7 safety tips for flying during COVID-19

It’s scary enough to have to fly during COVID-19 as a healthy person, but it must be infinitely scarier for those that have cancer and need to take to the skies, since they’re at risk.

For that group, the National Foundation for Cancer Research (NFCR) has created a guide with helpful tips to aid cancer patients who need to travel. The following safety tips, as laid out in the post, are meant to help anyone with cancer make air travel plans during this pandemic. But they can also be used by anyone looking to be extra safe while flying.

  1. “If you are a cancer patient or have other immunocompromising diseases, still avoid air travel or postpone your date of flight. A compromised immune system can significantly increase your risk of contracting COVID-19 or developing severe symptoms once infected.
  2. Wear a facemask at all times. Not all airports or airlines require face coverings, so you may encounter individuals who are uncovered. Therefore, it’s in your best interest to wear your own mask throughout your entire time in the airport and in-flight. Also, don’t forget to bring multiple masks with you in the event that one is lost or damaged.
  3. Protect your eyes with safety goggles, glasses or sunglasses. This is an important protection measure for airplane passengers who will be in a small and closed cabin packed with people sitting close to each other for hours.
  4. Have disinfectant wipes handy and easily accessible upon entering the airplane. Some airlines have started to implement deep cleaning practices on the seat, seatbelt, tray table and seatback pocket. United Airlines even partnered with Clorox and the Cleveland Clinic to get their professional advises on proper airplane disinfection practices. However, as an extra precaution you should still wipe down your own area, particularly your tray table. [Johnny’s note: Although United has partnered with Clorox, keep in mind that it’s filling planes to capacity unlike these four airlines.]
  5. Choose a comfortable pair of long pants and long sleeve shirts as your in-flight clothing for extra protection. As soon as you arrive at your destination, immediately remove and wash the clothes prior to next use.
  6. Wash your hands frequently, especially after touching the surface of other places on the airplane (such as the bathroom and seat tops while standing up) and before eating or drinking.
  7. If experiencing a full flight and you are able to, consider upgrading your ticket to business or first class using your mileage points or cash. These areas of the airplane typically allow for more personal space and therefore less risk.”

I’m sorry if you’re dealing with cancer on top of this pandemic. It can’t be easy. If you are flying, make sure you consult your doctor before flying—though I do hope that this advice from the NFCR helps reduce some of your fears and anxieties related to air travel.


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