Despite the slowdown in domestic and international travel, travelling by aeroplane is even more stressful than ever. Airports may not be as busy as they were pre-COVID, but restrictions and health precautions have tightened up dramatically.
Whilst you cannot control the virus and the potential for it to be in the airport or aeroplane, we can prepare to minimise the risk of infection. In addition to ‘COVID-Precautions’ that should mitigate your risk of infection whilst flying, we also take a look at some more general tips for making flying a much more relaxing, even pleasurable experience…
Flying during the COVID-19 pandemic
Business trips don’t stop for pandemic! Well, many of them do, but more flights are now in motion and more people are travelling for business – although most of us discovered that video conferencing can do the same job 95% of the time!
With 3 people testing positive for COVID on a domestic flight recently (more information on this here), flying is still pretty scary.
According to Dr Mike Hansen, a regular mask or surgical mask probably won’t stop you inhaling via airborne transmission if the virus is in the air nearby.
Wearing an N95 respirator mask or an Elastometric Respirator filter out 95% of particles that are the size of the COVID virus. However, government officials have asked people not to buy these masks, as there is limited supply and should be reserved for healthcare workers – although it does seem a little strange that there aren’t enough masks, this far into a pandemic.
The N95 is pretty uncomfortable, and need sterilising after each flight. The government has said it is fine to buy an Elastomeric Respirator Mask, which you can get from Amazon. Dr Mike Hansen also recommends wrap around glasses of some kind, cheap motorcycle glasses or sunglasses will do the job.
Finally – after consulting with your doctor, consider supplementing with vitamin C and vitamin D.
If you are flying during the COVID pandemic, you may wish to pack some additional hand sanitizer and alcohol wipes. Also consider a face shield, goggles.
Moving on to more general travel tips, if you can figure out a system that works for you flying of any kind can be enjoyable, or at least less stressful.
Have 1 or 2 airlines
If possible stick to 1 or 2 airlines. As a result, you will likely get premier statuses with the airlines if you travel regularly. For example, you may have extra legroom seats for free, free upgrades and perks related to baggage handling. A free upgrade on a 3 or 4-hour flight, can feel like a million-dollar celebrity flight in comparison to the standard flights.
You can also build up travel points with specific airlines this way, meaning you might be able to redeem more freebies.
Consider purchasing a specific bag, handbag, suitcase, fanny pack or man bag that you use specifically for flying.
Ideally, the bag will have a zip-pocket for cash, a section where you can keep your tickets, passport and other paper documents.
This will save you searching and panicking, looking for documents as you fly.
Inside the bag, consider keeping a ‘Work Folio’. With the Bellroy work folio, you can keep most things you would typically find on your desk, in the A4 wallet. Presumably minus the desktop computer monitor. You can learn more about the product in this Youtube video here.
One thing to remember – always have a pen to hand, ideally in a specific place or a specific penholder that can be easily accessed.
If you have a long flight, it can be a good idea to get some work done. A laptop – fully charged or with a charger. You may also be able to get work done on your mobile phone. If this is the case then consider investing in a portable phone charger.
Noise-cancelling headphones can also be a great idea for longer flights. They help to minimise distractions and keep you in the zone as you focus on your work.
A quality suitcase is a must if you are a frequent flyer. The Briggs & Riley luggage range, typically come with an extended warranty – sometimes a lifetime warranty. This is great because, if your suitcase gets damaged, they will fix it for free.
What you put in the suitcase, it pretty much up to you but consider adding in clothes (obviously), spare clothes, a travel kit containing a toothbrush, paste, hair gel, deodorant and a coffee maker! Yes, because the hotel coffee tends to be expensive and often pretty nasty, so consider taking a travel kettle and a portable coffee maker.
Tripcase is great because it has all your flights stored on there, your hotel booking and you can add notes – for example where to pick up the car or any keys. It also has recommendations in regards to where to eat, what’s on and where to get some evening entertainment.
If you own a business, phone answering apps or services can help to make sure that you don’t miss any important calls whilst you’re on your flight. Some of the higher quality phone answering services will provide you with a dedicated receptionist, who will know your business in detail – just like a full-time hire.
Don’t take the red-eye flight
A controversial tip! It can be the most expensive flight, and you might have to get up about 4 am (if you live an hour from the airport). You’re never going to perform too well if you are meeting a client or doing a presentation in the morning.
Consider choosing the last flight out the night before.