All of us at Alaska are here to bring you the best care in the air—and answers to your burning travel questions—check out our tips so you can travel well and plan those long-awaited trips for spring and summer!
1. Should I wait to get the vaccine before taking a trip?
If you’re able to get vaccinated for COVID-19, we highly encourage you to do so. However, Alaska Airlines does not require it. Before your flight with us, you will be asked to fill out a health agreement, which simply confirms you will wear a face covering on board/at the airport and that you have not shown any COVID symptoms in the past 72 hours and have not been in proximity to someone who has tested positive.
2. What is the safest type of trip to plan right now?
Wherever you’re planning to go, Dr. John Lynch from UW Medicine says it’s important to protect yourself & others by wearing a mask, avoiding large crowds and washing your hands often. Also, double check any special travel rules in place for the destination.
According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), flying remains one of the safest travel alternatives during the pandemic. Adding multiple layers of safety are key to combat the virus—i.e. Alaska’s Next-Level Care—which includes mask-wearing, rigorous cleaning programs and strong air circulation.
3. Am I more at risk sitting next to someone on a plane?
While it seems like sitting on a plane with other people could be risky, analysis of air travel shows viruses don’t spread easily on aircraft because of a number of things. One study concluded people wearing masks have a near zero (0.003%) chance of contracting COVID-19—even while seated next to someone.
You’ve covered by:
- High air exchange rates (fresh air every 2-3 min in the cabin)
- HEPA filtration
- Forward faced seating
- High-back seats
- Mask-wearing *this one is SUPER important*
- Enhanced cleaning
- Contactless features (pre order meals, mobile boarding pass)
- Complimentary sanitizer
4. What if I tested positive for COVID-19 or recently recovered from the virus? Can I still fly on Alaska Airlines?
For your safety and for the safety of others around you, guests who have exhibited COVID-19 symptoms 72 hours before their flight or who have been in close proximity to someone who has tested positive are not allowed to fly with us. This is for the safety of all guests and employees. Our current Peace of Mind waiver covers change and cancellation fees for all flights booked through March 31, 2021.
For those who have recovered from the virus (yay!) you are welcome to fly with us after the CDC-recommended quarantine period has passed: 10 days after a positive test or symptom onset, no fever for 24 hours, and all other symptoms not getting worse.
5. I don’t like tests. Do I need a COVID test before I fly?
It depends. Some of your favorite destinations, including Hawaii, Alaska, Chicago and New York, require negative Covid-19 test results taken no more than 72 hours before your flight, or you’ll need to comply with a 10-day self-quarantine. Be sure to schedule your test early, as appointments fill up in advance. Find a testing location.
6. I can’t fly without snacking, can I still eat or drink on board?
Yes! We don’t want any hangry or parched passengers. We just kindly ask, after you sip or snack, please put your mask back.
7. So, masks. Does everyone have to wear them? Can I take mine off in my seat?
No mask? No travel. Per our policy, Alaska guests must wear a cloth face mask or covering for the entire flight, including boarding and deplaning. Your mask or face covering must cover your nose and mouth—and cannot have valves, mesh material or holes of any kind.
Exceptions apply only to children under the age of two (in alignment with CDC age guidelines). Guests who repeatedly refuse to wear a mask or face covering will be given a final warning—in the form of a yellow card—and may be suspended from flying with us for a period of time. Read more about our mask enforcement.
8. How is the quality of Alaska’s cabin air?
The cabin air is very clean and safe, says Josh Nice, the Director of Quality Assurance at Alaska Airlines. We have one of the newest fleets in the country which means our planes have the latest air filtration technology. Our planes are equipped with two hospital-grade HEPA filters that remove 99.95% of airborne particulates. There is a full exchange of cabin air with outside and HEPA-filtered air every 2–3 minutes and 100% fresh air every 6 minutes. Learn more.
9. You sure we can trust the cleaning of aircraft and airports?
Our planes have never been cleaner, says Nice. Alaska’s enhanced aircraft cleaning procedures exceed CDC cleaning guidelines and was developed/validated with infectious diseases experts at UW Medicine. We’re taking cleaning to the next level to reduce the already low risk of onboard transmission. Here’s how:
Between every flight, we’re using high-grade EPA disinfectants and electrostatic disinfectant sprayers to sanitize the most critical areas (overhead bins, armrests, tray tables, seatbelts, lavatories, etc).
Please note: If you wipe the leather seat with your own cleaning wipe, the blue leather dye color may come off. This doesn’t mean it’s dirty, it’s the active ingredient that is causing the color to come off on the wipe.
At the airport
We’re working closely with airport services to ensure the highest level of cleanliness. We’ve instituted a cleaning program for the check-in lobby counters and gate counters where the surfaces are wiped down with a disinfectant more frequently.
10. It’s been almost a year since I traveled. What’s it like now?
Travel is a little different but Alaska has thought through every step of the way—from booking to boarding, and beyond—and implemented nearly 100 ways to keep you safe.
Here are some travel tips:
- Pack enough masks and hand sanitizer. TSA now allows you to bring one 12 oz. bottle in your carry-on until further notice.
- Masks must be worn at all times (except to briefly eat/drink).
- Prep ahead of time to minimize interactions at the airport:
- Check in online or via Alaska’s mobile app.
- Print bag tags from home or with Alaska’s app at any airport self-service kiosk.
- Fill out applicable health forms or requirements (per the destination you’re traveling to, i.e. Hawaii).
- Security checkpoints will be as contactless, spread out and efficient as possible.
- Expect deeper and more frequent cleaning of surfaces at airports and on Alaska aircraft.
- You’ll probably notice floor decals to maintain distancing, hand sanitizer stations and plexiglass dividers at counters.
- Catering procedures on board will be simplified to lower crew movement and interactions between guests.
- Please remain calm & respect physical distancing when boarding/exiting the aircraft, at baggage claim and customs.
We’re all in this together and can’t wait to travel with you!
Book now at alaskaair.com. Mask up. Let’s go!