arrive at the Airport At Least Three Hours Before Departure Time
This is important for passenger safety as you may have to undergo various health screenings, like temperature checks, going through a special disinfecting chamber and monitoring respiratory rates.
5) Check-In Online and Print Out Your Baggage Tag
A great way to minimize close contact with airport staff is to check-in online and print your own boarding pass and baggage tags. This way you also avoid touching check-in kiosks.
6) Cooperate with Airlines and Flight Crew
It will be a challenge for airlines and flight crews to get accustomed to the ‘new normal’. Cooperate with staff and follow their instructions. For example, board the aircraft and deplane sequentially and don’t crowd the boarding gate.
7) Avoid Touching Airport Terminal Surfaces
Although airport authorities will be disinfecting/sanitizing often-touched areas, it’s advisable to avoid touching handles, sidewalls, doorknobs, railings, overhead bins and other surfaces at the airport and on flights. If you do touch them, sanitize your hands immediately and don’t touch your face.
8) Make Cashless Payments
Apart from being simpler than using cash, cashless payments at the airport reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission through banknotes. to keep both customers and shop staff safe.
9) Carry Your Own Reading Material
It is expected that airlines in Canada will restrict in-flight magazines for hygiene reasons. Instead, carry your own book or tablet to keep yourself entertained in flight. But don’t share them.
10) Carry Alcohol Wipes
Many airlines have announced extra precautions and sanitization practices, but it’s unlikely that all surfaces will be clean at all times. To that end carry alcohol wipes to clean your seat armrest, tray table, seatback pocket and touchscreen, and any other surfaces you’re likely to touch.
Additional Tips to Keep Yourself and Others Safe
- Don’t travel if it’s non-essential. This is not a safe time for vacations.
- Don’t travel if you have a high fever or are showing symptoms of COVID-19 like coughing or difficulty breathing. Seek medical help and self-quarantine for 14 days if advised by your doctor.
- Choose a window seat when checking in. According to one study, window seat passengers have far fewer close encounters than people in other seats. This reduces their likelihood of coming in close contact with an infected person. To read the full article, click here.
The Canadian government has yet to announce the lifting of travel restrictions. But new coronavirus cases have been stabilizing and lockdown restrictions across the country are slowly being lifted. These are reasons to be optimistic. But post-lockdown air travel will come with challenges. That’s why it’s important to be prepared. Hopefully, these airport hacks will help you travel safely.