Many of us are going a little stir crazy in view of the Coronavirus restrictions so the idea of getting away on vacation is a very tempting prospect to many people. So if you are one of those preparing to risk it, you do need to be aware that travel has changed and there are new laws about boarding planes during the pandemic.
So what can you expect if you plan to fly this spring?
First up, the airlines are taking the pandemic very seriously. You will need to wear masks during boarding and throughout the duration of your flight. In short if you refuse to wear a mask you will not be allowed to fly.
The type of mask is also subject to these new laws. Airlines including, Southwest, American, Delta and United do not allow face masks with valves and face shields are only ok if combined with wearing an approved type of face mask. If you do turn up wearing one of these masks, you will be offered an alternative. If you refuse to wear an approved face mask you will be turned away and even if you have a medical exemption to wearing a mask, you will not be allowed to fly.
Boarding the plane is also being handled differently in order to maintain social distancing regulations and it is taking far longer than usual.
Some airlines are boarding the planes, 10 people at a time. Other airlines are boarding passengers depending on their seats so will allow the first few rows to board together, thus avoiding the scramble once on the plane.
You may be asked to scan your own boarding pass. Spirit for example require that passengers scan their own passes and once this has been done, you board the plane in restricted groups on a first come first serve basis.
Some airlines are also carrying out temperature checks prior to boarding. Air Canada and Frontier airlines will turn away any traveller with a heightened temperature of 100.4 and over and other airlines seem likely to follow this trend.
Online health check
In addition you will be required to complete an online “health acknowledgment” before check-in. This is to confirm, that your hands are washed or sanitised before boarding, and you have had no symptoms related to COVID-19 in the previous 14 days.
Once you have boarded the plane, you are required to continue wearing your mask unless you are eating or drinking.
Check out the COVID regulations of your destination before your board
Before you board it is essential that you check out the restrictions that will apply when you land. Many places including New York require that you have the proof of negative COVID test taken within a limited time period (48 hours or 76 hours) before your flight.
To help passengers with this, a growing number of airports are offering COVID tests at the airport.
The bottom line is that if you are planning to fly, you will need to allow extra time for boarding and you will need to check out the COVID regulations of your destination before you even head to the airport.