Outlander Editors’ Take: Air Travel During the Holidays


Photo provided by Carissa Vergeres. Mia Cammarota and Carissa Vergeres aboard their flight to Denver.

Written by Mia Cammarota and Carissa Vergeres

The holidays are among us, and the travel season is in full swing, but with the coronavirus, how safe is traveling by air and what precautions are being taken? After quarantining for the past nine months, the editors of The Woodgrove Outlander decided to take a trip to Colorado and document every step of the way. 

The trip was originally planned in late August, before the recent surge of coronavirus cases. After the spike in November, and a re-evaluation of safety, considering we would be spending our time mainly outdoors, we continued with our travel plans. Our main concern was air travel safety, but a mass of comforting statistics outlining the safety of plane travel put our minds at ease. According to CNN statistics, there’s “fresh air every two to three minutes, and most planes are filtered with air filters designed to trap 99.9% of particles.” 

Upon boarding the plane for Denver, we noticed the flight was mostly empty, and the few people aboard were wearing masks. The routine United Airlines safety video also delivered reassurance that staff was wiping down high-exposure areas, and disinfectant was being sprayed over the entirety of the plane following each flight. Throughout the journey, flight attendants ensured passengers kept their masks on unless actively eating or drinking. 

While our plane had few passengers, United’s capacity protocol allows planes to reach full capacity, along with most major airlines. Currently, the only airline that plans to continue to limit seating is Delta. The limitations Delta is taking includes keeping all middle seats vacant. “Medical experts, including our own partners at Emory Healthcare, agree – more distance on board makes a difference,’ said Bill Lentsch, Chief Customer Experience Officer. ‘We believe that taking care of our customers and employees and restoring confidence in the safety of air travel is more important right now than filling up every seat on a plane.” 

Overall, our experience while traveling during the COVID-19 pandemic left us feeling safe and risk-free after taking all possible precautions. Our trip consisted of all outdoor activities, which helped us have a Covid-friendly vacation. When deciding to travel somewhere mainly indoors, following the CDC guidelines by wearing masks, social distancing, using hand sanitizer, etc., should ensure safety. This time of uncertainty is difficult for everyone, and taking a spontaneous trip may be just what you need– remember to be safe and have fun.