With the country reopening while COVID’s still out there, how safe is it to fly?

(Video by Jamie Landers/Cronkite News in collaboration with ABC15)

PHOENIX – As vaccination rates inch up and countries begin to lift restrictions, some travelers are booking flights for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began. But is it really safe to ride in an airplane, or would it be more sensible to wait?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fully vaccinated people can safely travel within the United States. However, the health agency continues to issue warnings about additional risks posed by international travel, saying “even fully vaccinated travelers might be at increased risk for getting and possibly spreading some COVID-19 variants.”

For unvaccinated people, the agency maintains its stance that staying home is the best way to prevent the spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

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Melissa Dohmen, senior brand manager for the travel organization Orbitz, told WFTS in south Florida that because many airports instituted COVID-19 safety measures during the pandemic – requiring masks, social distancing and enhanced cleaning – it’s a “very safe and clean environment.”

“Many airlines have done studies to really prove that air quality on board is really quite good,” Dohmen said, “so I think you can have peace of mind knowing that if you mask up, bring hand sanitizer, and you’re on that plane, you’re going to have a really pleasant trip.”

In this video, Cronkite News reporter Jamie Landers explains how air flows through a commercial aircraft and how that, combined with standard precautions, can help protect against further spread of the virus.

Cronkite News has partnered with ABC15 Arizona to expand the station’s Health Insider series, which provides expert advice and insights into health topics. Cronkite News is experimenting with storytelling tools and techniques to help explain the issues. Find more of our explainer videos here.

Jamie Landers Jay-mee Lan-duhrz
Innovation Squad, Phoenix

Jamie Landers expects to graduate in May 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Landers has been a reporter and anchor for Cronkite News, as well as a breaking news reporter for The Arizona Republic and a documentary producer for Arizona PBS.