LOUISVILLE, Ky. — From American Airlines and Delta to Frontier and Southwest, airlines say they’re taking COVID-19 prevention seriously, encouraging frequent hand sanitizing and masks for example.
“I was apprehensive about how all of it was going to go,” said Hannah Decker, a recent American Airlines passenger.
Decker flew to Louisville from Wisconsin.
“This is my first time doing much of anything since quarantine," she said.
She couldn’t miss her sister’s high school graduation, but the trip didn’t come without stress. She said the first leg was concerning.
“So, it felt a little crammed and congested," she said.
But the second flight was a better experience.
“Everyone had a row between them and had their own seats," said Decker.
Many passengers we interviewed at Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport, with six feet between us, said flying during COVID-19 is unpredictable.
Complaints on social media are plentiful. This photo, taken July 1 on a United flight to Detroit, shows a man using a mask as a way to get some shuteye.
The man behind this tweet said his American Airlines flight to Florida on July 8 was packed “like cattle.”
“It was crazy," said Grace Mortenson, a Delta Air Lines passenger.
Mortenson said she had a flight she won't forget on Delta Air Lines from Los Angeles to Louisville.
“There were some problems with some people not wearing masks and they had to take someone off the flight," she said.
Airlines have said they’re taking steps to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
“Most airlines do require a face cover when traveling," said Natalie Chaudoin, Louisville Airport's public relations manager.
A spokesperson at Delta Air Lines said if someone doesn’t wear a mask, they may not be allowed on their flight, a policy other carriers told us they’re enforcing too. Unlike some carriers, Delta Air Lines said they're now boarding passengers from the back of the plane to the front to limit contact.
“And when you get on they hand you a hand sanitizer wipe so you could wipe down your area," said David Miller, a Delta Air Lines passenger.
Frontier does temperature screenings on passengers and staff before boarding. American Airlines and Southwest have more air filters on flights.
“There’s no way we can bring that risk down to zero," said Lucia Mullen, a security analyst at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.
Mullen, who studies infectious diseases, said the most helpful safety measure is for passengers to wear masks correctly during their entire flight. She said it’s up to airlines to enforce consequences for those who wear them incorrectly.
We asked United Airlines about how they handled the mask mishap highlighted in this Tweet. We’re waiting to hear back.
“If they’re implemented wrongly then it’s not giving you the same effectiveness," said Mullen.
The reality for many passengers during coronavirus is that flying is uncomfortable and stressful. Between wearing a mask the whole flight and being scared about people not following the rules, many say flying is a risk, despite precautions.