Over the past four months, countries around the world have been fighting the coronavirus pandemic as it has spread to every corner of the globe. Many of us have isolated ourselves at home and played our part in stopping the spread of the virus, and planning a vacation could be the last thing on our to-do list. But many people dream of where they can go next, when the world has become safer. But when will that be? Well, that depends on who you ask and where they live.
According to a recent survey conducted by Manifest, a Web site that provides business and news guidance, 67 percent of Americans said they felt uncomfortable traveling by air.
The survey blames 351 Americans for their travel comfort in May 2020 and another 501 American opinions about travel during the COVID 19 pandemic in July 2020. The results have not changed from month to month.
Most of 2020 so far has been about dealing with varying degrees of lockdown and restricting leaving our homes at all, let alone getting on a plane and leaving our cities or towns altogether. As the restrictions continue to ease, travel is now possible in some places, provided the right precautions are taken. Looking to the future, the survey found that only 23 percent of people have completely abandoned their travel plans for 2020 and 15 percent are actually planning further travel.
Travel expert Johnny Jet says some things can help make the experience safer and more comfortable. However, the self-proclaimed “road warrior” has not flown since February.
“I would book tickets at the last minute to try to get on a flight that has a low number of last mile miles to save cash,” he told Tekk.tv. “If you’re worried, I’d book Delta Air Lines first, because they do the best work with COVID-19 and keep the middle seat open. Southwest Airlines comes in second.”
He says I should do some research to find out which flights have lighter loads, like American Airlines’ 777, which only flies once a day between LAX from Los Angeles and Miami. Nonstop flights are also helpful, and of course – which has become a habit for many of us by now – pack plenty of disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer. The TSA has increased their liquid cap to 12 ounces for hand sanitizer.
Valerie Joy Wilson, travel expert and blogger, has flown three times since May. Wilson tested positive for the virus in early March, so she waited until she was able to get a negative coronavirus test and an antibody test before visiting her family in May. She said that when the airlines started demanding masks, she felt much more comfortable. Now she wears an N95 mask when she flies, a face shield and gloves on her first trip.
“I have always been the type of person who had antibacterial wipes and lots of hand disinfectant. I always wiped my seat, the storage table, armrests and seat belts before I sat down,” Wilson told Tekk.tv. “Now I’m doing it even more diligently.”
On her last trip to Mexico, she went one step further and wore a protective suit on board her flight. She says she wanted to “point out that you can travel and be safe and not be part of the problem or spread.
After this experience, however, she decided that the suit was unnecessary and rather obstructive – especially when using the toilet.
The results of the survey also varied depending on the region where the respondents lived and their age. People from places that were more successful in containing the virus – or were able to flatten the curve – were more open to the idea of traveling than people in areas with higher case numbers.
In May, the number of people in the northeast who traveled “very uncomfortably” was 67 percent; in July’s results, this figure dropped to 51 percent. New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and other northeastern states continued to see a steady decline in cases and hospitalizations caused by the virus. The New York Times reported on Thursday that 4 out of every 100,000 COVID 19 patients in New York were hospitalized for the virus, while in places like Rio Grande Valley and Corpus Christi Texas, the number exceeded 100.
New York City-based travel expert Lee Abbamonte, who has traveled to every country in the world, has made 15 or 16 flights since the pandemic began. He said after isolating himself in his apartment for three months and getting tested for the virus, he was ready to leave the city.
“Flying during the pandemic is a personal decision, so I wouldn’t really give people advice on whether or not to do it, it’s up to them and their personal risk tolerance and whether they feel comfortable,” Abbamonte told Tekk.tv.
He says his pre-flight routine has remained largely the same, except that he now wears hygiene wipes and a mask on board. He also gets a little closer to the flight time to avoid unnecessary time at the airport.
“Also, just be prepared and patient, because the worst thing about flying during a pandemic is dealing with other people who don’t follow the rules,” Abbamonte said. “For example, if you don’t cover [their]mouth and nose with masks as strictly as you do…