Are you getting ready for takeoff? During the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s critical that you read these rules to ensure that you’ll be able to fly.

Be prepared for anything and everything
For those of us who have lived through a pandemic, we’ve learned to expect the unexpected when flying with COVID-19. All aspects of modern life appear to be impacted by new variants. COVID-19 has an impact on all types of air travel, from domestic flights to international flights, and as a result, the rules governing air travel are constantly evolving. Travel warnings about country restrictions, mask mandates, and COVID-19 testing can change at the drop of a hat at any time.

It’s a good thing that we have vaccines (and boosters) to protect us when we travel. Since COVID-19 air travel, airlines have evolved, and they’ve found ways to keep passengers healthy while on the road (something we couldn’t have said about pre–COVID-19 air travel).

If you’re going to be flying during COVID-19, your best bet is to read up on the virus and get vaccinated, in addition to wearing a mask. You can protect yourself and others’ health by learning what you can no longer do on aeroplanes and what flight attendants can no longer do. So, here are the travel rules you need to know so that you can quickly get through security and fly while the pandemic is raging around the world!

Apply a face mask
Wearing a mask can at times feel like a form of oppression. A good way to prevent the spread of highly contagious variants is to wear a mask, especially in crowded places like aeroplane cabins. To get rid of them would be a huge mistake. Wearing a face mask while flying isn’t just a good idea; it’s also the law. Wearing a mask over your nose and mouth is required in enclosed public transportation (including aeroplanes) travelling into, within, or out of the United States as well as in enclosed transportation hubs in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Get tested as soon as possible after arriving from afar.
Some new rules may apply if you haven’t flown internationally in a while. The most recent was signed into law by Vice President Biden on December 2, 2021, and reads as follows: A negative COVID-19 test result, obtained within 24 hours of departure, is now required for all international passengers flying into the United States on aircraft. Everybody should abide by this rule, no matter if they have received their seasonal flu shot or not. You may need to plan ahead to ensure that you have enough time to complete the test. You should also have a back-up plan in place in case you test positive and are unable to continue your journey. Also, find out what the flight attendants wouldn’t do, and what you shouldn’t do, during the flight.

No fees for changing or cancelling your flight
Is there a silver lining to the flu? If you need to change your flight, airlines won’t charge you a fee. First, airlines such as United, Delta and American announced that they would no longer charge customers to change their tickets in an effort to reclaim customers who were hesitant to fly in the early stages of the pandemic. When it used to be $200 for domestic and some short-haul international flights, no airline would budge on this. As long as the no-fee change has been in place, changing your flight when you’re sick, worried about flying during COVID-19, or just want to change your plans has been simple. This pandemic change is something we’d like to see stick around for a while.

Monitoring of travel bans
The United States imposed travel restrictions on the following countries following the discovery of the Omicron variant in South Africa in November 2021:

  • South Africa
  • Botswana
  • Zimbabwe
  • Namibia
  • Lesotho
  • Eswatini
  • Mozambique
  • Malawi.

Not only citizens of these countries were denied entry to the United States. For a period of two weeks after leaving any of those countries, you were unable to reenter the United States.

While this ban was lifted on December 31, 2021, residents and travellers passing through those countries were still barred from entering the United States. What else should you keep in mind while planning your trip? Tips on how to save money on airfare.

Please avoid flying to these countries
To enter some countries, travellers must show a negative COVID-19 test or proof of vaccination in order to enter. Two nations, on the other hand, forbid tourists from entering, regardless of their immigration status or level of vaccination. Foreign visitors are currently not permitted in Japan or Morocco. Israel had previously announced that it would reopen its borders to non-Israeli tourists who have been vaccinated and recovered on January 9, 2022, the date on which it had previously closed its borders to all foreign tourists at the end of November 2021. Make certain that you know the best day to buy airline tickets before you book your flight.

