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-   -   Travel by plane - Safe or not? (https://www.fodors.com/community/europe/travel-by-plane-safe-or-not-1681603/)

AimlessWanderer Jul 1st, 2020 02:26 AM

Travel by plane - Safe or not?
 
Hi,

With the European economy opening up and the great way they have dealt with this pandemic, we are considering travel to southern Italy (Calabria and Eastern Sicily) in mid to late August.

What we are concerned about is travelling by plane. As we are from Canada, flying to Europe is not an issue, but some people are telling us that we should not be flying at this time because the risks are too great travelling by plane, even if everyone on board wears a mask for the entire flight.

Any thoughts?

Thanks


Tulips Jul 1st, 2020 02:47 AM

Google the various articles that have been published about this online and decide wether it is worth it for you and your family.

Here is one:
https://metro.co.uk/2020/05/28/video...lane-12770480/

If you get infected on the plane or at the airport, you may get ill while you are in Italy. Are you insured for that and do you want to take the chance?

balthy Jul 1st, 2020 03:16 AM

We're travelling to southern Italy at the end of July, at least, if the flights are still operating and there aren't any new restrictions imposed between now and travel date. I've heard that we will have our temperature taken at each transit point and on arrival at final destination and we will wear masks. I have no idea if it is safe or not, each person has to make their own decision on whether they should travel or not. I have seen similar simulations on how a cough can spread coronavirus through a supermarket, at least on an aircraft the air is filtered.



hetismij2 Jul 1st, 2020 05:56 AM

You will need multiple masks for a long flight. They must be changed as soon as they get damp, or every few hours which ever is the sooner. You must also have a safe way of storing/disposing of them.
Will you be able to get health insurance? Cancellation insurance if the virus flares up again as well it might?

suze Jul 1st, 2020 07:36 AM

I would be personally way too nervous to get on a plane for a long flight like Europe this summer. There is nothing scientific in my feelings. I just don't want the hassle of all the extra precautions required to attempt a big trip right now. My reasons are selfish more than health concerns, it costs a lot of money to travel, and I want to have the best experience, most fun I can. And for me that would not be possible given the current health pandemic we are facing. I simply can't picture a "carefree" trip anywhere internationally right now.

kleeblatt Jul 1st, 2020 08:05 AM

I fear more the imposed quarantine upon landing and the possibility of flights being cancelled. I think I'm staying in Switzerland this summer despite my hope to visit the US to see family.

StuDudley Jul 1st, 2020 08:55 AM

Ditto Suze & Kleeblatt.

We cancelled our annual month-long Sept. trip to France this year. All the hotels we reserved in Scotland for this past May were cancelled by the hotel. So that's 2 trips we won't be going on.

Plus:
- We stay in Gites while in France, and we have rented 72 of them for a total of 114 weeks. We normally stay for 2 weeks in a single gite before we move on & stay for 2 weeks in another gite. We don't have an aggressive itinerary. IMO, France this year won't be the France that I remember & loved on prior trips.

- Adding to Kleeblat's statement, a friend told me that a US friend of his was to travel to a Scandinavian country via Frankfurt. On arrival in the destination, all passengers were to be checked via a temperature check. If anyone failed - the remainder of the people on the flight were to be quarantined for 2 weeks. This is third-hand information - so any confirmation or correction is welcome by me.

Stu Dudley

Jean Jul 1st, 2020 09:08 AM

Everyone has their own threshold for risk. I have the Covid antibodies, but I'm not interested in testing my immunity from becoming infected again.

As more is learned about this virus, it's becoming obvious that otherwise healthy people can get very sick and some die, and those who have successfully recovered may have life-long changes to several organs (heart, brain, lungs, kidneys). Some of those changes could be benign, and some could create problems many years later. Nobody knows. There is also now a category of Covid patients called "long haulers" who have suffered with symptoms for more than three months with no prognosis for when they will fully recover. Why anyone would be cavalier about getting the virus is a mystery to me.

