Phyllis Stoller of the Women’s Travel Group Advises: “What to Expect for Summer Flying”
Masks Are Mandatory Inside Airports and On the Plane
Which means you really need to bring along more than one mask. This is important, in case you drop yours or sniffle into it. You need to be aware that even in “no mask” states, federal law requires masks at airports and on the airplane. (Once you are outside the airport – hailing a taxi, for example – local laws prevail.)
You’ll also find free sanitizer dispensers in airports and elsewhere. These days there seems to be a lot of free sanitizer available. Use plenty of it on your hands, even if you wash them intensely.
Seat Location on the Airplane
Some airlines (specifically Delta) allow for distancing. This means if you are flying as a family or with a friend, you might get separated. You can deal with this at the check in counter.
We’re assuming that airlines will soon stop holding back seats as the United States continues to speed up efforts to vaccinate everyone. Travelers coming from overseas will have already had to show negative tests in order to fly to the US. We believe that very shortly all of us will need to use a ‘vaccine passport.’
Eating on the Plane
Some people choose not to eat in order to avoid taking off their mask. Some drink with a straw rather than with an exposed mouth. Airplane meals have changed. Even in Business Class, what you’ll find is that you’ll be offered a bottle of water and a small ‘shoebox’ of snacks. You’ll find it’s filled with mini packs of crackers, Gold Fish, dried fruit, nuts and possibly hummus or slices of salami.
Our advice: You’ll most likely be happier if you BRING YOUR OWN SNACKS. And your own straws. (But in order to be food safe as well as kind to your fellow travelers, you might want to select something which isn’t messy, doesn’t emit a significant odor and can be safely served at any temperature. )
About a month ago the CDC recommended double masking with a cloth mask over an KN95 one. Each person does what the law says and what makes them feel safe. You might even see passengers wearing protective clothing. This does not mean flying is unsafe. New filters and long needed sanitization procedures have cleared the air on our total flying experience. Finally!
Germ-proofing Your Area
Consider wiping down seat armrests with sanitizer cloths. Airline staff will give you one little sanitizer package. Bring more to wipe hands each time you leave your seat for the lavatory or other. (You will touch the movie screen, seat recliner button and seat belt). The downside of this wiping is that sanitizer cloths are not compostable and are filling our landfills obscenely. A serious hunt on line might get you to compostable ones. (Chlorox advertises one but a closer look tells you it is for cleaning not antibacterial.)
Don’t put items in the seat pocket. That area has always been full of gunk.
If possible, wait a minute or so before entering the restroom after someone exits. Again wipe down your hands when you return to your seat. FYI: TSA allows a 12 oz bottle of sanitizer at writing. This can change, so check with your airline.
Keeping Up with Flight Schedule Changes
That brings us to a suggestion: learn how to use your airline’s app. The word “app” sometimes scares Boomers. But if you realize it’s merely a folder of information about your flight, seats, rules, on-time information etc. you’ll realize how handy and beneficial it can be.
Especially when you download it to your smartphone, so you’re able to easily carry it with you anywhere. (To see sample, just click these handy links to review and download the United, Delta and Emirates apps.)
We now know flying is safe. A mask and a few minor adjustments might mean you can finally see your grandchildren or best friends again. It also might mean you can restart your travel life. These Travel Tips for Boomers are courtesy of The Women’s Travel Group.
To contact us:Or go “old-fashioned and give us a phone call: 646-309-5607