Travelling in the time of COVID-19

Whether we like it or not, the way we travel will certainly change once it’s safe to do so again. COVID-19 will likely be around for a long time so we can expect increased hygiene measures at airports and on planes.

The International Air Transport Association represents around 290 airlines comprising 82% of global air traffic and have made the following recommendations for onboard social distancing.

IATA recommends mandatory face-coverings for passengers and masks for crew. However, it does not support leaving middle seats empty.

Proposed temporary biosecurity measures include:

  • Temperature screening of passengers, airport workers and travellers,
  • Boarding and deplaning processes that reduce contact with other passengers or crew,
  • Limiting movement within the cabin during flight,
  • More frequent and deeper cabin cleaning; and
  • Simplified catering procedures that lower crew movement and interaction with passengers.

When proven and available at scale, testing for COVID-19 or immunity passports could also be included as temporary biosecurity measures.

Read their recommendations.

How airports are taking precautions

Hong Kong International Airport

Hong Kong International Aiport has started to trial “CLeanTech”, a full-body smart disinfection channel facility. The passenger will first undergo a body temperature test, followed by a 40-second disinfection and sterilisation process in the enclosed channel.

Watch the video to see a demonstration of how it works.


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A post shared by HK International Airport (@hongkongairport) on

A passenger, who travelled to Hong Kong in May, shared her airport experience via Twitter. Read it below.

Abu Dhabi International Airport

Abu Dhabi International Airport announced new arrival and departure processes for passengers travelling through airport on special flights operating until 31 May 2020 by Etihad Airways and other partner carriers.⁣

Passengers will pass through SterixGates and will need to adhere to a range of precautionary measures and undergo various forms of thermal screening and testing.⁣

Watch the video to see how the process in action.


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‎تطبق مطارات أبوظبي حزمة جديدة من إجراءات السفر الاحترازية في مطار أبوظبي الدولي، لضمان سلامة المسافرين على متن الرحلات المصرح لها، والتي سيتم تشغيلها من قبل الاتحاد للطيران وخطوط الطيران الأخرى، وذلك حتى 31 مايو 2020.⁣ ⁣ ‎وتشمل الإجراءات إجراء اختبارات الفحص الحراري وبعض الفحوصات الطبية الأخرى لضمان خلو المسافرين من فيروس كورونا المستجد، وذلك إضافة إلى المرور عبر بوابات التعقيم.⁣ ⁣ ‎ووفقاً لاشتراطات محددة لبعض الوجهات، قد يطلب من المغادرين التوجه إلى المبنى رقم 1 لإجراء فحص الأجسام المضادة الخاص بفيروس كوفيد- 19 تحت إشراف أخصائيين مؤهلين. ⁣ ⁣ ‎وسيخضع جميع المسافرين القادمين لاختبارات تحليل البوليميراز المتسلسل (PCR) الخاص بفيروس كورونا المستجد. كما سيطلب من جميع المسافرين القادمين الالتزام بالعزل الذاتي لمدة 14 يوماً والالتزام بالإرشادات الصحية المتعلقة بفيروس كوفيد- 19.⁣ إذا كنت تحمل إقامة سارية ولكنك حالياً خارج الإمارات، يجب عليك التقدم بطلب من خلال خدمة تواجدي قبل حجز رحلتك. يمكنك التقديم عن طريق موقع وزارة الخارجية والتعاون الدولي We have announced new arrival and departure processes for passengers travelling through AUH on special flights operating until 31 May 2020 by @etihadairways and other partner carriers.⁣ ⁣ In addition to passing through state-of-the-art SterixGates, travellers will be required to adhere to a range of precautionary measures and undergo various forms of thermal screening and testing.⁣ ⁣ Depending on the destination to which the passenger is travelling, they may be directed to Terminal 1, where a COVID-19 rapid antibody test will be conducted by a qualified health professional.⁣ ⁣ Passengers arriving at Abu Dhabi International Airport will undergo a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test for COVID-19, and will be required to self-isolate for 14 days and follow all Department of Health guidelines in regard to COVID-19. If you are a UAE resident currently located outside the UAE, you need to apply for ICA approval via the UAE Tawajudi service before booking your flight. You can apply through Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation website:

A post shared by Abu Dhabi Airport (@abudhabiairport) on

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