COVID-19 has had a major impact on the travel industry in several ways, and every day, things seem to be changing. In fact, people often ask, “are flights being canceled due to COVID?” It can be overwhelming to think about what changes are on the horizon and what to prepare for next.
In early summer 2021, there seemed to be a light at the end of the tunnel. Vaccines became readily available, businesses started opening back up, strict capacity limitations were being lifted, social distancing was disappearing, and mask mandates were easing up. For a brief moment, it almost seemed like life was back to normal.
However, even when things were still looking to be heading in a positive direction, there were certain travel requirements and limitations that remained in place. One of these included mask mandates on all commercial flights for all passengers over the age of 2. Although flights weren’t being canceled due to COVID, many travelers find that they still face numerous challenges, particularly when flying commercial.
The delta variant and its impact on travel
With the recent delta variant causing a surge in COVID-19 cases, everything has seemed to take a tremendous step backward as summer progressed. Negative COVID tests, vaccination requirements, strict mask mandates, and other limitations have been put back in place in many cities around the country in numerous settings. This setback has also caused the mask mandates on commercial flights to continue.
Mask mandates on commercial flights
Since the beginning of the pandemic, flights were not canceled due to COVID, but many people made the choice to voluntarily cancel their flights due to COVID-19 exposure concerns and overall travel restrictions. Immediately, strict mask mandates immediately went in place on commercial flights. The mask mandate was set to possibly expire in September 2021, but in August, the TSA made an official announcement that they would be extending the mask mandate. As of right now, the mask mandate is expected to last until January 2022, at a minimum. Another decision will be made shortly before this date to announce whether the mask mandate will continue beyond January 2022. Based on past trends, it’s unlikely that this travel regulation will change anytime soon.
Traveling with kids
The mask mandate on planes can be especially challenging for families traveling with young children. They may be faced with the desire to keep them as protected as possible, but at the same time, it is not always easy to get young kids to comply with these guidelines. Commercial airline requirements require that passengers over the age of 2 wear their masks properly during the entire flight, with the exception of brief breaks for eating or drinking. Parents of young toddlers know that this can be a stressful situation, and families have been removed from commercial flights for this reason alone. Additionally, children with special needs are typically not an exception to the mask mandate.
Food and beverage service
Although specific regulations vary by airline, food and beverage services were extremely limited (or stopped completely) during the height of the pandemic. Some airlines have announced a return of these services; again, what this means exactly will vary by the specific airline. However, there is no way to guarantee that a trip on a commercial flight will once again limit these services. On a long flight in particular, this can result in an uncomfortable and unpleasant experience.
Exceptions with private flights
Flying privately is the one exception to mask mandates on planes. When you charter a private flight, you’re in control of most aspects of your flight. If you’re flying privately with a large group and you would prefer that everyone is vaccinated, tests negative for COVID-19 prior to traveling and/or wears a mask, that is completely up to you and something you can request from your traveling party. If you are traveling solo, or with family and you would prefer to go maskless and not enforce other policies that other commercial flights have in place, that is also your choice. With a private flight, you have the freedom and flexibility to travel the way you want to.
Regardless of how you feel about masks, the fact of the matter is, public transportation still makes a lot of people uneasy. A lot of individuals and families who are planning trips have resorted to road trips in order to avoid traveling with strangers, and others have postponed their plans altogether. Whether you want to travel alone or only with a small group of people that you are comfortable with, chartering a private flight gives you that choice. You can also take comfort in knowing that all aircraft are thoroughly cleaned and sanitized in between private flights.
Charter a private flight to limit potential COVID-19 exposure and restrictions
Vaccination requirements, mask mandates, required testing, safety concerns, and other rules, regulations, and developments surrounding COVID-19 are changing every day. It’s difficult to impossible to know what the future will bring, and whether things will get worse and more restrictive before they improve. If you’ve had to keep postponing trips due to commercial flight restrictions and other concerns, one of the best ways to address these challenges and ensure your next trip happens without any issues is by chartering a private flight. When you charter a flight, you and your party will travel safely, privately, and comfortably in your own plane. Contact Luxury Aircraft Solutions today to learn more and to charter your private flight!