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Five Critical Facts Boomers Need in Order to Travel Again

By Phyllis Stoller, NABBW’s Group Travel Associate

A commercial passenger airliner on the apron at Narita International Airport in Tokyo in Japan

Most Boomers are being told we cannot travel during this time of COVID, as we are in an especially dangerous situation: our age.

Of course, by the time we’ve reached our current ages, almost all of us have at least one pre-existing condition, but as you know, many of these are controllable.

We now live for years with conditions that used to be death sentences for our parents.
  • Age 70, as we compare it to our mothers, is the new 50
  • We regularly work out at gyms
  • More than 50% of us are still working
  • We are always on the hunt for opportunities for learning, volunteering, helping our communities and our families.

In other words we are super active. More than half of us are pining to travel; and I’m advising you that we Boomers can fly without fear. Despite what one reads online, major airlines continue to publish information and  statistics on COVID-19. Crew has less of the virus than the population as a whole! In fact there are only a handful of cases attributed directly to flying, less than 20 total.

A new Aviation Public Health Initiative (APHI) study by scientists from Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health is the most comprehensive research to date.  It concludes that U.S. airlines, including Delta, are protecting customers and employees in such intensive ways that they are totally preventing spread of this disease on airplanes. 

The CDC itself  has not confirmed a single case of COVID-19 transmission on a U.S. airplane. Mask wearing, the consistent wiping down of airplanes, better air filtration systems – all are contributing. We should be thankful that the person sniffling next to us will no longer give us his/her cold. And that seats and planes are finally very clean. All long overdue improvements.

Airports are empty; seats are blocked off for distancing. Free sanitizer is everywhere. NYC just instituted a $50 fine for airport travelers not wearing a mask.

Tours are so much better post COVID:  with fewer people, bigger vehicles, more elbow room with distanced dining and charming outdoor dining.

Besides being safer, these changes make travel so much better. Global organizations like the World Travel and Tourism Council  (WTTC) are setting international standards and protocols for sanitation and health and safety measures. No more looking under the hotel bed to see if the room is clean. If standards are not adhered to, hotels, even countries will be publicly rebuked with a bad rating.

Finally, the burden of PPE for the Boomer traveler: a mask, hand sanitizer, sanitizer wipes and perhaps some straws. You might consider eating pre flight and using a straw to drink without removing a mask.

My experience in flying to Mexico a few weeks ago is as follows:
  • The airline gave out hand sanitizer so I did not need my own.
  • Flyers wore masks except briefly when eating.
  • Crew and the pilot spoke to us about precautions and mask wearing.
  • An image was taken of our faces and temperatures were taken in Mexico on arrival and before departure. (Not in the US though).
  • The only time we took the mask off was to show passport control what lay behind.
  • Finally: white wine with a straw doesn’t work well.

Airlines have loosened penalties, which helps if you need to cancel. If you do not feel well on day of travel for instance,  you can cancel and get a credit to use for up to a year (that is a moving target and keeps getting longer). A few airlines have guaranteed that if you travel and get sick at the destination they will pick up your medical and or quarantine costs. (Emirates is one).

So yes you can travel, if you follow a few simple guidelines:
  • Go with a group so you are taken care of. Groups like ours stay on top of country regulations and will advise you of any last minute changes.
  • We offer insurance to protect you and your trip.
  • Staff will assist with any and all needs and will know immediately if your group needs testing anywhere in the world.

So according to President Trump, travel is “around the corner.”  And, while Dr. Fauci doesn’t necessarily agree, it looks like when we feel we are ready to travel again, we can enjoy it safely, despite our age.

For more information on the Harvard University study contact: Aviation Public Health Initiative, Richard Ades, Media Advisor, via email: aphi@hsph.harvard.edu


Phyllis Stoller, President The Women’s Travel Group


Phyllis Stoller Group Travel

Phyllis Stoller, NABBW’s Group Travel Associate is founder of The Women’s Travel Group, a tour operator which specializes in smart vacations for smart women, was recently honored as one of the 14 most influential women in Group Travel by Group Travel Magazine. The Women’s Travel Group works with travel agents and is a strategic partner of Sky Vacations.

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