And then there are the "bureaucratic" issues already mentioned by others. Quarantines, no-fly lists, insurance...

StCirq Jul 1st, 2020 10:30 AM

No, I don't think it's safe, but only you can decide what level of risk you're willing to take.

FWIW, I live in France and am free to go anywhere in Europe at the moment, but I have no plans to do so. I'm not taking a bus or a train or a plane and am keeping away from large gatherings of people anywhere. I fully expect further outbreaks in various places in Europe, and quite possibly a major new virus surge this fall. It's already depressing to see our town filling up with tourists who don't wear masks and don't observe social distancing.

ibobi Jul 1st, 2020 11:02 AM

Definitely not.

AJPeabody Jul 1st, 2020 11:12 AM

Let's see.

Wait in lines to go through security and get on the plane. Sit for hours among several hundred unknown people from all over the place who have done who knows what. Breathe recirculated air. And heaven forbid you need to use the minicloset toilet facility. All the while, there may be a potentially lethal virus hanging around. Then do it again to get home.

What could possibly go wrong?

AimlessWanderer Jul 1st, 2020 11:22 AM

Well, I guess we are not going. We obviously should have checked before as our private insurance and our credit cards have all dropped travel insurance do to this pandemic.

Thanks for all of your help. After reading all of your responses, we were leaning to 'no' anyways.

Stay safe everyone.

SusanP Jul 1st, 2020 11:32 AM

I just finished cancelling my September trip to Dresden and the Czech Republic. I was waiting for the airline to cancel the flights so I can hopefully get a refund, and they have now been cancelled, even though, while I live in Upstate NY, the flight was out of Toronto. In addition to the risk of catching the virus, I agree with Suze. It would take a great deal of the enjoyment out of the trip to have to comply with the restrictions, not just during the flight but after arrival.

kleeblatt Jul 1st, 2020 11:54 AM

It may be that as of Monday, anyone arriving in Switzerland from a high risk land will be required to go into a ten-day quarantine. More on this topic to come.

PS
as far as I understand, America would be included on this list. Canada isnít.

Leely2 Jul 1st, 2020 12:51 PM


Originally Posted by SusanP (Post 17123346)
I just finished cancelling my September trip to Dresden and the Czech Republic. I was waiting for the airline to cancel the flights so I can hopefully get a refund, and they have now been cancelled, even though, while I live in Upstate NY, the flight was out of Toronto. In addition to the risk of catching the virus, I agree with Suze. It would take a great deal of the enjoyment out of the trip to have to comply with the restrictions, not just during the flight but after arrival.

I have flights to Italy for later this month that haven't yet been canceled. I keep checking and all they are doing is changing the itinerary. There's no way I can go, I'm an American.

SusanP Jul 1st, 2020 07:44 PM

I actually thought I'd have to wait until later in August, but when I checked today, the flights were cancelled. This was Lufthansa. Interesting, though, that I had not been notified of the cancellation. I wouldn't have known about it if I hadn't checked

Melnq8 Jul 2nd, 2020 07:47 AM

Susan - Lufthansa cancelled my return flights back in March, when I was already in Spain. Not a peep from them, the reservations just disappeared. Gee, thanks Lufthansa.

courtneybush Jul 3rd, 2020 07:13 AM

It's a great thought from you and from my experience i would like to say:
* It's normal to travel by plane as much as you're having your masks...
* It will be good to take short plane (3 to 4 hours MAX) then change the flight ...
* It will be smart to have great quality of masks (that is protected for 8 hours or over)
* Insurance is more important then any past time so be sure you're having good one and with good company.
* book flights with FREE cancellation so you won't be in trouble if something wrong happened

Be happy and positive as you're and let travel our planet again!

macdogmom Jul 3rd, 2020 10:00 AM

Not even sure if I want to get on a plane when this pandemic has subsided (kidding but maybe not kidding). I know way too much about germs and the ease of picking up virus’s now. My son moved from NYC to big island of Hawaii at the beginning of June (long planned move) and quarantined for 2 weeks then came down with something right after quarantine ended. 2 negative covid tests but still sick. It’s a bit scary out there.

