I haven’t flown since late February so it’s almost been a year since I’ve stepped foot on an aircraft. Can you believe it’s been that long since this pandemic started?! Prior to 2020, my longest absence from flying in my adult life was about a month so I’m obviously eager to get back to the skies.
But … I’m not that eager, after reading about new COVID-19 variants that are reportedly much more contagious than the first strain of this virus. And some medical experts warn that this makes flying even more risky. While there have been a few studies indicating how safe airplanes are because of their HEPA air filtration systems, I’ve always had a hard time fully trusting that because these studies were funded by the airlines/travel industry.
There have also been a couple of damaging news stories the last few days, especially one out of Canada where they actually disclose how many people test positive for COVID-19 upon landing:
Two entire planes affected by COVID days after Canada implements negative test requirement
At least 72 international flights land in Canada with infected passengers since negative test requirement began Jan. 7.
All rows. That’s how Health Canada described the impact of two Air Transat flights that landed in Montreal from Haiti this week, purportedly carrying so many infected passengers that everybody on board was at risk. (Toronto Sun
The other story is about 49 travelers who tested positive at Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle airport on Sunday. Coming from different countries, they all went to Shanghai and were placed in solitary confinement. New tests, the results of which are expected, were carried out on Monday. (24 News)
For these and other reasons, I don’t plan to get on a plane until I get vaccinated and COVID-19 numbers go way down since I have two little kids and a history of asthma. I don’t want to take any chances.
However, I do know many people who are willing to chance it or simply have to fly for one reason or another. One of their concerns/complaints is how to wear a mask for so long on an airplane and what to do to make it more comfortable.
British publication The Mirror interviewed
a TUI flight attendant and when asked if she had any tips for customers wearing masks on flights, she had some good suggestions.
Huwaida Maxwell, a 40-year-old, Gatwick- based cabin crew member who has been flying short- and long-hauls for 13 years.
Here’s her advice:
“Fabric masks are better for a longer flight time providing you change them on a regular basis, around every three to four hours. I always wash my personal one with fabric conditioner as it smells really nice. While working, we wear surgical ones which we change regularly.”