I flew between New York and Austin three times to escape the pandemic — and now I realise I put myself at risk of contagion. Here are 15 crucial health tips if you absolutely need to be at an airport as the coronavirus spreads.

Joey Hadden/Business InsiderI washed my hands every chance I got on my way back to New York from Austin during the coronavirus pandemic, but I wouldn’t recommend flying to others. These are my tips on how to fly safely during the coronavirus pandemic, if you have to.
  • Flying during the spread of the novel coronavirus is possible, but there are many opportunities for the virus to spread on flights and in airports, and on March 19, the US State Department essentially advised against travel abroad.
  • I flew between Austin, Texas, and New York three times during the spread of the coronavirus in the US to work and back home to my family to wait out the pandemic.
  • I took actions to prepare for and protect myself during my flights, like being hyperconscious of human contact and washing my hands after I touched anything.
  • I picked up some tips along the way about what to pack how to stay away from germs at the airport and on the plane.
  • You should avoid flying if you can right now. But if you have to fly in the US as the virus continues to spread, here are 15 tips and tricks that will help you get through domestic flights during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

1. Don’t fly, if you can help it.

Joey Hadden/Business InsiderJust to be clear, I don’t recommend flying right now.

The safest thing to do right now is stay away with places with more than 10 people gathered, according to the President Donald Trump. I have stopped flying, and I recommend you do the same. If you must fly, consider these tips.

2. Check-in for your flight online.

Joey Hadden/Business InsiderI always check-in for my flights online.

This way, you don’t have to touch the machine used to print boarding passes and you can avoid physical contact with airport employees.

3. Eat before you get to the airport.

Joey Hadden/Business InsiderI ate breakfast with my loved ones before heading to the airport one morning.

Eat breakfast before you go to the airport to avoid additional human contact and germs, which linger in airport food courts, according to CNBC.

4. Bring your own water bottle.

Joey Hadden/Business InsiderI always try to travel with my own water bottle.

Bring your own water bottle and fill it up before the flight to avoid unnecessary contact with flight attendants on the plane.

5. At the TSA checkpoint, fit your items in as few bins as possible, and put bags and shoes directly on the belt.

Joey Hadden/Business InsiderI fit all my electronics for this flight into one container along with my liquids.

This will expose your belongings to as few germs as possible.

6. Wash your hands every chance you get.

Joey Hadden/Business InsiderEvery time I passed by an airport bathroom, I washed my hands.

Soap is awesome.

It’s the best thing we’ve got for getting rid of viruses and the like.

Remember to thoroughly wash your hands for about 20 seconds, and don’t forget to about those fingernails, as the CDC states.

Use hand sanitizer if soap and water aren’t available.

7. Use the restroom before your flight to avoid using it during the flight.

Joey Hadden/Business InsiderA restroom at the airport in Honolulu.

Avoid aeroplane bathrooms because many passengers touch them during flights. Getting to them requires walking through the aisle of the plane, which will also expose you to germs, according to Business Insider.

8. Try and stay six feet apart from other travellers.

Joey Hadden/Business InsiderI tried to stay at least this far from other passengers.

If the terminal is somewhat crowded, walk slowly to maintain at least six feet of space between yourself and the travellers because the novel coronavirus spreads mostly through mucus and saliva, which can spread to people up to six feet apart.

9. Avoid stores.

Joey Hadden/Business InsiderA flower shop at the airport in Honolulu.

Normally, I peruse airport stores to kill time, but not during the coronavirus pandemic – too many potential germs. I suggest you avoid them too.

10. Sit far from crowds while you wait to board.

Joey Hadden/Business InsiderLook for an empty row.

Again, this is to avoid germs.

11. Wear a face mask if you’re sick.

Joey Hadden/Business InsiderOnly if you’re sick.

Face masks are more effective in preventing the spread of the virus when they’re being worn by those infected.

As you’ve probably heard, they face a shortage, per Business Insider.

12. Have your boarding pass on your phone.

Joey Hadden/Business InsiderMost airlines have an app for this.

When boarding the plane, have your boarding pass on your phone to eliminate the need for any physical contact between the gate and the plane.

13. Get a window seat and stay seated.

Joey Hadden/Business InsiderPick a window seat.

Opt for a window seat because they are exposed to fewer germs than the seats closer to the aisle, according to BusinessInsider.

14. Wipe down everything that is going to touch you during the flight.

Joey Hadden/Business InsiderWipe down all exposed surfaces.

Before sitting down, wipe down your seat thoroughly with wet wipes, including the buttons, the tray table, and the inside pocket of the seat in front of you.

15. Bring hand sanitizer and use it each time you touch anything throughout your journey.

Joey Hadden/Business InsiderDon’t forget to bring hand sanitizer.

Once you finish wiping everything down, sanitize your hands. For the remainder of the flight, sanitize your hands every time you touch anything.

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