How clean is the air on airplanes?
Through high-efficiency air (HEPA) filters and wearing face masks flying is safer than eating at a restaurant. The HEPA filter captures 99.97% of particles in the air before it is mixed with the outside air of the plane and recirculated back into the aircraft. Cabin air is changed approximately every three minutes while the aircraft is moving. “The air you breath on the plane is not completely virus-free but much cleaner than the air in a bar”, according to Travel Journalist Johanna Read.
With all these high-tech systems in place, we do not change bad behavior. Evidence has shown that mask-wearing protects you and reduces the chances of spreading the virus to those around you.
Unfortunately, in the U.S.A., there is no law requiring air passengers to wear masks. It is up to each airline to implement its own rules. Not until this summer did U.S. Airlines require face masks upon flight. Some airlines are blocking the middle seat to help with social distancing. Airlines have struggled with enforcing these new regulations on travelers, but in order to protect the flying public, face mask needs to be a must!
Can airports be a dangerous place for COVID-19?
For travelers, the bigger challenge is within the airports. Passengers run a much greater risk of getting the virus going through security, waiting at the gate, boarding or get off the plane. If you ever have flown before, you know how people tend to stand close together boarding or deplaneing. Touching the baggage compartment above your seat, the seat itself, handrails, grabbing bags off the conveyor belt, can all be suspects of contamination of the virus. Surfaces like the scanners or security bins are also suspects.
Practice social distancing, mask wearing, and good hygiene (bring hand sanitizer!) while moving about in the airports. Most importantly protect yourself!
If you plan to grab a bite to eat, try to stay within the restaurant area to eat. The area within the restaurant is cleaned more frequently and has seating arranged to help with social distancing. If you take your food to the gate and eat unmasked, you are taking a bigger risk.
Any time you can touch something, the virus may lie so don’t assume something has been cleaned. Always carry sanitation wipes and hand sanitizer to help with combating these issues. Most importantly WEAR THE MASK! Pack several masks within your carry-on luggage.
Where Can You Travel During COVID-19?
By no means am I encouraging you to put yourself at risk, but there are places you can travel abroad. One of my most favorite destinations which I highly recommend is Turkey. Depending on the type of vacation you want to experience, you will most likely find it here.
Turkey offers the amazing Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, snow skiing in Isparta, or sunny days along the Mediterranean coastline in Antalya. Turkey is open for tourism. Although Turkey is NOT COVID-19 free, they have embraced the pandemic and have set themselves apart from the rest of the world by implementing safety measures to not only protect the citizens of Turkey but all the visitors as well.
Turkey has received the Safe Travel Global Safety Stamp by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).
- Countries Allowed: All (regular visa requirements)
- Quarantine: None
- COVID-19 Testing: None
- Safe Travel Stamp: Entire Country
- Health Protocols: Masks in all public spaces and social distancing. Temperature screening upon arrival.
- Safe Health Document: tourist travelers do not need any specific health documentation to enter/exit Turkey unless they are arriving for medical treatment.
What if I have symptoms or get COVID-19 while in Turkey?
If a traveler shows symptoms of COVID-19, they can visit any local hospital to have a PCR swab test. If the test comes back positive, the traveler will be quarantined at a state medical facility at their own cost.
COVID-19 Travel Insurance Entry Requirements
Of course, anytime you travel it is always wise to purchase travel insurance. With the pandemic throughout the world, I recommend you purchase travel insurance that will cover you if by chance you get COVID-19 while traveling abroad.
All incoming travelers should have travel insurance the covers COVID-19 for the duration of their trip to Turkey.
What are the COVID-19 Requirements while in Turkey?
All visitors must follow COVID-19 health requirements while in Turkey:
- Masks are mandatory in all public spaces. This rule was made countrywide as of September 8.
- Follow all social distancing markers.
- Undergo mandatory temperature scans and health screenings upon arrival.
Starting on December 1, 2020
- Dining establishments such as restaurants, patisseries, cafes, and cafeterias will no longer be open for in-person dining, however, will offer specific services at different times:
-Delivery or in-restaurant pickup service: between 10:00 and 20:00
- Shopping malls, supermarkets, barbers and hairdressers will only be open for service during the hours of 10:00-20:00
Movie theaters, soccer fields, coffee houses, tea gardens, internet/electronic game halls and billiard halls, are suspended. (Hookah lounges, whose activities were suspended earlier, will remain closed).
PCR Tests at Istanbul Airport:
If your country requires you to have a PCR Test before returning, Istanbul Airport has it available. I would also consider getting one at the local hospital near you before getting on the plane.
Istanbul Airport (IST) has one of the fastest and most reliable airport testing facilities in the world right now. They are pumping through thousands of tests, all while aiming to deliver accurate results within 4-8 hours to desperate travelers.
You can get one done on a layover, making Istanbul the perfect stop before entering a country that requires negative test results for entry.
Read to find out where to go at Istanbul Airport.
Istanbul ``Grand Bazaar``
I must warn you these rules for Turkey and other countries change often so it is best to visit the government website to check status.
Although COVID-19 has required us to social-distancing it has challenged us with on how to travel the world.
Enjoy your travels! Please read my blogs about other exciting places around the world at Traveling Lens Photography.
Inshallah (God willing!)