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How to stay well when flying after coronavirus lockdown

Woman holding passport and face mask

Having not been able to travel for a few months, you may feel apprehensive about setting foot on a plane again after COVID-19 lockdown.

For the next few months, travelling abroad will feel different to usual. By being prepared, things can feel a bit less daunting.

By following these tips on what to expect when you next travel, you should be well prepared to embrace your next holiday with confidence.

Remember, if you have any symptoms of COVID-19, it’s important you stay at home and self-isolate, to follow government advice.

Avoiding germs at the airport

When you get to the airport, only those flying will be able to go inside. This is so airports don’t get too overcrowded, and social distancing is possible. As for social distancing, the airport may have one-way systems in crowded areas which will be sign-posted.

Hand sanitiser stations will be available for use throughout the airport, and it’s recommended you use hand sanitiser regularly while waiting for your flight. To give you extra peace of mind, you may want to bring hand sanitiser while on board the flight (if less than 100ml).

When it comes to handing over your baggage, including hand luggage, the trays you’ll put your items in during security checks will be cleaned regularly. During bag searches, clear screens will be in place between you and staff, to protect everyone from potential risks.

Are you in need of special assistance during your flight or while waiting at the airport? Wheelchairs will be thoroughly cleaned after each use and staff there to help you will be wearing protective clothing at all times.

Airport staff will be checking your temperature to make sure you’re safe to fly. Don’t worry, this won’t be invasive. Your temperature will be checked automatically with a scanner, so it’ll be nice and quick. Once that’s over, you can relax while waiting for your flight.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, or a high temperature, you won’t be able to enter the airport or board your flight. It may be best to take your temperature yourself before you go to the airport, to be on the safe side!

Wear a face mask

When entering the airport and during your flight, you and anyone over age six, will need to wear a face covering. It may be best to bring your own mask with you, but if you forget, airports will have spares (you might have to pay for these!)

It’s suggested by airlines that you should change your face covering every four hours, so make sure you have enough spare masks with you to cover the length of your journey.

Can’t wear a face covering because of health reasons? Just contact your airline or doctor — they’ll be more than happy to advise you on what steps you need to take, including any paperwork you may need to complete.

Keep things contactless

If you can, you may be asked to use contactless payment methods when paying for things at the airport and on the plane. This is to avoid contact with others as much as possible.

Taking a water bottle with you? Some airports now have hands-free water stations for you to use, instead of their regular water fountains.

Before you fly

Rest up before you go. Tiredness and stress can weaken your immune system and make you more likely to catch a bug. Spend the days before your trip making sure you’re as healthy as possible; eat well, get plenty of early nights, and make sure you have everything ready in advance so there’s no last-minute stress.

Speak to your doctor

If you have pre-existing health conditions, chat to your doctor or a healthcare professional to see if flying could exacerbate them. If you’ve been shielding during lockdown, it’s important you check with your doctor that it’s safe for you to travel before you set off. If you choose to fly against your doctor’s advice, this will invalidate your travel insurance policy.

You should also let your airline or travel provider know about any serious conditions that mean you require extra help. Most airlines can make special arrangements for those that need them.

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