Hygiene essentials for flying during the coronavirus pandemic
It’s been 73 days since I got to experience the spectacle process of boarding an airplane. Seventy-three days since I gleed with joy while wiping down each nook of my seat meticulously; while getting side-eyes from neighbors. Setenta y tres dias since I took my favorite type of siesta, a plane siesta. By now you’re thinking that I’m a little nutty to reminisce about those aspects of air travel. But as an undiagnosed germaphobe and travel addict, trust me. If you’re itching to go on a trip soon you’ll find yourself admiring the same things too. Traveling as we phase out the coronavirus pandemic is going to be a new experience for most. All you have to do is think a little bit like a germaphobe and you’ll be alright for your first flight.
Before we get started I do have a small disclaimer. I like to take extra precautions and control of my personal experience. But it's important to note that airlines and airport operators are taking measures to provide a safe experience for passengers and crew members.
Pack the *new* hygiene essentials
Ensure you have hygiene essentials to help you feel comfortable throughout the journey. Keep in mind that supply chains around the world are still interrupted due to COVID-19. So you’ll want to have these items a few days before your trip and get enough for the duration of the trip. For easy access, pack these in your carry-on luggage.
- Disinfecting wipes: These are your new travel companion. They will not take good ‘grams of you, but they will make sure that your general surroundings are clean. They’ll provide a sense of calm once you’re seated in a clean airplane seat. Make sure to clean your tray table, armrest, TV controls/screen, and even the notch for the AC vent. And if you’re on the window seat, be sure to clean the windowpane and window shade too. You’ll thank me when you wake up from a nap.
- Hand sanitizer: The CDC recommends you wash your hands often, but when you’re on-the-go sinks might not always be available or be in the most suitable condition. The good news for all is that the TSA is now allowing containers of up to 12 oz of hand sanitizer fly inside carry-on bags.
- Masks: To be honest, this item is a new addition to the list for me. It’s recommended by the CDC to wear face-coverings in public and airlines are now requiring their passengers to wear them too. My partner and I opted in to purchase reusable masks that can be cleaned between uses but quickly realized that this might be challenging while traveling. Now we have an order pending for disposable masks. Personal protective equipment or PPE, as the cool kids call it, is new for all so we dug deeper into this topic in this article.
- Gloves: You’re probably wondering, how will I change the channel on the touchscreen TV? Think even further. Gloves will keep your hands clean while navigating through the airport. Getting boarding passes at the ticket counter, giving the TSA officer your ID, putting things down and picking them up at the security checkpoint. You get the point.
- Packing cubes: Sure, you’ll be able to Marie Kondo your bag. Instead of organizing your bag to maximize space, the new logic is to organize what is clean and what is dirty to reduce the chances of cross-contamination during your trip. If you want to take it up a notch or two, designate an area wherever you’re staying for outside wear. Clothing items worn outside and shoes stay within that parameter so the rest of the space stays clean.