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What precautions should I take if I need to fly?

What precautions should I take if I need to fly?
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As pandemic restrictions start to lift destinations are opening up. How do you stay safe when flying?

Though the Government of Canada recommends you avoid all non-essential travel outside Canada, there are international flights available, and tourist destinations are open for business. And of course, domestic flights are going ahead, too. Using mass transit will increase the likelihood that you will be exposed to the coronavirus that causes covid-19. But rest assured that airlines and transport authorities are working to keep you safe; and there are also some steps you can take to protect yourself during air travel.

Research your destination before flying during the pandemic

Not all destinations are allowing travellers in from abroad. So you should check the Government of Canada’s travel advisories before you book international travel. For domestic travel, check the covid-19 provincial and territorial advisories. The situation can change very rapidly, with authorities responding to changes in covid-19 infection rates by placing restrictions on travellers. So, you should check the travel advisories for your destination frequently.

Am I allowed to fly during covid-19?

Before you book tickets and before leaving for the airport you should establish whether you are in fact, allowed to travel. Your airline will have specific guidelines that you should follow. And there will be guidelines to follow for your destination, too.

What baggage can I take when I fly in the pandemic?

Airlines are likely to be stricter than usual about enforcing rules around baggage. So, visit your airline’s website to check what dimensions and weights of bag you can bring.

Handwashing and cleaning facilities should be freely available at all stages of your journey – but you may wish to bring your own alcohol gel sanitizer and wipes just to be sure.

Do I need a mask for air travel while covid-19 is a risk?

A face covering is mandatory at the airport and on the plane. You should be able to obtain a mask at the airport – but you may want to bring your own to ensure it is comfortable and suitable for your needs.

Some groups can travel without wearing a face covering. These include children under two and people who have a breathing difficulty.

You can take off your mask when you are eating and drinking.

What will happen at the airport during the pandemic?

You can expect the check-in process to be a bit different from normal: for example, you will have to respect physical distancing; you might have to use a self-service check-in, or a touchless bag check. The process may take longer than usual and there may be extra verification measures to complete before you pass through security. Check with your airline to see how long before your flight you need to arrive at the airport.

Expect to be screened with health questions and you might have your temperature taken by an infrared system. Some airports are trialling passenger disinfection systems.

Boarding will be different from what you might be used to, so check with your airline to familiarize yourself with the process if necessary.

Airports will be cashless, too, so make sure you have a different way to pay. You will find it helpful to have a smartphone too, to easily access services on the ground and in flight.

What is it like to fly during the pandemic?

Plane cabins will be deep cleaned, and many airlines will supply you with things like hand sanitizer, wipes and a mask. The bar and meal service is likely to be much simplified; and there will be no Duty Free. Be sure to obey the airline staff. If you feel ill during your flight, alert a member of staff and they will tell you what to do to keep yourself and others on the flight safe.

What happens at my destination airport?

Before you leave, check the website for your destination airport to find out specific details.

You can expect your airline to help you maintain distancing as you deplane.

The baggage carousels will be adjusted, and baggage should be spaced to help with distancing.

Do I need to isolate when I return home?

Travellers from abroad may be required to isolate for fourteen days on returning to Canada. Check The Government of Canada’s advice for returning travellers.

Where can I get travel health advice before I fly?

If you need an appointment at a travel clinic, turn to Canadian Travel Clinics. It is quick and easy to book online.