Many of us are currently concerned about safety of air travel. I want to share with about you my recent flying experiences which have led me to conclude flying is as safe as ever. My observations and recommendations are based on 18 different flights (with 4 different airlines) that I have taken since mid-May 2020. 
Domestic flying is “almost back to normal.”  That means that many domestic flights may be as crowded as they were pre-COVID 19. The reason for this is simple: while fewer people are flying, airlines are offering fewer fights. The airlines are attempting to match frequency of flights with actual passenger demand.  
International travel, on the other hand, feels almost like a throwback to the late 1980s. My first international PAN AM flight from Zurich to New York had only 80 people on Boeing 747; I remember empty rows and being able to stretch across empty seats (the last few rows of that flight were for smokers!). My recent flights to London, Munich, and Frankfurt had so few passengers that we were rows (not seats) apart—I had 3 rows of seats all to myself! 
Flying continues to be safe—and I might add, even more comfortable and enjoyable at the moment. Flying is more relaxed (fewer flights = fewer delays as fewer aircrafts compete for take off/landing spots), and I have arrived at my destinations on time, or even ahead of time. The public choosing to fly seems to be healthier also—I cannot recall any recent flights (in the US or in Europe) with anyone coughing or sneezing.
Here are the most recent health-related facts about flying:
  • The larger the aircraft, the more sophisticated filtration system (many actually deliver hospital-grade environments using HEPA filters that clean and refresh the cabin air every three minutes and filter out some 95% or more of viruses, including COVID-19)

  • With the exception of modern business class cabins, passengers are all facing forward, so seat-backs act as a natural barrier for transmission.
  • All airlines have stepped up cleaning procedures (cleaning, fogging, disinfecting, etc. between flights). According to conversations with flight attendants and pilots on my recent flights, even they have noticed improvements in aircraft cleanliness! 
  • NOTE: Take time to review this study by MIT professor of statistics Arnold Barnett that concludes a passenger has only about a 0.023% chance of getting (not dying from, just getting) COVID-19 from a two-hour flight on a commercial airliner in which every seat is filled. Click here to read it. 

Lessons Learned:

  • In my experience, air travel continues to be a safe and enjoyable experience!

  • Do not travel if you are sick, getting sick, or feeling sick! Think twice about travel if anyone in your household is currently sick. If you are not well, stay in bed!

  • Take these practical steps before each trip:
    • Bring sanitizer (TSA allows small bottles to go through security checkpoints) 
    • Wear mask to further reduce risk of getting COVID and other viruses
    • Wash your hands with warm water and soap
    • Avoid lavatories on short flights, if possible.
  • Airlines have made major logistical changes:
    • Scheduling changes are more frequent right now, so booking windows for getting good deals has shifted:
      • No need to book more than 21-40 days before departure for domestic trips (used to be 45-60 days out)
      • No need to book more than 30-50 days before departure for international trips (used to be 60-90 days out)
    • Expect more frequent adjustment to published flight timetables. For now, it is actually better to book later than sooner (especially as the majority of airlines have eliminated rebooking fees and cancelation penalties)
    • NEWEST DEVELOPMENT: Lufthansa is among the airlines to now advise that passengers can fly mask free from September 2020 if they provide a negative coronavirus test and a medical certificate.

Call or text me (918-214-4582) to help you navigate current flight booking process, domestically and internationally. We are here to help!