How safe is it for us to travel during Covid-19 times? This is a question that has been asked by many over the last two years. How can we stay safe when there is an urgent need to fly?
Whilst we are not recommending anyone to take risks during the Covid-19 pandemic, we understand that there may be certain reasons for people to fly. We have caught up with one of our colleagues – W, who has recently flown to Hong Kong has given us an insight into her journey and tips on flying during the pandemic:
Stay up to date with the government’s advice for both countries
When it comes to travelling by plane during Covid-19, we cannot stress the importance for passengers to be aware of the current situation and advise from health authorities in the present country and the destination country as these will vary.
On the Hong Kong government’s website, they have created a list of accepted vaccinations, which means, I have had to ensure the vaccinations I have taken in the UK are listed on the government’s website. This is important as the Hong Kong immigration will ask you to declare the vaccinations you have had before you are allowed to enter at the airport.
Avoid close contact with other people especially when you are having symptoms of Covid-19
Again, this is something we should be practising even when we are not travelling, but with the run-up towards the flight, we tend to be more anxious and could potentially ignore any potential symptoms that may arise. Fortunately, I have had no symptoms and haven’t been anywhere besides visiting the office, shopping for groceries and necessities, and occasional shopping for clothes.
In the office of Air For Life office, every colleague does regular lateral flow tests and keep each other updated on any symptoms so I felt confident whenever I visit the office prior to my flight. Air For Life has been very accommodating when it came to working from home, but for me personally, I do prefer to have the option to choose where I would like to work.
Consider carrying your own food and water
There are limitations in what type of food and drinks we are allowed to take through immigration, but there are shops on the airside which sells bottles drinks that are over 100ml and food and snacks. Use this opportunity to stock up (reasonably) so you won’t need to rely on aeroplane food. This may seem strange, but I was most concerned when the food was served on the plane, this is the moment when most passengers will be removing their face coverings and face masks to eat.
Wash your hands regularly
We listen to the government’s advice of ‘hands, face, space’, however, this can be difficult to follow when you are on a plane with over 100 passengers at the same time in a confined space. Although every passenger was physically distanced from each other, there are things we can do to protect ourselves.
One of the first things I did was to take out my antibacterial wipes and wiped down the tray tables, the screen, and the armrest because those would be the three areas where I will touch during my 12-hour flight. I also took my own pillow and a blanket to ensure I am as comfortable as I can.
A trusted hand sanitiser was also within reach for times where I was unable to use the lavatory.
Choose your face mask or covering carefully
Although there are reasons why some people are unable to wear a face mask or covering, Hong Kong has strict requirements for face masks – everyone must wear a mask when they are in a public area.
I have brought an AFL Mask® with me during my flight. This is because the AFL Mask® is a NIOSH-approved N99+ mask, which means the mask can filter out at least 99.99% of airborne particles.
The AFL Mask® uses a 4-stage filter system which – the first layer of the filteris an antibacterial cotton that blocks dust and large particles, it is then followed by an activated carbon filter that prevents odours and harmful gases from being inhaled, the third layer uses a nano-filter ion filtrete™ technology that removes particles of up to 0.3microns allowing harmful bacteria and viruses such as staphylococcus aureus and e-coli from inhaled, the last filter is the same antibacterial cotton that increases the protection.
By now, I am sure you would believe the mask would make it difficult to breathe, but believe me, this is the exact opposite. The 4-stage filters offer the protection, whilst the built-in fan provided continuous airflow whilst wearing the mask. During my 12-hour flight, I had used the mask and it provided me with 12 hours of continuous airflow. The hypoallergenic silica gel nose and mouth cover meant I did not have any markings on my face.
Those that wears spectacles will understand this – when I wore my spectacles with the AFL Mask®, not once did they fog up, thanks to the hypoallergenic silica gel nose and mouth cover.
As my trip is relatively short, I did not need to worry about changing the filter. This is because the pollution levels in Hong Kong during January is relatively low when compared to other months in the year, and I can use the same filter for up to one and a half months in Hong Kong.
Whilst Air For Life and I do not recommend anyone to travel unless it is absolutely necessary, I do hope this has provided some insights on how the AFL Mask® works and how convenient it is when compared to using single-use masks.
If you are looking to get your hands on an AFL Mask, click here.
Depending on your destination, your destination country will require certain rules to be followed prior to your arrival.
I have had to have a PCR test 24 hours prior to boarding the plane along with the centre’s ISO 15189 certification. It was difficult as it was such a short timeframe but considering we are living in Covid-19 times, this was something that needs to be adhered to.
*This is not a paid blog post, but purely used to share the recent experience of an Air For Life employee – W. If you would like further details, kindly email: email@example.com and our colleague will be happy to answer any questions.