People wearing face masks, as a protection from coronavirus disease take a selfie with a plane that is about to land at Songshan Airport in Taipei, Taiwan. Picture: REUTERS/Ann Wang.
People wearing face masks, as a protection from coronavirus disease take a selfie with a plane that is about to land at Songshan Airport in Taipei, Taiwan. Picture: REUTERS/Ann Wang.

Flying soon? Why you should keep that mask glued to your face and other tidbits airlines won't reveal

By Travel Reporter Time of article published Oct 30, 2020

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Many travellers have qualms about travelling during the pandemic, and who can blame them? With the rise of Covid cases, many are still cautious about flying.

CEO of Biodx, Burt Rodrigues, shares his insight on what should be done when travelling or flying during the pandemic.

"If you check out any airlines’ publicity right now, you’d almost feel as though they wrap you in a magic Covid-19 free bubble from the minute you board your flight to the moment you leave. But, is this true?" he asks.

"To a certain degree, it is. According to the CDC, ‘Most viruses and other germs don’t spread easily on flights because of how air circulates and is filtered on airplanes.’ While you may have an image of empty seats allowing for the correct social distancing, it is not always true. Virtually every flight in SA right now is flying at full seating capacity, given the facts that the airlines are trying to catch up on lost revenue and there are a lot fewer airlines operating," he shares.

Rodrigues says that travellers need to remain cautious at all times.

“The CDC is correct in their comments on air circulation and filtering. The filters used by airlines are medical grade with vertical extraction, which means the air circulates up and out. But, that’s not the danger. Travellers are sitting like sardines in a can, touching shoulder to shoulder, leg to leg and your fingers will touch surfaces. The secret is to carry your own sanitiser, spray the surfaces you touch and remember not to touch your face until you’re off the plane and can safely either sanitise or even better wash your hands with soap and water," he advises.

Rodrigues urges travellers to wear their masks.

"Just last week when a man refused to keep his mask on after boarding a FlySafair flight, the plane simply turned back to the terminal and he was taken off. Hopefully, this now sets a precedent for such behaviour. Keeping your mask on throughout the entire flight is essential," he says.

Rodrigues advises travellers to avoid eating on the plane, and instead eat before they board.

“From the minute you arrive at the airport, one has to be vigilant. There are so many dangerous touchpoints at the airport. For example, queuing to check in, go through security, maybe grabbing a coffee and then boarding the plane – these are also the danger points. Social distance at all times. In the end, the responsibility lies on the passenger," he adds.

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