Flying during coronavirus: What to expect and how to stay safe

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Flying and spending time in airports is one of the riskiest things you can do during the COVID-19 pandemic. And like virtually every other aspect of life, the pandemic has changed travel as we know it — at least while we wait for a vaccine.

But if you can’t wait until a vaccine arrives to travel by air, you should understand the risks and know that there are measures you can take to stay safe. Flying is risky for several reasons, but the main concern is being in close proximity to other people from all over the country or the world.

Infectious disease expert and MD Dr. Sandra Kesh told CNET that other factors like stagnant air on a plane are also a concern. “When you’re sitting on a plane waiting for it to take off, there is no air movement. If you turn on the fan above your head, that’s the only air moving. It’s a really terrific environment for one person to potentially infect the whole plane,” Dr. Kesh says.

One of the best ways to protect yourself (besides wearing a mask) is social distancing. And when it comes to flying, the reality is that it’s almost impossible to truly socially distance on a plane. Even if the flight you are on is not completely booked, the chances that you will encounter someone — either a fellow passenger or flight attendants — within six feet of you is very high. You will likely also encounter people within six feet while getting through airport security and boarding a plane.

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