Following rules keeps traveling safe during COVID


John J. Kim/Chicago Tribune/TNS

A sign informs travelers on COVID-19 guidelines at the United Airlines check-in area in Terminal 1 at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago on Nov. 12.

Sean Garvin, Staff Writer

The airline industry, along with all other industries related to travel have been hit hard during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Forbes, the tourism industry will lose an upwards of a trillion dollars and 100 millions jobs are at stake. Since April of 2020, which was a record low for travel throughout the world, there has been an uptick of passengers largely due to holidays and a new sense of comfort from masks mandated by the airlines, fewer people on planes, and socially distanced seats on the aircrafts.

During the course of the pandemic, new terms have arisen. Terms such as “travel shaming” among others have gained popularity, though people who often coin this term are largely uninformed regarding travel during the age of corona. Lately, people think traveling by airplane is synonymous to super spreading though there have been numerous studies proving this false.

There is always a risk when traveling, but contrary to popular belief, the chances of contracting COVID-19 are extremely minimal in airplanes. With Business Insider going as low as 1 in 29 million chances of contracting Covid and CNN going as high 1 in 4900 chances due to how air circulates and is filtered on airplanes, most viruses and other germs do not spread easily on airplanes according to the CDC.

A study according to the Department of Defense suggests, “the risk of catching the coronavirus on a packed commercial flight concluded that a person would have to be sitting next to an infectious passenger for at least 54 hours to receive a dangerous dose of the virus through the air.” The study continues to state that the odds are even lower when everyone is masked, which is currently being mandated by all airlines and the federal government.

Another form of travel, such as road trips are also at a record low throughout the United States. Mobility rates have hit record lows but have slowly increased since the outbreak of COVID in the United States.

I have personally flown 12 times over the course of the pandemic, all being pleasant experiences. I have seen first hand the damaging effects of businesses heavily reliant on tourism and passengers in general. I traveled to California on a near empty flight, with only 20 other passengers. On every flight, no matter how safe it is on the aircraft, I still wear face shields, security glasses, two masks, and sanitize everything I come into contact with even though the airlines use UV lights and disinfectant to thoroughly cleanse the aircraft. I personally feel safer traveling on a plane and being in an airport than being in a Walmart or a drive thru at any fast food location as masks are heavily enforced by in-flight crew.

Several breaks and holidays are coming up. If you intend on flying, as long as you take all precautionary measures to the highest regard, then safe travels. Nonetheless, obey all protocol and laws. Several countries have banned international travel, and have even gone as far as halting internal travel. Always do your research before going somewhere as rules vary by region.