The US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had recently said most viruses and other germs do not spread easily on flights.
“Most viruses and other germs do not spread easily on flights because of how air circulates and is filtered on airplanes,” the CDC has said in its set of COVID-19 guidelines for air travellers.
However, the CDC in its guidelines did not recommend following social distancing between two passengers inside a plane or keeping the middle seat unoccupied.
According to the CDC, it is better to avoid air travel as much as possible.
“Air travel requires spending time in security lines and airport terminals, which can bring you in close contact with other people and frequently touched surfaces,” the CDC said.
“Social distancing is difficult on crowded flights, and you may have to sit near others (within six feet), sometimes for hours. This may increase your risk for exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19,” it added.
The CDC in its guidelines recommends several measures for cabin crew to protect themselves and others, manage a sick traveller, clean contaminated areas, and take actions after a flight.
“If possible, separate the sick person from others (by a distance of 2 meters or 6 feet, ideally) and designate one crew member to serve the sick person. Offer a facemask, if available and if the sick person can tolerate it,” the CDC said.
If a facemask is not available or cannot be tolerated, ask the sick person to cover their mouth and nose with tissues when coughing or sneezing,” it added.
If no symptomatic passengers were identified during or immediately after the flight, the CDC recommends airlines to follow routine operating procedures for cleaning aircraft, managing solid waste, and wearing PPE.
“If symptomatic passengers are identified during or immediately after the flight, routine cleaning procedures should be followed, and enhanced cleaning procedures should also be used,” it said.
Clean porous (soft) surfaces (e.g, cloth seats, cloth seat belts) at the seat of the symptomatic passengers and within 6 feet of the symptomatic passengers in all directions, it added.