In the COVID-19 world we are all living in, the information does not change day-to-day, it changes hour-by-hour. With the sheer amount of new information, how do you know when it is the right time for you to start traveling again? The short answer is, it is entirely up to you and how comfortable you are with taking to the sky. If you are struggling with the decision, Yeager Airport is here to help! We are going to take our best shot at answering the question: “Is it Safe to Fly.” All of the information in this article comes from airline leaders, as well as frequent travelers.
So, is it safe to fly?
This is not a yes or no question. With all of the precautions and guidelines, airlines are taking, flying now is safer than you might think. Most commercial airplanes are equipped with High-Efficiency Particulate Air, HEPA for short, filters. They are similar to the HEPA filters found in hospitals. These filters capture more than 99-percent of airborne bacteria, and continuously recirculate clean air throughout the cabin.
In a recent interview on the Masters of Scale podcast, Delta CEO Ed Bastian talked about an air study recently done by Delta.
“I tasked our team to measure the air quality onboard our flights, and we’ve been traveling with sensors on a number of flights and that they’ve found is indeed the quality of the air you breathe aboard our planes is somewhere between 7 to 10 times cleaners than a baseline measure of the grocery store you shopped in yesterday.”
Pre-COVID-19, commercial airplanes were wiped down and cleaned after most flights. However, during COVID-19, planes are cleaned and disinfected after each trip. Making the surfaces as clean as they have ever been. Most airlines are even spraying specialized disinfectants on seats, armrests, air controls, and seat belts.
Brian Kelly, CEO, and founder of The Points Guy, is an avid traveler. Kelly’s company is all about traveling smart. In a recent article, Kelly had the following to say about the cleanliness of the plane he was on.
“Normally planes get turned around for a new flight every hour, and most fights get a very quick cleaning. You can feel the slime on the plane. This was different, it felt and looked spick and span.”
Airlines are encouraging check-in at kiosks and are letting you scan your own boarding pass at the gate. Materials in the seatbacks have been removed, and most airlines are not filling their planes to capacity. Inflight service has also changed to limit contact with flight attendants.
Then there are masks. As far as airports go, most are following local and state guidelines. However, airlines are requiring all passengers to wear masks while on the aircraft. The only exceptions for masks requirements are young children and people with conditions that make breathing through a mask difficult.
In reality, the only person who knows if it is safe for you to fly is you. Airport and airlines across the country are working around the clock to keep you safe. At Yeager Airport, we clean and sanitize pretty much everything you see. We want you to feel comfortable at the airport, and the airlines want you to feel safe flying with them.
Where are you going first? Maybe you’re ready to start crossing destinations off your bucket list, or perhaps you want to go somewhere just because you can. Either way, there are some things you need to consider first before you travel post COVID-19 quarantine. Whether you’re going domestic or international, different places have different restrictions and guidelines.
Are you planning to travel internationally?
Mexico: Popular tourist spots like Cancun, Los Cabos, and Cozumel all have slightly different plans to reopen. However, most places are planning to start opening in some capacity by the first and second week of June. Mexico is already planning a major campaign to get tourists back. Hotel capacity fell to as low as 2.8 percent in Cancun during the height of COVID-19. If you’re planning a trip to your favorite spot in Mexico, it’s best to look up what Mexican state the city is in and see what their plan is for reopening.
Canada: Want to go north of the border? Well, right now, you can’t. The United States and the Canadian border are going to remain closed until June 21st, at least. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says an additional 30-day extension is not out of the question.
Central America: The majority of counties in Central America are shut down to tourists to some extent. The only exception is Nicaragua, which never really shut down. Belize, a popular stop on cruises, is not allowing tourists until at least July 1st. Panama has taken one of the strictest stances out of any country in Central America. Panama citizens are still in quarantine, and the country’s leaders are working on the gradual lifting of restrictions. If you’re planning a trip to Central America this summer or fall, you need to do your research before booking any flights. Each country is doing things differently.
