Is it safe to travel?
Flight attendants share what to know about flying this year
Summer is almost here and thanks to the vaccines, many of us are eager for a “near return to normal.” But with everything that’s happened during the pandemic, many of us are wondering if it’s safe to travel yet. You may be asking yourself: Is it safe to fly right now? How can I best prepare to travel safely? What should I do when I return from a trip? Most of us are out-of-practice these days when it comes to travel. So, we thought it’d be a good idea to share some travel tips before we all start heading off for summer vacation.
We checked out the most recent travel guidance from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and spoke with some wonderful flight attendants from Alaska Airlines for some tips to help you travel smoothly and safely.
Who Should Travel?
It comes down to your vaccination status. The CDC strongly urges unvaccinated people to delay travel until they are fully vaccinated (two weeks after receiving their final dose of the COVID-19 vaccine). Guidelines ease up for people who are fully vaccinated, but there are still some requirements.
If you are vaccinated, the CDC recommends that you:
- Wear a mask over your nose and mouth when traveling. It’s required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation and in transportation hubs such as airports and stations.
- Follow all state and local requirements for the destination you’re traveling to, including mask wearing and social distancing. Respect the rules of the room.
- After travel, self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms; isolate and get tested if you develop symptoms.
“Masks are still important and required. I’m vaccinated but we have to remember that everyone has a different comfort level and we still have to maintain FAA requirements,” said Keely, an Alaska Airlines flight attendant.
If you are not vaccinated, the CDC recommends you to:
- Get tested with a viral test 1–3 days before your trip.
- Wear a mask over your nose and mouth. It’s required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation and in transportation hubs such as airports and stations.
- Follow all state and local requirements, including mask wearing and social distancing, for the destination you’re traveling to.
- Avoid crowds and stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arm lengths) from anyone who is not traveling with you.
- Get tested with a viral test 3–5 days after travel AND stay home and self-quarantine for a full 7 days after travel; if you don’t get tested, quarantine for at least 10 days after travel.
- Delay interacting with people who are at increased risk for severe illness for 14 days, whether you got tested or not.
It’s also important to respect those who are getting you from Point A to Point B.
“Always follow your flight attendant’s instructions. And try to empathize with them — all of the frustrations and difficulties you’ve had during the pandemic mirror those of your flight attendants, especially since they’ve been working to serve passengers despite the risks of COVID-19,” said Randy of Alaska Airlines.
Flight attendant Gigi encourages guests to, “have a positive attitude; even with your mask on.” She reminds guests that “we can still tell if you’re smiling!”
Remember that everyone is doing their best to make travel as safe, stress-free, and accessible as possible. So, as long as you’re vaccinated, put those summer vacations on the calendar. Just remember to stick to the pandemic travel guidelines and always practice being kind and considerate to the people around you. Because together, we can do anything! Have a wonderful summer and safe travels!
For more COVID-19-related safe travel recommendations and information, visit the CDC website.
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