Is Airline Travel Safe in the Post-COVID Era with CF?
As the newly vaccinated US begins emerging from the terrible control of COVID-19, many people are eager to dust off their suitcases and passports and finally start traveling again. After a year of staying put, it’s exciting that the ability to travel to new places (or past favorites) is once again an option. Maybe you have friends or family that you are eager to see again but aren’t sure if it’s the right choice. At this point, the question remains: How safe is airline travel in the post-COVID era for people living with cystic fibrosis? Are there extra safety considerations to take into account?
After flying cross-country with my family a few weeks ago, I feel I can share my thoughts to those future travelers before they begin their journey.
Is airline travel safe post-COVID?
It’s hard to determine how safe airline travel is during this time. Even though COVID infection rates are down and vaccine availability is up, it really depends on your own individual risk factors that will determine if flying is safe. Some things to consider before making the decision include:
- How’s your CF and overall health right now?
- Will you be fully vaccinated against COVID-19?
- Are you able to tolerate a mask for the entire flight?
- Where are you going and who are you seeing?
The answers to these questions may help guide you in deciding when it's safe to travel or if there are actions you can take prior to traveling to make it safer.
Ever-changing safety protocols
As businesses open up and safety protocols lessen all over the country, I expect airlines' safety protocols to be ever-changing and updated frequently. Currently, even across airlines, there are different protocols. Some airlines take your temperature before boarding, do not offer refreshments, or clean the aircraft more often than others.1 If you’re interested in knowing what to expect to best protect yourself, make sure you research the current guidelines when booking your flight through different airlines. There may be an airline that you are more comfortable flying with in comparison to another.
For example with our flights, our temperatures were taken prior to boarding but every seat was filled in the aircraft. We all had to wear our masks the entirety of the flight including our three-year-old son (who thankfully wears a mask like a pro). However, people could take them off to eat or drink. On the flight, I felt mostly safe because I am fully vaccinated, but would be weary if I wasn’t just because of how full the flight was and inability to wear a mask properly.
People with CF fly safely
The good news is people with CF generally know how to keep themselves healthy in busy airports and packed airplanes because it’s something we have practiced long before COVID. We are the pros on infection control! Many people with CF do the following things to stay healthy while flying:
- Wear a mask
- Avoid touching their face
- Disinfected their seat and surrounding area
- Wash hands and change clothes after flight
- Do not travel when sick
It’s a good idea to continue implementing whatever safety practices you are used to with a dash of extra vigilance during this time. Fly smart and you’ll be able to enjoy your trip by staying healthy!
Are you comfortable flying right now? What helped make your decision? Share with us below!
Have you (or a loved one) been experiencing any negative side effects from Trikafta?