Note: All travel is subject to frequently changing governmental restrictions—please check federal, state and local advisories before scheduling trips.
You may not be ready to board a plane again, but that doesn’t mean you haven’t started thinking about it. Although the decision to fly is yours to make, airlines are working hard to offer a safer travel experience. Here is our advice on traveling smarter and safer, as well as what you can expect from many of Travelocity’s airline partners.
Whether your next trip is for leisure or business, here are some tips to keep in mind during the planning process:
- Do your research Particularly around travel advisories and restrictions for certain home cities and destinations, which may include, among other things, on-arrival quarantine, preclusions on non-essential travel, requirements or changes in visa-approval protocols. An interactive country-by-country list of air travel restrictions and advisories can be found here.
- Understand travel insurance If you have travel insurance, make sure you know what it covers.
- Pack PPE Pack personal protective equipment, including masks and sanitizer.
- Stay informed Learn about new and updated cleanliness and safety measures being taken by our hotel and airline partners.
- Ask questions If you have questions about an existing Travelocity itinerary, visit the Customer Service Portal for assistance.
- Look for flexibility Filter your search results for flexible cancellation policies like no change fees. Several major airlines, including Delta Air Lines, Alaska, American, and United Airlines, offer a choice of flexible ticketing options. Under these policies, you can change your flight once without any fees, as long as you travel within the departure dates specified by the individual airline policy. (Fare differences may apply, as always.) Some airlines will even let you cancel flights for future credit. So booking early lets you lock in a great price now on a fare with no change fees and have the peace of mind you can reschedule later. Note: Exact policies vary by airline. Policies are subject to change. We recommend always checking the individual airline’s policies before you book. Please visit the sites below to learn what is covered:
Flexible flight policies by major airline
Delta Air Lines: Flexible flight policy
Alaska Airlines: Flexible flight policy
American Airlines: Flexible flight policy
United Airlines: Flexible flight policy
We’ve compiled a list of travel guidelines from health organizations around the world (such as the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control) to help you consider measures you should take to help reduce health risks when you travel. Please review all information that you need to protect yourself. The below list is not exhaustive.
- Wash your hands often Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Wear a mask Clean your hands with alcohol-based hand sanitizer, or soap and water, before putting on a mask. Cover your mouth and nose with a mask or face covering and make sure there are no gaps between your face and the mask. Avoid touching the mask while using it; if you do, clean your hands with alcohol-based hand sanitizer or soap and water.
- Coughing and sneezing etiquette If you are not wearing a mask, cover your mouth or nose with a flexed elbow or use disposable tissue and discard immediately after use. Clean hands with alcohol-based hand sanitizer or soap and water after coughing or sneezing.
- Social distancing Maintain at least 6 feet or 2 meters (about 2 arm lengths) distance between yourself and others.
- Avoid traveling if unwell If you have a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, a sore throat or have seen recent changes in taste or smell, medical professionals recommend you not travel. If you get sick in-trip, stay home and follow the advice of local officials.
- Anticipate travel needs Bring enough of your medicine to last you for the entire trip, ensure you keep medication in original packaging with label intact, and have prescription paperwork with you if traveling internationally. Consider packing enough alcohol-based hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol) and keep it within easy reach; but remember some airports or airlines may have limitations on volume of liquids you can carry. Bring a cloth face covering or mask to wear in public places. Prepare food and water for your trip. Pack non-perishable food in case restaurants and stores are closed; but remember some airlines may limit your ability to carry food and beverages onboard.
Airlines and airports
Because of new processes and social distancing efforts in place at most airports, in general we recommend getting to the airport earlier than you normally would.
- New cleaning procedures From more thorough deep cleans between flights to aircraft antibacterial fogging, many airlines have announced that they are taking their cleaning up a notch, in some cases even taking planes out of rotation between flights when coming from high risk regions, which may result in schedule changes.
- Social distancing At all points of your journey, some airlines and airports have modified their usual operations to allow travelers and staff to avoid close contact with others. In some cases this includes contactless check in, closure of airport lounges and placing social distancing floor markers at security checkpoints and airline check-in counters.
- Temperature and additional screening Before boarding some airlines or getting clearance to enter certain countries, you may be asked to have your temperature checked, be tested for COVID-19, show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken prior to travel or present certain required travel forms. These measures may be government-mandated and are in place to aid COVID-19 contact tracing.
- Staggered boarding and disembarkation Allow a little extra time when it comes to getting on and off flights, as airlines are staggering how many passengers can get on and off planes to avoid over-crowding.
- Onboard air filtration Most commercial airplanes are fitted with HEPA filters for air recirculation. These filters remove almost all airborne particles, improving the quality of the air flow on your flight.
- Sanitizing personal spaces Many airlines are providing guests with sanitizing wipes, so you can wipe down your seat, tray table, arm rests, lights and entertainment controls once you’ve taken your seat. However, we still encourage you to bring your own personal supply of sanitization wipes if possible.
- Personal protective equipment You may see staff, particularly flight attendants and pilots, wearing face masks and gloves, especially when they are not able to socially distance. Some airlines have made this a requirement for travelers also; others advise travelers to take the level of precaution they’re comfortable with. We suggest carrying a mask just in case it’s required.
- Reduced catering and entertainment Domestic and even international flights may no longer offer the food and entertainment you’re used to. Food is being served in takeout style offerings, rather than on trays. In some cases, personal entertainment screens have been disabled to help stop the spread of germs.
Traveling, especially in the time of COVID-19, has inherent risk. Our goal is to provide the best information available to help you make informed choices and stay safe during your travels. But, we can’t promise that this information is perfect. We don’t fly planes, clean hotel rooms, or have an army of inspectors to independently verify all the information provided by our suppliers. Nor are we experts in virology, public policy, or sanitation protocols. And we do not know anything about any underlying situation or health conditions. Please consult reputable sources, like the WHO and the CDC, and make your own determination about whether travel at this time is right for you. Expedia Group disclaims all liability for COVID-19 and other travel hazards.
Travelocity compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site; such compensation may include travel and other costs.