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How safe is flying during Covid-19?

If you check out any airlines’ publicity right now you’d almost feel as though they wrap you in a magic Covid-19 free bubble from the minute you board your flight to the moment you leave. But is this true?

To a certain degree it is, as according to the CDC, ‘Most viruses and other germs don’t spread easily on flights because of how air circulates and is filtered on airplanes.’ And whilst you may have an image of empty seats allowing for the correct social distancing you would be wrong. Virtually every flight in SA right now is flying at full seating capacity, given the facts that

  1. they’re trying to catch up on lost revenue and
  2. there are a lot less airlines operating (in South Africa)


Dangerous touchpoints

So what does this mean for you and the risk of contracting the coronavirus? According to Burt Rodrigues, CEO of Biodx, “The CDC is correct in their comments on air circulation and filtering. The filters used by airlines are medical grade with vertical extraction which means the air circulates up and out. But that’s not the danger. You are sitting like sardines in a can, touching shoulder to shoulder, leg to leg and your fingers will touch surfaces. The secret is to carry your own sanitiser, spray the surfaces you touch and remember not to touch your face until you’re off the plane and can safely either sanitise or even better wash your hands with soap and water.”


Keep that mask glued to your face

Just last week when a man refused to keep his mask on after boarding a FlySafair flight the plane simply turned back to the terminal and he was taken off. Hopefully this now sets a precedent for such behaviour. Keeping your mask on throughout the entire flight is essential at least until we’re at level 0. And eat before you fly as snacking and drinking on board is now taboo. “From the minute you arrive at the airport you have to be super vigilant,” stresses Rodrigues. “There are so many dangerous touch points. Queuing to check in, go through the x-ray machines, maybe grabbing a coffee and then boarding the plane – these are the danger points also. Keep those social distances. In the end the responsibility lies on you – the passenger. Stay safe and travel safe.