The Guide to Flying Home for the Holidays in 2021-2022
This holiday season is all about family get-togethers and celebrating with the people you love. But flying home for the holidays is not what it used to be pre-COVID-19, and travelers are still concerned about the health risks associated with the trip. So, how can you make that trip and stay safe? Read on to find out.
"The two central channels all air travelers go through to reach their destination are airports and airplanes, each posing their own set of health risks"
What are the main risks of the 2021-2022 holiday travel season?
COVID-19 is still the leading cause for concern in all high-traffic, closed-off spaces such as airports and aircrafts. With only around 65% of Americans vaccinated and waning immunity levels, the pandemic is far from over.
Add on pandemic fatigue, defined as a lack of motivation among many people to take protective action such as masking as well as a disinterest in COVID-19 related updates and information, and you’ve got all the makings to keep COVID-19 active.
Other airborne viruses are also at play this time of year. Flu season is under way with major outbreaks in several universities across the country and, combined with pandemic fatigue, has the potential to come back with a vengeance.
What are some of the biggest hurdles to staying safe during your trip?
The two central channels all air travelers go through to reach their destination are airports and airplanes, each posing their own set of health risks:
Airports are closed-off spaces with a high volume of travelers. This indoor compound includes:
Food courts , where people remove their masks to dine.
High-touch surfaces like restroom door handles, escalator handrails, elevator buttons and various touchscreens.
Hordes of people . Everywhere.
With low chances of successful physical distancing, it’s now down to the mask you choose and frequent hand cleaning to keep you from catching anything.
Airplanes are confined spaces in which you are restricted to a specific location for the duration of the flight. Some of the curve balls you will be facing during your flight are:
➤ The People Factor: The mix of passengers sharing the passenger cabin with you is completely random. This randomness also applies to their health status as well as their inclination to follow mask etiquette rules. Mealtime with masks off, masks that have been used for too long, masks with poor performance levels all add to the complexity of staying safe within the passenger cabin.
➤ The Air Quality Factor: Many airlines have upgraded their aircrafts’ air filtration systems to try and reduce the chance of airborne pathogens spreading throughout the passenger cabin. However, even with the best system in place, there will always be a lag between exhaled air and filtered air within the passenger cabin. At any given moment, some of the air in the passenger cabin will be unfiltered. Once again, your choice of mask will determine how susceptible you are to whatever is airborne inside the passenger cabin during your flight.
(Qingyan Chen, Purdue University School of Mechanical Engineering)
The makings of a good air travel face mask
Now that we’ve established how much is riding on your choice of mask, let’s take a look at what you should look for when selecting your travel face mask. Here are the main points to consider:
➤ Good fit: For any mask to perform well, it needs to provide a good, snug fit. A mask with air leaking from the sides and top is not getting the job done.
To ensure proper fit, look for a mask with sufficient adjustability options. A mask like the SonoMask™ Pro comes with your choice of head or ear straps, both with adjustable sliders, to ensure a comfortable, snug fit.
The adjustable nose wire will ensure an airtight seal around your nose. The SonoMask™ Pro also has a chin guard for an ergonomic fit that stays put. And the expanded size range ensures everyone has a SonoMask™ Pro that fits them.
➤ Breathability: With some masks, you are forced to choose between performance and breathability. Not with the SonoMask™ Pro. The SonoMask™ Pro is made up of 3 layers of protection: an inner and outer soft poly/cotton blend fabric that keeps things comfortable and breathable, and a middle filter layer to boost performance.
➤ High filtration performance: The filtration performance you get from the SonoMask™ Pro is exceptional, delivering 97% filtration of 3-micron particles .
➤ Built-in antimicrobial properties: A key distinguishing factor of the SonoMask™ Pro face mask is that the fabric in the SonoMask™ Pro has been treated using an innovative patented ultrasonic technology to protect the mask against microbial growth. This means that the mask stays clean and hygienic even in the most suspect surroundings
➤ Built-in odor control: The antimicrobial treatment applied to the SonoMask™ Pro controls odors by preventing the growth of odor-causing bacteria on the mask.
➤ Durable for long-lasting performance: The SonoMask™ Pro is a reusable, washable mask. Testing has proven the SonoMask™ Pro maintains its potency for over 55 washes . This means your mask will not only support your entire trip but also future trips to come.
Traveling this holiday season to spend time with family may be more demanding than what we’re used to from pre-COVID-19 times, but it can be managed with the right travel mask. The SonoMask™ Pro combines high comfort and performance to provide the best of both worlds while on the ground and in the air. With its multiple sizing and adjustability options and antimicrobial treatment meant to keep the mask clean from microorganisms, you’ve got everything you need to make your trip enjoyable.