AUTHOR’S NOTE: The COVID-19 pandemic has progressed significantly since this story was published at the beginning of March and recommendations for travel have changed. Please consult more recent guidance from government authorities in informing your plans.
COVID-19: It’s here, it’s spreading, and it has people very worried. Public health authorities everywhere are hard at work containing this newest coronavirus strain, but the global ripple effects are already huge. And as with previous infectious disease outbreaks air travel is getting a lot of scrutiny as a potential means of disease spread across borders.
Feeling stressed? Here’s two adorable teddy bears on a flying hospital on an MD-11 – Photo: Orbis International
There’s no certainty about how far the disease will spread and how the aviation world will respond. But since some of you may have trips on the books or plans in the works, I wanted to take a brief moment to share some thoughts and resources. We discuss the basics of the virus, the level of risk if you fly during the epidemic, how to reduce your risk, whether you need to change your flight plans, and how coronavirus is impacting the aviation industry.
Before we dive into things, two big caveats:
- I’m a physician in my day job, but I’m NOT a trained public health professional or an infectious disease specialist. You should be paying closest attention to the updates and recommendations of trustworthy sources like the CDC and WHO.
- This story is evolving fast, so no guarantees that everything in here is up to date at the time you read this.
Read on for a quick take on the state of flying in the era of COVID-19, and what the epidemic may mean for you.
No matter how much you love flying, you’ve got to admit it can take a toll on your body and mind. Arriving at the airport late is stressful, TSA security checkpoints are hectic, and airplanes are dry. Air travel can bump your blood pressure up a few points and leave you feeling exhausted and dehydrated. And with chronic diseases like high blood pressure affecting tens of millions of Americans, those increased stress levels can definitely do some damage.
Oakland-based healthcare consortium Kaiser Permanente, which cares for millions of Americans, recently helped Oakland Airport redesign its Terminal 2 TSA security checkpoint to make it a more wellness-oriented space. With new H20-to-go machines, outdoorsy imagery, and even a massive living wall, we think they did a pretty solid job. Read on for more photo highlights!
Mexicana Airbus A320 in Las Vegas
If you read the main headlines of most new sources it seems the world might end soon with the Swine Flu outbreak. Although not as bad as the media hypes it, some are still concerned about travel. Because of this some airlines are waiving change fees for flights through Mexico.
It is estimated that about 1,600 have been infected and about 149 deaths in Mexico, and airlines don’t want to put people out for wanting to cancel or change their flights. The airlines that are offerring no change fees (with some restrictions of course):
– United Airlines
– American Airlines
– Mexicana Airlines
– Continental Airlines
– US Airways
– Air Canada
Hopefully this will all be over soon!
Source: AP Image: ~C~U~B~B~I~E~