There’s indeed an extremely long set of rules for one to keep in mind and yet more important things to be considered even before one decides to travel or book a flight during a pandemic crisis.
Post months of lockdown and travel restrictions, domestic flights and international flights are all set to resume their operations gradually. Airlines and airports across the globe are working on a war footing to implement adequate safety and preventive protocols for passengers. The Ministry of Civil Aviation along with local governments of all countries have set individual guidelines that have to be strictly followed within their country boundaries, right from the moment you enter the airport to during flight practices and arrival rules. Frequent disinfection of arrival/departure gates, buses, trains and other areas which handle passengers has become the new norm. However at all times we must be aware that both inbound and outbound flights carry a high risk of last minute cancellation due to country borders being closed.
Here is the checklist by TravelsAlaCarte that must be your hands-on guide to preparing for your next flight during any pandemic:
- Check the rules & protocols for the city/country you’re landing in before you make travel plans:
Different countries and states are creating different rules for air travel based on their pandemic situation. Be sure to read and adhere to those set rules. Do your research before booking your flight and track the advisory changes pertaining to the countries. Flight timings might often change and there is a large chance of cancellation.
- Be aware of your health status or take a medical test.
Make sure you have the local app downloaded on your phone eg; countries like India offer the Arogya Setu to check your health status. Some cities like Hong Kong offer wristbands that track your location and body temperature.Either that, or alongside you will have to sign an extremely detailed declaration of health at the airport. Concealing any past travel or health information could land you behind bars. Be ready to go through a physical medical check at both the airport of origin and arrival.
There has been extreme screening of passengers for temperature and other symptoms. Carrying a well provided travel health insurance is extremely advisable. A 14 day mandatory quarantine which might be institutional is also compulsory on landing is applicable in most countries such as UK, INDIA etc..beware that any rules can be altered anytime. There may also be a travel ban for passengers coming from the worst pandemic hit countries thereby making travel history an important factor in decision of flying.
- Complete your web check-in.
Ensure that you completed your contactless web check-in and that you have downloaded your boarding pass on your gadget since the new flying rule does not permit check-in without having done this. You must also print your own baggage tag and have it on your luggage at all times.
- Arrange for your transport from the airport.
You should pre arrange for transport from your destination airport before you board your flight, to avoid any last minute rush. It’s best to arrive at least 3 hours before your flight time. Most airlines have stopped chauffeured pickups and drops. Places in Red zones or lockdowns might have fixed numbers of taxi’s plying to and fro from airports. Some countries have seized operations of their local transportation. It’s best to do in depth study of point to point road travel means.
- Dress appropriately and make sure your safety gears are ready.
The travellers’ new attire to the airport is now all about self-protection. Globally, travellers now have to clad themselves in disposable coveralls, plastic ponchos, safety glasses, gloves, shields and full face masks. As a matter of fact, masks and sanitisers have become a compulsion at every International or Domestic airport and thermal screening will be conducted before you enter the airport. One must also make sure that their clothes are comfortable since there is a lot of walking to do at the airport.
- Choose your luggage wisely.
Dragging your metal, plastic etc. suitcase around the airport can surely make it a ground for catching the virus. It’s therefore safer to carry cloth bags and totes that you don’t need to lobby around. However you must cover all your luggage with a sheet that is disposable once you have landedto ensure that there is no virus latched on. One must carry minimal baggage in order to avoid delaying the already long health checkup.
- Eat a heavy meal.
There will be no onboard meals and airport cafes globally are restrictive in their operations. Since one cannot carry their own meals either, having a full heavy meal before travelling would be best advised. The use of inflight lavatories may also be restricted, thus stay low on fluid consumption.
- Be safe and keep your distance!
Ensure that you are maintaining your distance from everyone on the airport as well as during the flight to remain protected. Try and book the window seat as those are the safest ones on the aircraft. Minimum contact between passengers and, or crew members has been implicated.
Travelling during a pandemic sure can be slightly stressful, but just make sure to maintain your distance throughout your journey and be sure to remain geared up everywhere to refrain from coming in contact with the virus. Simple protocols as mentioned above will ensure you a safe journey once you follow them. In line with the country’s government guidelines, all airports have drawn up elaborate plans to maintain security and ensure preventive measures against the spread of coronavirus.
Lastly, be safe and happy travels!