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Flying Post Coronavirus? Here is What You Need To Know.

post coronavirus

If and when we fly again – we ALL need to do so safely.

12/07/2020 UPDATE:

After months of study and data gathering and more study – it has been determined that the air quality in an Aircraft Cabin IS SAFER than in MOST buildings! If everyone wears a MASK it’s even better!  But here are a few tips that will give you the confidence to fly again.

  1.  Wear your DAMN MASK! If you don’t you may end up on a “no fly” list.  And I personally would think that was FUNNY! Because if you fail to wear your mask deliberately during a flight – you deserve it!

  2. Personally, I will continue to do as I have always done and clean my own seat area before sitting down.  I carry a ziplock bag in my carry on that contains a cloth dampened with disinfectant.  I wipe the things I am likely to touch before I even sit down.

  3. Keep the air flowing from the diffuser above your seat.  Don’t turn it off.  This is YOUR clean air!  It is mostly from outside the plane – mixed with a small portion of exhaust air that is filtered first and de-contminated through a complicated well designed system.

  4. Check the safety rating of your Airline BEFORE you book!

In short it has been determined SCIENTIFICALLY that most of what we feared initially – is not true when it comes to air travel!

END OF 12/07/2020 UPDATE

Post Coronavirus, safe flying is going to be important. At Travel Like an Architect™, we know a bit more about interior environments than the average person. Perhaps even more than we want to know.  Architecture requires three dimensional comprehension of how a building, or in this case, how a passenger aircraft compartment works.

It is a complex big picture – for sure.

Airlines need to invest in new technologies & labor that will enhance the cleanliness of the aircraft cabin.  After this great pause it is possible, that it could be more difficult than ever, because of a lack of revenue!  It will be very interesting to see which airlines figure out how to boost our confidence enough that we are comfortable flying again.

There is little benefit to washing your hands when EVERYTHING around you is covered in germs, and the air is full of floating particulate.

In it’s simpleist form here is how it works:

When seated in your seat, the air blowing on you from above is 50/50 (re-circulated / fresh air).  The re-circulated air has been cleaned, by being forced through, under floor, high-energy particulate air (HEPA) filters.  It has also been mixed with air from outside the aircraft.  This mixed air has also been conditioned to a “comfortable” temperature (in someone’s opinion).  The diffussers are positioned and directed in each row to force airflow down, where it it collected by suction at the outside wall of the aircraft near your feet.

Have you always thought that, no matter which seat you choose, it’s drafty?You’re RIGHT!  That is true, by design.


Some people turn OFF their overhead diffusers.  Once they do, the system is not functioning as designed.

If you sit by the window – all of the cabin air, is flowing over your feet!  So, don’t touch your FACE, or your SHOES!

Industry claims that a full flight, is no more germ-filled than any other closely populated place. (That’s what I would say too.)  But now, post COVID 19, we know how important social distance is!  And there is NO DISTANCE between passengers on any commercial air flight!  We ALL KNOW THAT.

Logic also suggests that the under floor air filtration system is only as new as the aircraft itself.  Older systems may not have a HEPA filter at all.  It also makes sense that the air is only as clean as the HEPA filter.

post coronavirus

What we can do:

An immediate solution I can think of for flying in a post Coronavirus economy is to wear an N95 mask, and always choose glasses over contact lenses!

I have been traveling with Bleach Wipes for decades, and will continue to do so. I clean the area of our two seats before either of us sits down.  I wipe the arm rests, the side wall of the aircraft, the sliding window, and of course the TV and area surrounding it. Generally, I wipe anything that I think I might touch.  I am aways aware that I am not able to clean the fabric seat, or mesh pocket in front of me.  Which is really bothersome.

The real problem:

Scientists are not sure that our population will develop herd immunity to this new virus, or if the virus will quickly mutate into a new version that everyone is suseptible to again.  Having said that – it is truly critical that everyone CLEANS up their act!

Industry Challenge:

Post Coronavirus, the airlines really need to do something about the cleanliness of all the surfaces inside the aircraft, between flights!  They need to adjust their flight schedule to allow time for the activity, and purchase the right supplies and equipment to accomplish a clean, germ free cabin, at whatever the cost.

Airlines need to do their part to stop the spread of germs, because we aren’t going to forgive them for just wanting to make more and more money!  We are ALL going to expect information.  When was the HEPA filter last changed?  How will we be assured that the passenger cabin is clean?

Technology Exists:

We all know that, technology costs money.  Here are a few ideas, some costly and others, not.

  1. UV Lighting

  2.  Aerosol Spray – There is an assortment of disinfecting aerosal sprays on the market, that hold the potential for use on Upholstery.

  3. Bleach Water – All hard surfaces should be wiped with a simple disinfecting solution between each flight.

  4. Heat kills bacteria and virus’.  How could the airlines use heat to disinfect the interior of the aircraft?

What I learned by writing this article:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has exactly “0” Guidance Documents specific to cleaning aircraft, even though they have issued such a thing for Cruise Ships.  Don’t you think it’s high time they came up with a standard protocol?

The CDC offers General Cleaning Guidelines here, and the EPA has a list of approved products here!

I for one, will be anxiously waiting for publication of new airline industry protocol for clean aircraft!

New post coronavirus marketing should target us with proof of their clean aircraft proceedures.  Remember, we all have a choice of who we fly with!

What will it take for you to feel confident enough to fly post Coronavirus? Please post your ideas and thoughts in a comment.

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