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Flying with masks, shields, and socially distancing when flying is something that we all, unfortunately, need to get used to now.
Traveling now is a whole new world.
I’m sharing with you how I successfully traveled to another country safely and soundly. If I can do it, you can too. 🙂
It’s unfortunate that there are new rules in place (necessary, but a total bummer) but I felt safe and it was easy breezy.
For reference, I traveled from Las Vegas → San Francisco →Tel Aviv, Israel.
There are a few perks to traveling right now:
- Fewer people! To be honest, the heavy foot traffic in airports always kind of freaked me out. I was never a fan of being next to so many people. It’s pretty empty in the airports.
- Everything is being sanitized. Hello, why were airports and airplanes not doing this before?!?
- Food and snacks are now individually packaged for sanitary reasons. I LOVE this. Fewer germs floating around my food. Thank You.
What to expect at the airport
There are marks on the floor showing where to stand and reminders throughout the airport to socially distance. If this is something that worries you, don’t let it. In my experience, everyone was socially distancing and spreading out.
There are far fewer people traveling these days so there is more room to spread out and sit comfortably.
Almost all of the restaurants and bars were closed where I traveled. I was able to buy a water bottle from Hudson and ate the snacks that I brought.
Before you fly, check out which kiosks or restaurants are open for business.
You will be asked to remove your mask when you get to security and show your ID. It’s quick and there is plexiglass between you and TSA. In my experience, they spread us out between all of the security checks so there was maybe 1 other person where I was.
Try your best not to touch the bins at security, escalator railing, and the poles on the tram if you need to take it. I had to take a tram and I just put my booty next to the railing to keep me stable.
One tip I have for you is to keep your hand sanitizer or wipes in an easily accessible area. The last thing you want to do is rummage through your carry on and spread germs.
I clipped my hand sanitizer to the outside of my bag and kept wipes in a pocket towards the outside of my backpack.
What to expect on the airplane
On my first flight from Las Vegas to San Francisco, the plane was packed. I flew with United Airlines and they fill every seat, even the middle ones. It was a bit squishy, but I felt ok.
They handed us all disinfecting wipes when we boarded and double-checked that we all had masks on. You will be reminded many times to please keep your mask on above your nose. The flight attendants repeated this many times.
Disposable masks with a face shield looked quite popular in the airport. I decided to veto my shield because it makes me way too claustrophobic – especially on an airplane, but do what makes you feel comfortable.
Snacks were individually wrapped as well as my meals on my long-haul flight to Tel Aviv. All drinks are served as usual which I find to be ok since they give you the can you order and never refill cups.
When I boarded my flight from San Francisco to Tel Aviv, it smelled like cleaning products.
Everything looked spotless and they handed us extra disinfecting wipes to wipe down our seats, armrests, seat belts, and tray tables.
Things to note directly from the United website:
- United uses state-of-the-art, hospital-grade, high-efficiency (HEPA) filters during the entire flight to circulate air and remove 99.97% of airborne particles.
- They deplane in groups of 5
- UVC lighting wands are used to disinfect sensitive components like switches and touchscreen displays in our pilot flight decks
- Electrostatic spraying to disinfect most aircraft before departure.
Read more about United’s Covid related safety measures here.
Tips for long haul flights with a mask
My biggest piece of advice is to change your mask throughout your travel day. Every few hours put on a new mask. If you’re using disposable masks, throw it away and grab a new one.
If you use a cloth mask like me, bring a couple of small bags (ziplock bags work well) and put away your used mask in the bag and bring out a new one.
I brought four different masks to change from and it made me feel so much cleaner.
Masks are taken off when eating and drinking so my tip is to switch the masks after you’re done eating.
Tips for flying during the pandemic
- Bring your own sanitizing wipes and hand sanitizer. Do not rely on airports to always provide this.
- Bring your own food. If it’s a short flight, pack your own snacks. If you’re taking a long flight like mine, I recommend packing a sandwich or other meals that won’t go bad. Not everything is open in the airports, so it’s best to come prepared.
- Bring something to store your masks. This can be a ziplock bag or any other bag that zips up and can be stored in your carry on. Label your bags ‘clean masks’ and ‘dirty masks’ to keep it sanitary.
- Take your vitamins. I recommend taking airborne or another vitamin you like while flying.
- Essential Oils. This one is a game-changer! Put some essential oil on your wrists, neck, and even in your mask.
Before you book your flight
If you will be traveling abroad or traveling to Israel like me, it is so important to make sure you have the right documents.
Please refer to this website before your travels to Israel.
Triple check your passport before you fly and do this a few months ahead.
Renewing passports and applying for passports is taking longer than usual so please refer to this website for more information.
Visit their website for passport renewal information and if you’re flying to Israel, please check that you have your Israeli passport or a letter from the government allowing you to enter.
You CANNOT enter if you do not have an Israeli passport or special government letter.
If you have any symptoms before your flight, be courteous and reschedule. Airlines are encouraging you to buy insurance for your flight to make any changes.
Before your trip, look up quarantine requirements for the country you will be entering.
Traveling to Israel Requirements:
Before boarding your flight to Israel, you will be asked to show proof of quarantine arrangements. There is an email that will be sent to you 24 hours before you fly. Have this filled out, printed, and ready to show.
Once you show these documents, you will receive a stamp stating you have been approved to board.
The line for this stamp at the gate got very long so do it right as they open.
Traveling to Israel Quarantine requirements are different than in the US. You are required to stay isolated for two weeks upon landing.
Prepare necessary arrangements prior to travel
Traveling tips for nervous flyers
- Stay distracted – Focus on staying present by listening to an audiobook, podcast, or some music. It’s also a good idea to bring a book or magazine to focus on.
- There is natural medication you can take to calm your nerves. Melatonin for sleep, L-Theanine to reduce any anxiety, and CBD oils or gummies. Do your research, but look into it if you’re interested in relaxing the mind and body.
- Pay attention to the flight attendants. If they’re not nervous, neither should you.
- Bring your own tea bags and ask for hot water on the plane. Chamomile tea reduces anxiety.
- Essential Oils – I like to call it magic. One sniff of lavender and relaxation begins. Valerian, Jasmin, and Bergamot are great essential oils to calm the nerves.
- Avoid caffeinated and sugary drinks such as coffee and soda. Your goal is to relax the body, not stimulate it.
- Before you fly, get a good workout in. Get the body moving because it can ease anxiety. Not only is working out good for emotional health, but it’s good for mental health too.
- Meditate and practice breathing – so many of us forget to breathe throughout the day. Sounds silly because we all breathe, but take deep belly breathes and focus on quieting the mind. Apps such as Calm and Headspace are great for this. You can also find meditation videos on Youtube.
- Sit towards the front of the plane – it is far less bumpy in the front.
- Sleep – Bring whatever will make you feel the most relaxed to get some zzz’s. Sleeping will help the time pass by so that you don’t need to think about being in the air.
I wish you safe and easy travels, whether you’re traveling within the US or anywhere internationally. My hope is that this blog post brings you guidance and courage before you leave.
Feel free to ask any additional questions and download my pre-flight checklist ↓↓