Take a COVID-19 test and show proof of vaccination or a negative result
Visitors from the United States are welcome in the vast majority of countries, but there are some restrictions. COVID-19 testing is required in most of the Caribbean for entry. Some countries in South America, such as Ecuador, require proof of vaccination, while others, such as Belize, only require a negative test. Mexico is an exception, as there are no requirements for testing there. Despite this, you will still need a negative test in order to return to the US Vaccination status and COVID-19 testing are subject to a variety of regulations in Europe. Before you board the plane, find out what your destination country requires. It’s easy to navigate United Airlines’ requirements thanks to a helpful map.

Follow Hawaii’s specific travel guidelines.
Mandatory COVID-19 testing is not limited to international travel. There are strict rules in place in the state of Hawaii, as well. A Hawaii Safe Travel account or another approved digital option such as CLEAR, an airport prescreening tool, must be created before you fly to the Aloha State. A negative test result from a Hawaii Trusted Testing Partner can serve as proof of immunisation. Once you’ve arrived, all you have to do is follow the rules to have a great time on the beach or island hopping. You’ll be quarantined for 14 days if you don’t get tested or vaccinated.

Maintain strict adherence to the airline’s safety policies at all times to avoid a ban.
Passengers who don’t follow masking rules may not be banned entirely, but there’s precedent for it and it’s certainly an option. As a matter of fact, since the outbreak of the pandemic, Delta Airlines has expelled over 1,600 passengers for misbehaviour and violations of the COVID-19 code, and the airline is now attempting to convince other airlines to share their banned passenger lists in order to create a national “No Fly” list.

Passengers who engage in unruly behaviour could lose their TSA Pre-Check privileges.
The TSA recently announced that “unruly airline passengers may face additional consequences for bad behaviour” as a result of a new partnership between the FAA and the TSA. FAA and TSA will share information about passengers facing fines for unruly behaviour, which could lead to the removal of those passengers from TSA Pre-Check, a programme reserved for “low-risk” travellers.

Refrain from handing over your boarding pass to anyone.
You’ll be asked to scan your own boarding card as you board your plane or through the airport security checkpoints. Passengers and gate agents will no longer have to interact. Using CLEAR, a touchless paid ID service that scans your eyes and expedites your screening process, can help you avoid additional points of contact at the airport.. It can also be used with TSA Pre-Check, which means that you can keep your shoes and jacket on and avoid touching high-contact spots. You’ll see fewer and fewer of these items in airports when things return to normal.

Invest on travel protection.
More than three times as many people were insured this year than in 2018, and more than seven times as many as in 2019. In Megan Moncrief, CEO of SquareMouth, the travel insurance market is “at an all-time high,” she says. People are taking a different approach this year by purchasing travel insurance to cover the possibility of their plans being disrupted by unforeseen circumstances such as weather delays or health complications. Travel insurance not only gives you peace of mind, but it is also required in some places. Health insurance plans are required for travellers to be allowed to enter the Bahamas, Anguilla, and Bermuda, for example, so they can be returned home if they contract COVID-19. Before you buy a plan, make sure to verify the requirements of the countries you plan to visit.

The deadline for a REAL ID has been postponed, so don’t worry about it.
Pre-pandemic, the TSA was preparing to implement a new security policy that required all travellers to obtain a REAL ID–compliant licence by October 1, 2021. Several complications have arisen in connection with this project, including DMV and government office closures, and therefore the deadline has been extended to May 3, 2023. The official release reads, “The Department of Homeland Security has delayed the REAL ID enforcement deadline because to the COVID-19 epidemic. ” For the time being, you can fly within the United States with a government-issued driver’s licence (or a passport), but beginning May 3, 2023, all air travellers 18 years of age and older will need a REAL ID–compliant driver’s licence, a state-issued enhanced driver’s licence, or another acceptable form of ID.

You can renew your passport online.
Here’s a huge advantage for the pandemic: As part of a new White House programme, passport renewals will be made more convenient for American citizens. On December 15, 2021, President Trump ordered the State Department to build a paperless online passport renewal that does not require any physical paperwork to be mailed. Frequent travellers, particularly those who will be using COVID-19 for air travel, are looking forward to the simplicity and speed with which they will be able to obtain the new documents.