Has coronavirus made air travel cheaper?
The Points Guy travel editor Melanie Lieberman discusses airline cancellation policies amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Even though many flights have been grounded because of the coronavirus outbreak, air travel hasn’t completely come to a standstill.
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Some people still need to fly for work or personal reasons — including college students returning home as campuses are closing down.
Whatever the reason, it’s important for passengers to practice good hygiene while on the plane to avoid getting sick.
Ultimately, the best things to do on a plane should be done everywhere, specifically washing your hands and touching your face less often, Dr. Krystina Woods, director of Infection Prevention at Mount Sinai West in New York said.
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“If your hands are not the cleanest and then you're going and touching your face with your dirty hands, then you have the potential of contracting any virus, not just coronavirus,” Woods told FOX Business.
She also said that people who have to sneeze or cough should use a tissue — and immediately throw it away — or their elbow or sleeve and immediately wash their hands, so they don’t contaminate anything else.
Dr. Robert Amler, the dean of New York Medical College’s School of Health Sciences and Practice, told FOX Business that it makes sense for some people to also wipe down or spray their immediate area with sanitizer.
“It depends on how concerned you are as an individual and how much effort you want to go to,” he said. “But it seems that there's very little harm in doing a little wiping when you first get set in your space and if it gives you reassurance that you've cleaned the area, so much the better.”
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Airlines do thoroughly clean their cabins, Woods said. Many airlines have even added to their already extensive procedures in light of COVID-19, TODAY reported.
Passengers sitting in a window seat are less likely to be infected — but only because they’re less likely to get up, Woods said, citing a study from 2018.
“There's really nothing magical about the window seat itself,” she said. “Yes, you're a little bit further from the aisle, so people walking up and down, you might have some less contact, but it's more about the behavior of you getting up and moving.”
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The one thing Woods recommended against was people wearing masks when they aren't sick, because of the potential to touch their faces even more.
“For somebody who's not used to [wearing a mask], you end up touching your face so much more with that mask on,” Woods said. “By doing all of that, you're actually contaminating the mask. And so you're not really helping yourself. And if anything, once you contaminate it, you have basically a perfect environment because then you're keeping that virus in, behind the mask and you're incubating it.”
People who are sick and coughing should wear masks, though, "to keep those droplets from getting out beyond them," Amler said.
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They should also cancel any travel plans and say home, he added. "And they shouldn't be coughing all over the cabin and all over their tray table. These are kind of commonsense things.”
On Wednesday, President Trump announced a 30-day travel ban from European countries as a way to slow the spread of COVID-19.
The president extended the ban over the weekend to include the U.K. and Ireland and is “looking at the possibility of domestic travel restrictions as well,” Fox News reported Saturday.
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