Fauci remarked that if covid stops people from shaking hands and makes them continue to wash their hands a lot we will cut back on colds and flu’s which will be a silver lining in this mess, I guess.

balthy Jul 4th, 2020 01:55 AM

Airlines can only contact people about schedule changes if the email address or phone number is present in the booking. I've had several bookings cancelled or rescheduled this year and each time I have received notification from the airline, including LH.

Heimdall Jul 4th, 2020 02:15 AM

Just about every long haul flight Iíve taken has been followed by a cold or some other mild illness. In January, after a return flight from South Africa but before Covid-19 was well known, I had a spell for about two weeks of severe tiredness and a small rise in temperature. Iíve never been tested for antibodies, so have no way of knowing if it was a mild case of coronavirus.

Heimdall Jul 4th, 2020 02:31 AM

Hmm ... I put the apostrophe in the word I’ve which I used twice in post #21, but somehow it disappeared. I wonder if it will disappear again in this post?

Heimdall Jul 4th, 2020 02:35 AM

No, it didn’t disappear this time. I actually used the back button on my iPad to check that I had included the apostrophe, and I did both times. Another Fodor’s Forum mystery.

Melnq8 Jul 4th, 2020 05:47 AM


Originally Posted by balthy (Post 17124297)
Airlines can only contact people about schedule changes if the email address or phone number is present in the booking. I've had several bookings cancelled or rescheduled this year and each time I have received notification from the airline, including LH.

Lufthansa had all my details

mendota98 Jul 4th, 2020 06:36 AM

Lufthansa also canceled my flight on June 2 with no notice. I have contacted them several times for a partial refund as the new, rebooked flight made two stops and in economy class. No response from Lufthansa.

SusanP Jul 4th, 2020 08:01 PM

Lufthansa also had my details.

Lois2 Jul 5th, 2020 02:06 PM


Originally Posted by balthy (Post 17124297)
Airlines can only contact people about schedule changes if the email address or phone number is present in the booking. I've had several bookings cancelled or rescheduled this year and each time I have received notification from the airline, including LH.

It is happening to many people that their flight is cancelled or changed and no notification from airline. It has nothing to do with the contact information they have. Just the way it is these days...my experience is with DL but have read this is happening with all carriers. Have to monitor your reservations and if you see something unusual online call...mine had been cancelled and I requested the full refund and had it back in three days. Don't just wait for them to call!!

julie_sanchez Jul 6th, 2020 01:52 AM

I will better advise you to stay in Canada this year and postpone your trip especially to Italy as the country is still very affected by the virus and if you get infected in the plane or once arrived, you won't be able to enjoy your stay...

MyriamC Jul 6th, 2020 02:18 AM


Originally Posted by SusanP (Post 17123536)
I actually thought I'd have to wait until later in August, but when I checked today, the flights were cancelled. This was Lufthansa. Interesting, though, that I had not been notified of the cancellation. I wouldn't have known about it if I hadn't checked

Same with KLM. I learned from a travel board on Facebook that my flight was cancelled. Not a word from KLM. Still waiting to get my refund (takes upto 90 days).

menachem Jul 6th, 2020 04:42 AM

Planes may be safe, or not, but airports aren't. Especially given what we now are starting to know about the role of aerosols in transmission.

Lois2 Jul 6th, 2020 11:18 AM


Originally Posted by MyriamC (Post 17125074)
Same with KLM. I learned from a travel board on Facebook that my flight was cancelled. Not a word from KLM. Still waiting to get my refund (takes upto 90 days).

Think about it...they don't want to call you...it almost always results in a full refund. Better to wait....this is a case in point for what I mentioned earlier....watch your bookings....mine was a major schedule change which means REFUND and it was about 2 months in advance of travel.

