With travel restrictions starting to lift and flight schedules resuming, many are beginning to jet off abroad for their summer holidays.
Airlines have implemented a number of safety measures to minimise the risk of spreading coronavirus, from offering limited services on board to introducing new boarding processes.
While the risk of catching a viral infection during a flight is quite low due to the surgical-grade air filters, it is important that travellers take extra precautions to further minimise the risk.
So what can passengers do to further protect themselves from the virus while on a plane?
Medical experts around the world have stated the most important way to protect from the virus is by practising good hand hygiene.
Passengers should thoroughly wash their hands with soap, or use alcohol-based hand sanitiser as often as possible.
They should bring their own hand sanitiser (ensuring that it’s less than 100ml) as this may not be provided.
David Heymann, who led the World Health Organisation’s infectious disease unit throughout the SARS epidemic, said “one of the most important ways of stopping respiratory outbreaks such as this is washing hands.”
Travellers should also avoid touching their face, specifically their mouth, nose and eyes, as they could be exposing themselves to droplets they have picked up after touching surfaces.
Face-to-face contact should be avoided where possible, as the disease is mostly spread from droplets produced from coughing, sneezing and speaking.
Many airlines have made face masks compulsory while travelling, and passengers should wear an appropriate covering over their mouth and nose to protect themselves and others.
This should be a fitted face covering or medical style mask, and it should be worn for the entire journey – on the plane, and in both airports.
Passengers will be asked to briefly remove their mask when their passports are checked, but other than that it should only be taken off for eating or drinking.
Airlines have assured customers that cleaning procedures have been increased and improved throughout the pandemic, but passengers could use antibacterial wipes to clean their seating area to further ensure there are no traces of the virus on surrounding surfaces.
Passengers should also remain in their seat as much as possible, and only get up to go to the toilet.
It is crucial that anyone showing symptoms of coronavirus, or has been in contact with anyone with the virus, does not travel.
In the airport, passengers should make sure they wash their hands immediately after going through security, as security trays will be handled by a lot of people and could pass on germs.
The Department for Transport also strongly recommends that passengers check in baggage and minimise their hand luggage to speed up boarding and disembarking times.