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Coronavirus, is it safe to travel by plane?

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If you have to fly regularly, surely you have already wondered if, with the coronavirus, is it safe to travel by plane? This question is also one of the most raised today because of the summer holidaysWhile millions of people are planning a trip to enjoy some well-deserved rest after these tense months, here is an article with general advice to help you prepare for your travels in these hectic times.

In response, we will tell you yes, with the coronavirus it is safe to travel by plane. However, since claims have to be proven, we’ll explain why you can fly with relative ease. And we say relative because virology is not an exact science. No one can guarantee that you are completely free from contagion. It’s rather that, according to the experts, while traveling by plane, you have some little chance of infecting you.

Coronavirus: air travel is safe

Although a lot is already known about this new disease, there are still things to discover about it. Without going any further, we still don’t know what its origin was. For all of this, it’s best that we let the experts talk about whether it’s safe to travel by plane with the coronavirus.

Precisely, there were many specialized centers which took charge of studying the question. However, due to its enormous prestige, we are going to explain the opinion of the researchers of the Atlantic Public Health Initiativean agency of Harvard University dedicated to the study, specifically, of the health risks of air transport.

These vindicated the airlines, which had been defending the safety of air transport for some time at that time. According to Harvard experts, the probability of catching the disease on an airplane is “almost non-existent”.

To reach this conclusion, they worked with the main airlines of the world, but also with the busiest airports and, of course, with volunteers who volunteered to travel. All this in order to offer a global vision of the dangers of theft.

One of the co-directors of the Harvard organization, Leonard Marcus, said the risks of viral transmission on an airplane are greatly reduced by cockpit features, ventilation and airflow systems, and the use of masks. To explain it better, we need to tell you about airflow in airplanes.

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How does the air circulate in the cabin of an airplane?

the cabin of an airplane

aircraft cabin

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Experts have rigorously studied the air circulation system inside aircraft. And his conclusion was that we are less likely to be exposed to Covid-19 there than “in other places like supermarkets or restaurants”.

Airplane cabins have a special design that always keeps the air clean. In fact, inside, it is renewed every two or three minutes, which means that it does this approximately twenty times per hour. It expels the air expelled by the passengers and replace it with the fresh one that comes from outside and also with another already purified.

To do this, it uses different elements. Most important is the path taken by the air entering the cabin. It does this from above and is distributed in the form of vertical tablecloths in each row of seats. In this way and together with the seats themselves, it creates a protective barrier between the rows and the passengers. Finally, the air leaves the cabin through the floor. A part is expelled outside, while another part goes to a purification system.

This system has HEPA filters (Hight Efficiency Particulate Arresting), the same as those used in hospital operating theatres, which are able to retain 99.97% of contaminating biological particles like viruses and bacteria.

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Once purified, this air is 50% combined with other outside air which, in turn, has been pressurized, heated and also filtered. Finally, everything is brought back to the passenger cabin. But the precautions taken with the air inside airplanes do not stop there. own seating arrangementwhich are all placed in the same orientation, limit face-to-face interactions between passengers during flight.

In short, the combination of this air purification system, the use of masks and the disinfection regulations put in place by the airlines makes it possible to reduce the distance between travelers. According to the Airbus company, in this way, only 30 centimeters of separation between them is equivalent to two meters in other closed places. But airlines are taking other measures to keep their passengers safe.

Other preventive measures in planes against Covid-19

An airplane at an airport

plane at an airport

Indeed, airlines are involving all their staff and facilities in the prevention of coronavirus infections. They adopted all the guidelines set by the European Aviation Safety Agency and they followed the recommendations of the health authorities in each country to fly to these destinations. They have also trained their employees, both on the ground and in the air, in the hygiene protocols recommended by the World Health Organization.

Also, airlines have reinforced the cleaning and disinfection of their aircraft, as have the corporations responsible for the airports. And it also created new protocols aimed at protecting the traveler from arrival to board the plane until exit from the airfield.

And that brings us to another important issue regarding the coronavirus and the safety of air travel. It’s about what we can do to avoid getting infected when we fly.

Tips to prevent the spread of coronavirus when we travel

To explain the steps you can take to avoid catching Covid-19, we must differentiate between our conduct at the airport and that which we must follow once on the plane. Both in one place and another, we must put into practice a series of strategies.

At the airport

An airport

Dusseldorf Airport

The health authorities themselves have recommended following several guidelines aimed at reducing contagion in airfields from the moment we enter them until boarding the plane. In addition to wearing The mask at all times it is important that in the queues we keep a distance of two meters with other people.

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Similarly, when handing over your ticket, you will find that the airlines have installed scanners so that you do not have to hand it over to ground staff. These wear gloves, but contact between the hands of the two can be dangerous. In general, airlines documentation procedures have been simplified as a precaution against the coronavirus.

Health authorities also advise putting our personal belongings (wallet, mobile phone, watch, etc.) in hand luggage. In this way we will avoid putting them on the plastic tray, as we did before.

Finally, they also recommend wearing hydroalcoholic gel For hands. But, in this case and due to security measures against terrorism, they must be small bottles, of about 350 milliliters, as when we transport colognes or other products. Regarding hand hygiene, it is practical to wash them before and after passing the control.

In the plane

inside an airplane

Passengers in the cabin of an airplane

Similarly, once inside the plane, one can take a few precautions to avoid spreading the virus. The most important is keep the mask at any time. But it is also recommended not to eat or drink what the hostesses offer us.

In fact, until very recently it was the airlines themselves that did not provide food or drink as a precaution. In this sense, it is important that you take plenty of water or soft drinks at homeespecially if you are going on a long flight.

As for food and drinks, it is also advisable to take them in a transparent bag. It’s not related to the flight, but to airport control. If you carry them in your hand luggage, you will need to take them out for security to see what they are. On the other hand, with a transparent container, you will avoid this procedure.

On the other hand, before traveling by plane or any other means of transport, you must make sure of the requirements linked to Covid-19 which will be required of you at the destination to which you are going. Otherwise, you may find that you are not allowed to enter the country without testing or that you have to self-quarantine. It is important that you check the information on country requirements regarding coronavirus.

In conclusion, regarding the question of If with the coronavirus it is safe to travel by plane, the experts agree to answer in the affirmative. According to them, airplanes are safe spaces for us both because of their own structure and the air purification systems they incorporate. These have HEPA filters capable of retaining 99.97% of viruses and bacteria. Indeed, according to a study commissioned by the IATA (International Air Transport Association), since early 2020, only 44 cases of Covid-19 have been linked to air travel. That is to say a minimum figure if we compare it with other places at risk.

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