Heimdall Jul 7th, 2020 02:11 AM

The Texas Medical Association has just created a chart showing the risk of exposure to Covid-19 from various activities. The chart shows risk on a scale of 1-10, with travelling on a plane rated “7”. The chart has been published in various media, the below link from a Houston television station:
https://abc13.com/coronavirus-covid-...i-get/6300447/

HappyTrvlr Jul 7th, 2020 08:20 AM

I would not fly to another country now. And I only will fly domestically if I wear a N95 mask as protection. I gently flew across the USA and it was not a good experience.

bilboburgler Jul 9th, 2020 01:03 AM

Well I'm not traveling within Europe at the moment, if I do it will be an overnight ferry to the Continent and not a plane.

In terms of masks I'm going to bore you all but
1) Most masks protect those around you from your aerosols. You get little protection from those type of masks
2) There are top of the range masks that will protect you, they need to be firmly tightened onto the face which will leave marks or bruising. If I had to fly I would wear this type

A friend just had to fly into Aberdeen from the Isles for an operation and wore type 2, not a pretty sight but relatively safe.

balthy Jul 10th, 2020 07:27 AM


Originally Posted by Lois2 (Post 17124955)
It is happening to many people that their flight is cancelled or changed and no notification from airline. It has nothing to do with the contact information they have. Just the way it is these days...my experience is with DL but have read this is happening with all carriers. Have to monitor your reservations and if you see something unusual online call...mine had been cancelled and I requested the full refund and had it back in three days. Don't just wait for them to call!!

That is simply untrue, it has everything to do with your contact information AND agreeing to being contacted. If you are not being contacted, I would suggest you call the airline for any upcoming bookings and make sure they have your correct contact details and that you've given permission to them to use it to contact you with sched changes etc.

Monitoring your reservation is not always helpful as the sched changes made in the host system are not always reflected in your online booking. Example: I kept monitoring my upcoming flights to Italy and thinking all is well as there were no sched changes or cancellation but then I received an email to say there were sched changes but it was not reflected in the online booking. The changes only appeared after I contacted the airline and rebooked the itinerary, when the original ticket was reissued only then were the changes became visible online.


Melnq8 Jul 10th, 2020 09:06 AM

I'd agreed for Lufthansa to contact me, they had my details, yet they didn't bother. My flights just disappeared, without a peep from them.

And this was on four separate flights, two different trips, months apart.

They might do so when life is normal, but life has been anything but normal.

kleeblatt Jul 11th, 2020 03:57 AM

If you booked through a travel agency, did they keep you up to date on the status of your flights and the possibility of refunds? I had booked a trip for 15 people through a local travel agency and I've been given word that all fights should be refunded by the end of September.

socaltraveler Jul 11th, 2020 07:58 AM

American Airlines did not contact us about our cancelled flights to Rome. It was, of course, still a few months away when I read something about their cancelled summer flights to most of Europe. So we checked our locators and found, yes, no flights. We got in touch with them, they issued a full refund.

Leely2 Jul 11th, 2020 11:06 AM

I called Lufthansa this morning. I was originally scheduled to fly to Bari via Frankfurt next weekend and to return from Rome three weeks later. I'm an American, so I couldn't (and wouldn't) travel anyway. Got an email about a schedule change a couple weeks ago, and when I hit "view my booking" nothing appeared. Turns out the flight from Frankfurt to Bari had been canceled and the flight from Frankfurt to SFO at the end of the trip also canceled.

I would have been okay with a voucher given the turmoil the airline industry is in, but I would have wanted it to be usable through the end of 2021 (optimist). Instead they said I was eligible for a full refund. So, okay. We shall see when it arrives. If it arrives.

I hope the travel industry--among many other industries--is able to weather this terrible storm. So many people are suffering: from the virus, economic hardship, food insecurity, stress and depression. The list goes on and on. My planned vacation matters little. Still, I felt sad when it was officially canceled.

bilboburgler Jul 11th, 2020 02:40 PM

Of course they could stop belching fossil fuel co2 into the atmosphere by developing some proper modern planes.


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