Experts: Best not to fly anywhere over the holidays

Health experts advise against flying during the holiday season because of the high level of coronavirus infection across the U.S.

In a December 9, 2020, article in Condé Nast Traveler, several experts advised against flying and said that those who do choose to fly should take multiple precautions. Among those quoted was Leonard Marcus, lecturer on public health practice in the Department of Health Policy and Management at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and founding co-director of the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative.

The experts’ recommendations included wearing a mask during the entire trip, considering a face shield for eye protection, maintaining distance from others, and washing or sanitizing your hands frequently.

The experts also recommended not eating during flights if possible and bringing food from home if you will need to eat. Said Marcus, “In any indoor environment, the less you remove your mask, the better. On an airplane, if you are going to eat or drink, ensure that others around you are wearing their masks; remove your mask for as little time as possible, and, if possible, use a straw.”

Marcus noted that air is drawn out of airplane bathrooms through ventilation systems, which reduces exposure to the virus. But he advised travelers to carefully wash and sanitize their hands after touching bathroom surfaces.

Given that the riskiest part of flying is when people are lined up to board or leave the plane, it’s probably safer to take one long flight instead of two shorter ones, the experts said. But Marcus added, “The longer one is on a plane, the higher the potential risks.”

Read the Condé Nast Traveler article: All Your Holiday Air Travel Questions, Answered