Top Tips for Traveling in a Pandemic

Top Tips for Traveling in a Pandemic

Nothing stops the world from turning, not even Covid-19. Businesses keep running and sometimes travel is necessary, but the concept of travel can be scary when there is an invisible virus lurking. Fall is here and winter will soon give a crisp chill to the air, and as cases begin to spike it’s helpful to know which airlines, hotels and rental companies are the safest when traveling.

Before traveling…

It’s important to know the guidelines for traveling during Covid-19.  The precautions you take will not only protect yourself, but others. The CDC recommends:

  •  Maintain 6 feet distance between you and others.
  • Wear a cloth face mask, use a coffee filter for extra protection.
  •  Avoid contact with anyone who is sick.
  • Limit contact with frequently touched surfaces. After touching these surfaces, wash your hands or use hand sanitizer to clean and disinfect your hands.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Clean your hands often and if soap and water isn’t available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Clean your hands after going to the bathroom and before eating.
  • When using hand sanitizer cover all areas of your hands and rub together until they feel dry.
  • Cover your elbow over your mouth and nose for coughs and sneezes, and wash your hands after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.

The air on airplanes is filtered and circulates in a particular way which makes most viruses difficult to spread. However crowded flights, security lines and layovers can bring people into close contact with others. During long layovers, a traveler can come into contact with several people and surfaces.  Along with frequent cleaning and disinfecting of equipment, The CDC and FAA have instituted guidelines to assist in the spread of Covid-19. Other changes include:

  • TSA officers wearing masks and gloves, practicing social distancing, and changing gloves after each pat-down.
  • Plastic shields at document checking podiums, bag search and drop off locations.
  • Travelers should wear masks during screening; however, TSA employees may ask travelers to adjust masks for identification purposes.
  • Instead of handing boarding passes to TSA officers, travelers should place passes  directly on the scanner and then hold them up for inspection.
  •  Each traveler may have one container of hand sanitizer up to 12 ounces in a carry-on bag. These containers will need to be taken out for screening.
  • Personal items such as keys, wallets and phones should be placed in carry-on bags instead of bins.

Top Airlines

Taking off in the number one spot is Delta Air Lines. Delta ranked highest due to its cleaning procedures, which include electrostatic spraying with disinfectant before all flights, as well as deep cleanings of gate areas and jet bridges. Delta was the first carrier to begin boarding back to front, instead of using group numbers to board. The airline has also restricted passenger capacity to 50% in first class and 60% in economy and receives praise for its ticket flexibility and extension of loyalty status into 2021.

Coming in second is Alaska Airlines. They received high marks because of their passenger-friendly policies, which includes providing free masks, limiting onboard capacity, and extending elite status to its loyalty-club members.

The rest of the airlines rank as follows:

  1. JetBlue
  2. American Airlines
  3. Southwest Airlines
  4. United Airlines
  5. Hawaiian Airlines
  6. Allegiant Air
  7. Frontier Airlines
  8. Spirit Airlines

Top Hotels

The national hotel chains that rank at the top spot are Hilton and Hyatt. Hyatt ranked high because of its policies on health and social distancing. All Hyatt staff are required to wear masks and the hotel requires its guests to wear masks even in states that don’t require the wearing of face masks. Rooms at Hyatt properties cannot be accessed for a specific number of days between reservations or after cleaning by staff. Social distancing is required in common areas. The brand also has mobile check-in and express checkout to minimize contact between guests and staff.

Hilton tied for the number one ranking because of their booking policies, which offered customer flexibility for changes and cancellations.

The rest of the top hotels rank as follows:

  1. Marriott
  2. Radisson
  3. Choice
  4. IHG
  5. Wyndham
  6. Best Western

 Top Rental Cars

Enterprise takes top honors with rental cars as the overall best company. Although Enterprise’s daily rate can be higher than the average car rate, the rental company ranks high because their cancellation policy, which includes no-fees cancellations for pre-paid rentals and the ability to cancel up to 24 hours before pick up without incurring a charge. They also scored high because Covid-19 cleaning policies and their curbside pickup options.

If customer satisfaction is paramount when choosing a rental car company, Hertz ranks the highest. National Car Rental offered the best website and app, and Alamo received high marks for offering cheap quotes.

Traveling can be cumbersome even under the best of conditions. The sentiment of having safe travels has never meant more than it does today. Knowing which companies have made your safety and convenience a priority will help you to plan your next trip should you decide to attend an event, travel for business or get away with the family for the holidays.