Aruba: It’s looking like July 1st is the day international travelers can head back to Aruba. The Aruba Tourism Authority is asking travelers to contact your hotel and airlines if you already have a trip booked. They are asking you to confirm your hotels are going to be open, and your airline is indeed flying to Aruba.
Bahamas: Each island has different restrictions and different reopening dates. If you’re planning a trip here, make sure you the island you’re going to is open and international travelers are allowed.
Dominican Republic: As of now, tourism is starting on July 1st. However, the countries leaders say that date could change.
These are just a few of the popular spots CRW passengers visit. For a complete list of countries around the world. Including Europe and Asia, check out this article by “The Points Guy.” The material is regularly updated as countries make changes to their guidelines.
Are you wondering about a flight to different states in the United States? Much like the international community, each state’s restrictions and guidelines are different. At CRW, we have flights that go to Washington, D.C., Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Georgia, Illinois, and Florida. And starting later this summer, the seasonal flight to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Washington, D.C.: The nation’s capital started a four-phase reopening process on May 29th. In phase 1, gatherings of 10 or more are prohibited, and restaurants can only do outdoor dining. Outdoor memorials and spaces at the National Mall and memorial parks are open, except for the Washington Monument, Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument, Ford’s Theatre National Historic Site, and Old Post Office Tower Tour.
North Carolina: North Carolina is in phase 2 of their “Safer at Home” reopening plan. This phase runs through at least June 26th. The biggest question for North Carolina, are beaches open? Each beach is open to a different degree; most of the popular ones are open to some degree, though. Retail is open at 50 percent capacity, as are restaurants. Large venues, like sports stadiums, are open but with restrictions. Indoor music venues, bars, bowling alleys, etc. are still closed.
Georgia: Most businesses in Georgia are open with restrictions.
Illinois: Illinois has a five-phased reopening plan. It splits the state into four regions that can move through the five phases at different times. However, all four areas are in phase three right now. In phase three, bars and restaurants are open for delivery, pickup, and drive through only. Retail stores are open, but with capacity limits. State parks are open. Activities with ten or fewer people are permitted.
Florida: Florida has a four-phase plan to reopen. The state is currently in phase two. Universal Studios Florida, Islands of Adventure, and the Volcano Bay water park are planning to open on June 5th. SeaWorld Orlando is preparing a June 10th reopening, and Walt Disney World theme parks are planning to reopen on July 11th. When these parks open, capacity is going to be limited; guests will have to wear masks and get their temperature taken upon arrival. Bars and restaurants across much of Florida are opening on June 5th. This does not include Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties. Restaurants and bars are going to operate at 50 percent capacity. Entertainment venues like movie theaters, concert houses, bowling alleys, and arcades are also opening at 50 percent capacity on June 5th.
South Carolina: South Carolina’s stay-at-home order expired on May 4th. Beaches, restaurants, bars, and retail stores are open. Some of these businesses have their own guidelines.
If we did not cover your final destination, here is a complete list of all the state’s restrictions and guidelines!
The skies have missed you. They are eagerly awaiting your return. When you decide to jet again is, of course, up to you. However, states across the country are starting to ease COVID-19 restrictions, and Yeager Airport is hard at work putting plans in place to keep you safe and comfortable when you walk through our doors.
Yeager Airport, in partnership with Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA) along with hundreds of other member airports, is busy planning to welcome you back to travel. Our staff has been on weekly strategy calls since the beginning of the pandemic. ACI-NA has put together a passenger survey to assist airports in planning for post-COVID-19 travel.
We are asking all of our passengers, former, current, and future, to take this short survey (Available Here). We want you to feel comfortable coming to CRW. Your answers ensure that we can provide for you a safe and comfortable experience at Yeager Airport.
Thank you in advance for your time and answers! Stay safe, and #FlyCRW.
The Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA) is the voice of North American airports, representing local, regional and state governing bodies that own and operate commercial airports in the United States and Canada. ACI-NA is the largest of the five worldwide regions of the Airports Council International (ACI). Our members represent more than 300 airports operating in the United States and Canada and nearly 400 aviation-related businesses. More at https://airportscouncil.org/.