Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Travel Amidst COVID-19
WASHINGTON, March 10, 2020 – Today, Airlines for America (A4A) provided clarity for travelers regarding air travel, correcting the false media narratives that have led to confusion and uncertainty across the country.
Has the U.S. government issued guidance?
The safety and wellbeing of passengers and crew is the top priority of U.S. carriers. They will not fly anywhere deemed unsafe, and right now domestic routes remain open for business. In fact, numerous government and health officials agree – it is safe to fly and America remains open for business.
There are no restrictions on domestic travel. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued guidance encouraging elderly travelers and those with underlying medical conditions to “avoid situations that put them at increased risk for more severe disease. This entails avoiding crowded places, avoiding non-essential travel such as long plane trips, and especially avoiding embarking on cruise ships.”
For updates on government guidance and details about what carriers are doing, please visit www.AirlinesTakeAction.com.
Should I avoid air travel?
Numerous health officials have affirmed that the risk remains low for travelers who follow CDC guidelines. CDC Director Robert Redfield reiterated last week, “I just want to echo again that the risk is low — the risk is low. I encourage Americans to go about their life. That includes travel to California, Oregon, and the state of Washington.” Read more about what medical experts, business leaders and elected officials are saying here.
The U.S. Surgeon General, Jerome Adams, explained this weekend that, although individuals who are older or who have existing medical conditions may want to take steps back to protect themselves, the threat remains low for the vast majority of Americans.
The World Health Organization has advised against the application of travel or trade restrictions, which are “not effective” in preventing the spread of COVID-19.
What are carriers doing to ensure the wellbeing of travelers?
U.S. airlines are working around the clock enhancing disinfection and cleaning protocols, especially in the areas of the cabins touched most frequently such as arm rests and tray tables. Carriers also are collaborating with airports, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to ensure appropriate cleaning in public spaces of the airport.
What can I do to protect myself when traveling?
The World Health Organization suggests taking these precautionary measures:
- Staying home if you are sick
- Washing your hands frequently
- Avoid touching your eyes, hands and mouth
- Covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze
It is important to heed this guidance from medical experts. Airlines encourage all travelers to visit the CDC’s website and to utilize these common sense, preventative measures. We must all be prudent and prepared but avoid panic.
Should I reconsider my Spring break travel plans?
Once again, it is important to listen to the medical experts. Just a few days ago, Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) said that it is safe to fly in the U.S. Medical experts constantly are reviewing data and have concluded that there is no reason for most Americans to avoid boarding a plane and going on their Spring Break trips.
What if I need to cancel my flight?
Carriers have announced travel policies to accommodate customers who are feeling unwell, fall within high-risk categories or otherwise need to reschedule their travel, including waiving change and cancellation fees. Additional information can be found on individual carriers websites and at www.AirlinesTakeAction.com.
Airlines for America (A4A) members are Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Atlas Air, Delta Air Lines, FedEx, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines and UPS. Air Canada is an associate member.
A4A advocates on behalf of the leading U.S. airlines, both passenger and cargo carriers. A4A works collaboratively with industry stakeholders, federal agencies, the Administration, Congress, labor and other groups to improve aviation for the traveling and shipping public.