COVID-19 – Top Tips On Travelling Through Airports Safely
Thanks to the FCO’s recent update to its global advisory against ‘all but essential’ travel, exempting certain destinations that no longer pose an unacceptably high risk for British travellers, we can now head abroad this summer to those places that are allowed.
But along with when we’re on board a plane, the experience of travelling through the airport will have changed too, with safety regarding COVID-19 a top priority.
Across the world the safety measures at airports will be different depending on what country it’s located in and that government’s response to the coronavirus. But generally, when you next arrive at an airport it’s likely to look a bit different, from screens at checkpoints and roped-off bars to floor markings and hand sanitiser stations.
Wherever you’re travelling to and from, there are plenty of things you can personally do to boost the safety of yourself and those around you. Here are our top tips for travelling through airports safely.
Research your airports ahead of time
The safety measures and rules implemented at different airports around the world vary drastically. In countries like the UK, where the COVID-19 pandemic has hit hard, governments have implemented regulations that both staff and passengers must adhere to. After the base rules, different airports’ approaches will differ. For instance, some are carrying out temperature checks, while others have shut the vast majority of their shops. It’s important to check the rules at the airports you’re flying to and from ahead of time to ensure you have everything you need in order to follow them. Even if you find yourself passing through a country where the safety measures are lacking, it’s wise to err on the side of caution so as not to risk your health and the health of others.
Wear a mask
While it’s mandatory to wear a mask on all forms of public transport including aircraft, they should also be worn throughout your time in the airport. For added protection gloves are also a good option. Touching an infected surface and then touching your face is the most common way to catch COVID-19, and studies have shown that people wearing gloves touch their face less frequently. Meanwhile, face masks have been shown to protect those around you in the case that you’re infected with the coronavirus yourself. Remember: just because you’re asymptomatic, it doesn’t mean you’re not carrying the disease. While some airports give out masks and gloves to travellers who don’t have their own, the safest way to be sure you’ll be allowed to travel is to source your own in plenty of time for your journey.
Pack antibacterial wipes and hand gel in your cabin bag
Regularly washing your hands is the best way to protect yourself from COVID-19. However, as we’ve all become aware, it’s not always possible to wash your hands every time you touch a surface or a product. This becomes even trickier when you’re in transit. So while we should all strive to wash our hands as much as possible during our travels, packing antibacterial wipes and hand gel in your cabin bag will help you to stay safe when you can’t get to a sink. Antibacterial wipes are not considered a liquid, so travellers can pack as many as they like. However, the limit on liquids at security remains 100ml, so bear this in mind regarding your hand gel.
Pre-book a security slot
Long security queues are a common pain point for travellers making their way through airports. Amidst the pandemic, avoiding large groups of people wherever possible is a good idea making security queues even less attractive. Fortunately, there is a way around this. Some airports are offering pre-booked security slots, allowing travellers to be fast-tracked through the queue and arrive airside swiftly. Taking advantage of this means you’ll be fast tracked in a dedicated lane straight to the security checkpoint. Sound good? You’ll want to book early as slots are limited.
Respect floor markings and maintain a safe social distance
Airports are doing all they can to help travellers stay safe by social distancing. This includes screens at checkpoints, socially distanced seating, closed shops, and markings on the floor. One of the most important things you can do to protect yourself and those around you from COVID-19 is to stay at least two metres away from people who are not part of your household. While social distancing may be slightly more difficult in an airport than in other settings, if you follow the signage and floor markings, you should be able to complete your journey at a safe distance.