Do you need to travel by air or have traveled recently? Or has your trip been canceled? Below are a few resources to help you through the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.
All health instructions are aligned with the recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO). See WHO's update from 14 April.
What you should know if you have or need to travel by air
While the risk of catching an infection on an aircraft is typically lower than in a shopping center or an office environment, there are simple measures you can take to further reduce the risk of illness if you are traveling. These include practicing hand hygiene by washing them regularly with soap or an alcohol-based sanitizer, and not touching your face, especially eyes, nose, and mouth.
While you must not travel when you are ill, should you experience symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness during or after a trip, seek medical attention and share your travel history with your health care provider. Most governments also provide clear instructions.
Air travel restrictions
Please refer to the IATA Travel Centre updates on travel restrictions.
Where can I find information about current travel restrictions?
Please refer to IATA Travel Centre website for the latest updates on travel restrictions related to the Coronavirus outbreak.
Does IATA have a policy that airlines have to follow regarding flight rebooking or refund for trips canceled due to COVID-19?
IATA does not have a role in this. Each airline will have its own policies with regard to refunds and flight re-bookings, subject to local rules and regulations. Please check with your airline or travel agent
The range of simple measures advised by WHO are effective even for passengers on a flight: careful hand-washing on a regular basis, or at least hand sanitize, avoiding touching other people, covering coughs and sneezes (and then hand-washing), avoiding travelling if becoming unwell, and avoiding contact with anyone who appears to be unwell.
One question that is often asked is whether passengers should wear masks when on a flight. Wear a mask if you are not feeling well. Otherwise there is no need to do so.
We assess that the risk is lower. Compared with those locations, a modern aircraft has its cabin air changed many times more frequently than offices or shops. For most modern aircraft types, the air supplied to the passenger cabin is either 100% fresh or is a mixture of fresh and re-circulated air that is filtered through HEPA filters of the same efficacy (99.97% or better) in removing viruses as those used in surgical operating rooms. As in a shopping center or an office, the biggest risk is if someone remains in the environment while unwell with a viral infection. Hence maintain good personal hygiene is key!
General Health & Aviation Frequently Asked Questions
Very safe. In fact, these European Aviation Safety Agency studies showed that “the cabin/cockpit air quality is similar or better than what is observed in normal indoor environments” such as offices, schools and home dwellings.
Modern aircraft have high efficiency air filters similar to those used in hospital operating rooms. They capture more than 99.9% of the airborne microbes in the filtered air.
See these useful resources:
- The World Health Organization's (WHO) International Travel and Health manual, covering cabin air pressure, flight phobia, communicable diseases, and a list of precautions to take while travelling.
- The Health Tips for Airline Travel published by the Aerospace Medical Association (AsMA).
The Aerospace Medical Association (AsMA) article on "Medical Considerations for Airline Travel" is specifically meant for physicians. Physicians can also check IATA's Medical Manual, providing guidelines on fitness to fly.
- TSA adds new coronavirus protections for screeners
- Here’s What Travelers Are Most Concerned About with COVID-19
- United Airlines to triple flights, adding 25,000 in August
- Your Guide to Hotel Companies’ Coronavirus Safety and Cleaning Initiatives
- Delta engages Mayo Clinic experts to advise on making travel even safer