Travelling Safely during Covid-19
Yay for travel! If you’ve missed hearing boarding calls (we have!), you’ll be happy to know that as lockdown eases, more local travel will be allowed. Just don’t expect it to be like the good old days. Travel, as we know it, has changed forever, and strict health and safety protocols will be the norm.
Flying or driving, safety needs to be top of mind. Not just for you, but to ensure the safety of those you’re travelling with too.
So, how do you stay safe while travelling? And how do you choose the safest holiday package for travel later in the year? We compiled the ultimate guide to:
- What precautions airports and airlines are taking to ensure passenger safety
- What you can do to stay safe while travelling
- Our top recommendations and tips for local travel
Stay up to date with the latest local travel regulations regarding who can travel when, how and what paperwork they need, by bookmarking our Lockdown Travel Alerts blog.
What are airports doing to keep you safe?
Airports across the country have been hard at work to limit the spread of Covid-19. Here’s a taste of what to expect when you arrive for your flight:
- There will only be a limited amount of parkades available. Rather drop and go.
- Only those travelling may enter the terminal building. That’s right – no more hugs goodbye at the security checkpoint, and no hellos at the Arrivals hall.
- Baggage wrapping is now compulsory for all checked luggage.
- A limited number of check-in counters will be open and physical distancing rules will apply in these queues.
- Do not remove your mask. From the moment you enter the airport, throughout the flight, to leaving your destination airport, you are required to wear a face mask.
- Port Health will be conducting health screening tests at all the entrances.
- You will be required to scan your own paper-based or mobile device-based boarding pass on the scanner at the security checkpoint.
- You will also need to remove any metal or electronic items from your person before entering the security queue. This includes mobile devices, watches, jewellery, wallets and keys, and place them in the tray at the security scanner to minimise the need for physical pat-downs.
What are airlines doing to ensure passenger safety?
Airlines across South Africa have made it their mission to make air travel as safe as possible. Staggering boarding and disembarking procedures, sanitising all contact surfaces and replacing headrest covers between every flight are some of the new normal practices in place.
Concerned about the middle seat or breathing the air up there? Rest easy! We’ve written previously about how most airlines will be seating passengers strategically, and filling window and aisle seats first. Some carriers are also offering you the option to make sure the middle seat is blocked out – for a small fee of course. And as for the air, modern aircrafts are fitted with sophisticated air recycling systems that completely renew the cabin air every 2- 3 minutes. These systems employ High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters that are identical to those used in operating theatres.
What you can do to stay safe while travelling
It’s simple: don’t fly if you are feeling ill. If you have a compromised immune system, your chances of getting the virus are much higher. Equally important, you could place other people at risk too. Up your hand-washing and sanitising game, and always wear your mask.
If you’re booking into a hotel, most South African accommodation providers have rolled out increased health and hygiene protocols – and many of them have made these details available online. If you can’t find recently published cleaning standards for the hotel, call before you book to ask what’s being done. Or, ask your friendly Pentravel agent to get all the details on your behalf.
As soon as you arrive at the hotel, start sanitising. Your room’s key card, your luggage and contact areas like light switches and door handles could all do with that extra wipe down. If there’s one hotel item that needs extra attention, it’s the TV remote. Just drop it in a ziplock plastic bag so you don’t have to touch it directly. Clever!
While we’ve been waiting for borders to open, we’ve been carefully curating the best possible travel deals out there to ensure that when you’re ready to travel, you’re getting the best value. Take a peek and let us know if you want more information. We’re ready when you are!