Safety Measures for Air Travel During Covid - 19

Safety Measures for Air Travel During Covid - 19

Dr. Atul Kumar Bharti, Specialist, Internal medicine & Rakesh Kumar, Specialist, Internal medicine, Aster Al Raffah hospital Sohar

With air travel bans being slowly relaxed, there are certain safety measures that one should keep in mind before they make travel plans:

  • If you are feeling sick or have symptoms such as fever, cough & cold, avoid travelling
  • Safety guidelines and requirement may vary from country to country. Please check and proceed accordingly.
  • Follow hygiene protocols and maintain safe distance at the airport and during the flight. Further guidelines can be found here.
  • Try to avoid contact with people who show signs of fever, cough and cold or shortness of breath
  • Every alternate passenger should wear personal protective equipment, unless nobody moves around once everybody has been seated.
  • Initial seating should also be planned in a way that no passenger crosses paths or seats with the other passengers.
  • Boarding process should be from back to front and thoroughly guided, cabin bags should be prohibited or be collected with checked-in baggage.
  • Passengers should be reminded to use toilets before boarding and avoid using toilets during flight.
  • If a passenger uses the washroom (with thorough hand washing) immediately before boarding then use of gloves may not be required.
  • Passengers should be seated according to age and health conditions: healthy people should be seated in middle with complete personal protective equipment followed by children and females at windows seats. Elderly passengers should be seated in aisles.

 

Regarding safety and wearing personal protection equipment (PPE) during air travel, the following points should be noted:

  • It is recommended for the cabin crew to wear PPE as they would be more prone to exposure (occupational) and are also at risk of spreading it during early asymptomatic stages during frequent interaction with passengers.
  • For passengers, it not necessary to wear full body PPE, but it essential to wear proper mask (n95 suggested), disposable goggles, and gloves.
  • Furthermore, it very important that all passengers practice social distancing and follow guidelines of the airport and airplane.
  • Since air travel has passengers breathing in a closed space, it is important to conduct proper screenings prior to boarding.
  • For the immunocompromised, diabetic and hypertensive patients, it is important to take extra care and precaution for and around them.
  • Avoid eating on-board meals and preferably carry less hand baggage.
  • Keep passengers informed and give them reminders about personal hygiene etiquette, handwashing and sanitization etc.