What is the Safest Airline to Travel in the Pandemic
Analysis of the popular airlines and the protocols they are using to keep us safe
One of the most worrying things about traveling in this pandemic is safety. Everywhere you see distancing and not hanging out with people as one of the number one rules to be safe. However, in an airplane, it is very difficult to maintain this protocol.
For that reason, airlines have reinvented themselves to offer us the greatest possible security inside an airplane and to make this “dangerous” experience as safe and calm as possible.
I had the opportunity to travel with four airlines in the last 10 months. And after this experience, I can tell you that I have a favorite. Although all of them try to maintain as much security as possible, there are some that have better protocols that will help you keep your distance and security.
So I will be doing an analysis of each of them and the protocols that followed, to help you make a decision the next time you travel.
First, masks are mandatory on all airlines at all airports. Also, all the airlines are cleaning their airplanes before you can enter.
A recent modeling study estimates the universal use of surgical masks in settings with the ventilation rates of an aircraft may reduce infection risk from respiratory particles to less than 1%. So it is proven that if you travel with your mask on the entire trip, there is no risk of infection.
I am going to start with this airline because it has been the “less good” experience I have had of all the ones I have traveled. I’m not saying it was completely traumatic, but they could honestly do better.
With American Airlines, the flight was completely full. There wasn’t even a seat leftover. I had to sit next to an older person I didn’t know. For me, it was not a problem, but the man felt a bit uncomfortable.
They did not give us any food for security reasons, but you could bring food that you bought inside the airport. For me, this is an excuse to save money. Because if eating is allowed anyway, why would only their food be the problem?
You can fit up to 12 ounces of hand sanitizer in your carryon or backpack. But they don’t offer you any cleaning supplies.
There is no protocol for entering the plane. It is the same as always, in order of payment, if you are from group 1 you go ahead, if you are from the last group you go to the end. People keep accumulating in the lines when you walk in.
The only positive thing about this flight was that when it landed, we were leaving in order. the others remained seated until it was their turn to leave.
On some flights, if you can’t travel, you can keep the full value of your original ticket but will need to pay the fare difference if your new flight is more expensive. If your new flight is less expensive, you’ll get the fare difference in the form of travel credit to use on a future trip.
Example: If you paid $500 for your flight and change to a new flight that costs $300, you’ll receive $200 in travel credit for a future trip.
Delta has been the best experience I have ever had in the pandemic. From purchasing flights to landing at your destination, they have excellent protocols.
First, they are not selling the middle seat unless you go with a partner. They have flight insurance that allows you to change it in case you cannot travel on that date, even if you bought the economy.
They notify you in the mobile app when they clean the plane and the products they have used, and when they clean the plane and the products they have used.
To board the plane, they are doing it from back to front. This allows no rows in the middle of the corridor when people are looking at their seats. When you go in they give you a disinfectant napkin to clean your hands (or seat if you want).
They give you the food in a sealed bag with hand sanitizer and napkins. They also collect garbage with gloves and protection.
To exit the plane, they go down from front to back, giving those in front time to get out without creating disorder.
United just some seats to keep the social distance between customers unless you are traveling with a partner.
They are following a protocol for entering the plane from back to front and boarding fewer customers at a time. When you are entering the plane, you have to self-scan your boarding passes to avoid touching other hands unnecessarily.
There is a distance in waiting rooms and lines, and you can only seat on specifics chairs. They are disinfecting high-touch areas such as charging stations, counters, and seats and providing hand sanitizer stations everywhere.
Providing individual hand sanitizer wipes for customers when they enter the plane and go out. For the food, they are offering limited meals per purchase and water only if you ask. In addition, they are offering additional masks to those who need them.
Jetblue and Delta have the same protocol. Even though I travel with a companion, they did not let me select the middle seat, so my partner and I were with social distance inside the plane.
I had no complaints with them. It was a fairly safe and quiet experience on the plane. They even gave my brother a mask because they did not consider the mask he was wearing safe (masks with vents and valves are not permitted).
They offer food on the plane in a little bag just like Delta. For purchase is limited, but you can bring your own food inside the plane. If your flight is long, you have to bring your own travel pillow & blanket (Because they are not currently giving onboard).
If you are going to travel, I recommend that you visit the considerations and protocol page of the airline you are going to choose, in this way you will know what you need to take and all the rules that they are following to keep us safe.
I hope these tips help you make a decision for your next flight. What experience have you had traveling in this pandemic that you would like to share?