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Is it Safe to Fly Internationally Right Now? Flight Insight from a Travel Specialist

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For many prospective travelers, this is the million-dollar question. The impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic are felt across the travel landscape, and air travel has changed significantly.  We asked Jessica, a Zicasso travel specialist who recently traveled to Tanzania, to share with us what it was like as she flew from Los Angeles, California to Amsterdam, in the Netherlands, and then from Amsterdam to Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.

What were your initial thoughts about flying during this pandemic?

“I am a bit neurotic when I travel in a good year, and I didn’t make the decision to travel lightly. I had thoughts that I might never get onto a plane again, and I was really stressed out about it. I researched everything very early on, trying to find out how this could work. One thing that helped me relax is that the air in a commercial flight is refreshed with fresh air every 2-3 minutes. Every major airline has upgraded or already had high-grade HEPA filters, so this made me relax.”

On every major airline, masks are required. What was it like to wear one for 20+ hours?

“Plan to wear a very comfortable mask, and be prepared to wear it for the length of your time in the airport and on your flight. There is no tolerance for balking at this requirement, and it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be with the right mask on--not every mask will do! Related to safari, the domestic flights in Africa also require wearing a mask to protect all passengers on the flights.  Precautions are being taken to protect local villages from the importation of the virus from foreign guests.”

Which is your favorite mask?

“I tried many, and eventually purchased a box of 100 of these masks from Costco.com. Available only online and not at the store, they meet the stringent KN95 filtering standards and they are quite comfortable to wear for long periods. I am now using them as my mask for daily life, and am so glad that I found these.”

Editor’s Note: KN95 and N95 masks both filter over 95% of particles. The former follow Chinese regulatory standards and are readily available in the US, e.g. through Amazon or Costco.com. The latter follow US regulatory standards and are generally less comfortable to wear and more expensive. This article provides a more detailed discussion on KN95 vs. N95.

What three tips could you give for anyone considering a last-minute international trip?

Plane landing in Botswana

Plane landing in Botswana

“First of all, look at any loyalty points, and see what is possible. Business-class prices are much lower than usual, more reflective of the low season than the high, so you can really maximize your points.  Second, find a very comfortable mask, pack some alcohol wipes and hand sanitizer.  That said, in my recent experience, the plane was meticulously clean, which gave me confidence.  Lastly, expect a truncated in-flight experience with much less ‘muss and fuss’ as the airlines work to create a low-contact experience. Everyone in travel is ready and waiting for you, so I cannot encourage you enough to take advantage of this time in travel, particularly with a safari in Tanzania.”

Whether you are considering a last-minute trip to Tanzania, or to any other destination in the world, Zicasso is here to help.  With over 450 travel specialists around the globe, we can connect you with the right person to help you make your trip happen. Learn more about Zicasso Air, or fill out a Trip Request to learn more.  You can also call our Traveler Care specialists at 1-888-265-9707.

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