Are you stuck in the middle?
With coronavirus cases surging as we head into cold and flu season, are you comfortable with more airlines lifting their middle seat restrictions?
Here are some of the points Southwest argued:
Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health recently published a bulletin that concluded … wearing a surgical mask, combined with the ventilation rates onboard aircraft, can reduce the risk of infection from respiratory particles to less than 1 percent.
The US Department of Defense’s US Transportation Command released a study that “concluded that the high air exchange coupled with high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtration of all recirculated air means a commercial aircraft’s air supply system provides protection greater than the design standards for a patient isolation room or a hospital operating room.”
IATA (The International Air Transport Association) claims there were only 44 cases of COVID-19 transmitted as the result of a flight. “That’s 44 people out of the nearly 1.2 billion passengers who have traveled in 2020, or one case for every 27 million travelers this year,” Southwest wrote. “As IATA suggests, this is approximately the same risk category as being struck by lightning.”
IATA’s findings are the ones that raised my eyebrows a bit. They have skin in the airline travel game. And they surely want more people onboard flights. But, when it comes the “struck by lightning” remark I’d like to paraphrase my friend Larry Thompson: you can’t get struck by lightning if you’re not out in a storm.
So is it worth stepping into the storm?
I’m starting to thaw when it comes to air travel again. But I’m pretty much at the meat-just-out-of-the-freezer-that-needs-a-long-time-until-it’s-ready-to-be-cooked stage.
Planes encompass only part of the travel experience. There are airports and all their environs. And let’s not forget the destinations themselves.
Gary Leff wrote this great post a few months ago. And much of it still rings true today:
You may fly somewhere the virus is spreading at a high rate, exposing yourself at the destination. Flying does involve being around more people, in the airport and to and from. And once you get there… will you be let in? It’s not just foreign countries that are limiting entry, several U.S. states are imposing quarantines on arriving travelers from several other states.
If you’re allowed to travel freely to your destination you may find the bars closed (if that’s your thing), restaurant dining options limited, service at your hotel limited, and sporting events and other activities closed too.
And what if you’re exposed to someone who catches the virus while you’re traveling, and you have to quarantine while you’re gone? Then you’re facing additional time away from home, inconvenience (even if you don’t get sick) and additional travel expenses.
What Do You Think?
Do the studies make you feel safe? Or are you waiting until there’s a readily available vaccine? Please share your thoughts in the below Comments section.
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