Thoughts on flying during Coronavirus Outbreak

I was scheduled to fly to Houston on Friday, March 13 and return March 15. I have canceled my plans. My decision came down to one question: would I want to be quarantined in a hotel room (if I was exposed to someone while traveling or at the events I would be attending), sick in a hotel room, not allowed to board a return flight, or, God forbid, be hospitalized out of state, away from my husband, my medical team, and my support system? I decided that for me, a 61 year old woman with well-controlled Type 1 for 42 years, that my answer is NO and staying home is best.


My husband is a pilot, so we don’t really have a choice. He’s on the road for two weeks and home the other two every month. He flies private jets and charter cargo, not commercial people flights, so thankfully that minimizes some exposure. Unfortunately, he’s a frequent commercial flyer to meet his planes, and lives in hotel rooms, eats at restaurants, etc…

Our concern level is still pretty low. The reality is that it can be avoided, but people don’t have good enough hygiene habits to do so. (Honestly, China is AWFUL on that front, no wonder disease spreads so easily.) Unless someone infected sneezes directly in your face, you YOURSELF are the mode of infection, by touching your eyes, nose, and/or mouth with infected hands. Eating with infected hands and sharing communal condiments, is especially dangerous in congested places.

Our biggest line of defense is a travel-sized container of hand sanitizer attached to his backpack straps. It is always right there at his heart, waiting to be used. Getting into that habit of NEVER touching himself without sanitized hands is what’s going to keep us safe.

Personally, I rarely travel anymore. There’s no such thing as “farm-sitters” :slight_smile: Someone’s got to be here to take care of the crops, animals, and biological projects all the time. If he brings it home, though, we’re in big trouble.


I just went on a work trip last week and have another one scheduled in May (assuming that conference doesn’t get cancelled). I just followed the same procedures I do regularly for my food allergies… Wiped down my seat belt, arm rests, and back and front of tray table (I didn’t wipe down the call buttons overhead, but I don’t touch those). Mindful not to touch my face at all. Brought all my own food on board. And wiped down my hands before touching my food, all of which was in packaging that allowed me to eat without directly touching the food. The only difference is that I also did add a small bottle of hand sanitizer to my bad that I used prior to eating.

This is all just regular life for me, and probably a big part of the reason I rarely get sick. I think if everyone did these sorts of things routinely, there would probably be a lot less infectious diseases in general circulating.

I should note that I’m also in my 30s… If I was much older, I may hesitate more before flying. At the moment, about the only thing I wouldn’t do is go on a cruise.


My husband who is 65 was due to fly back and see his mom in May, landing at LAX. We’ve pretty much come to the conclusion he won’t be going. It has already hit LA and as packed with people LA is, I’m sure it will be all over the place pretty fast.

Avoidance to me seems to be the first best way not to get sick. Being stuck on a plane and then at a very busy airport doesn’t seem like the safest place to be.


That is true today but if you are looking at late May, virus situation should look very different than it does today. Airlines are being very flexible with allowance to change flights, delay travel and even cancel without fees. China has the situation pretty much under control countrywide and virtually all factories have re-opened there. They are coming back to full normal much faster than originally expected. Unless a large group of infected people act stupid in the US, go out and get infected and then spread it, the US should have this virus fully under control before your husband needs to travel.

My mother is 98 and I visit her and cook for her every chance I get. Moms sacrificed a lot for us and don’t last forever so be safe but leave your options open. It will certainly mean a lot for her if you can visit.

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But will the virus start spreading rapidly again once they are up and running? Maybe everything staying shut down is the only reason it’s under control. I think it’s impossible to say what the situation will be like in two month. It could be much better, or it could be much worse.

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Before the virus I’ve been leery of flying anyway. IMO, a plane is simply an incubator of man and animal pathogens. Plus, for me, it is very uncomfortable due to my height and other issues. And don’t get me started on TSA.

We don’t get to visit family on the opposite side of the US very often, due to my avoidance of flying. Back in the 1960’s and 70’s flying was fun. Now where is my time-machine? I wanna go back! :slight_smile:

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No, I really don’t think so. Factory workers are tested daily and if even 1 person in a factory shows symptoms, the factory needs to shut down for 1 month, sanitize the facility, absorb all costs as well as full pay for their employees during that month. Factory owners of private industries in China can’t afford that, especially after being shut down for Chinese New Years + extended shut down after New Year due to the virus. China is a much more disciplined and controlled society than the US so I don’t expect a relapse due to people going back to work. Our factories started re-opening one by one 3 weeks ago depending on location and so far no incidents.

Well, that’s nice to know the recovery is so fast there. People are not so disciplined in the US lol.

Mid May, but his airlines sent a letter out to customers saying they will work with you in the parameters of their set policies. Which means no. So it won’t matter on the ticket whether we take a wait and see approach.

We are Scheduled to fly to Phoenix on March 18 to attend my Son’s wedding. We are starting to be concerned .

How many miles do u live from Phoenix?

I can appreciate your optimism about the resilience of the Chinese production output, especially give the unique perspective you have. Watching the stock market gyrations these past two weeks, however, make it seem that a collapse in demand in the West might make that supply resilience a moot point.

I believe that we’ve been on the edge of an economic bubble for a few years now. The coronavirus, as dangerous as it might be to certain demographics, may very well be the pin that pricks that economic bubble. People and companies will buy less when uncertain about their confidence in their employment and near-future market demand.

Sorry for veering off into economic issues but the coronavirus and the world economy are presently tightly intertwined. I just today cancelled a three-week trip to Europe that will impact the hotels, restaurants, and other venues that I would have patronized. My decision was motivated by health concerns due to the coronavirus but will affect the economy.


I totally agree and am sorry you need to cancel your trip. From a Global economic perspective, the economy will be affected but if you look back historically bleak economic times have brought about the greatest financial opportunities and while many fortunes are lost in such times, it is also a time that the biggest fortunes are made.

As a small manufacturer of high end bathroom sinks, toilets, faucets and hardware items, as people stay at home more, DIY more, such as during the automobile manufacturing crisis, gas crisis, etc. our sales and profits soared during crisis time. Now with 2 day delivery of about 7000 of our items through Amazon, Wayfair, eBay, Walmart, Houzz, Overstock and several other marketplaces we are ramping up for a big year. So far we are looking at a record Q1.

Time will tell if our corporate economic bubble bursts due to an overall global decline of disposable income or if $ will shift from travel, sports events, concerts, restaurants etc. to DIY home projects. Either way, I totally look forward to the challenges ahead; my glass is always 1/2 full and just hope the general US public can get back to normal daily lives, in which there may be a “new normal” very, very soon. I was stunned by the speed of the China recovery once they clamped down on this virus and hope that the US will have an even quicker recovery soon.

Everybody stay safe and take care.


Unfortunately people in industries like mine may have to use our half-full glasses to look forward to new careers in different industries, and to be glad of COBRA. And maybe that’s okay, but it’s for sure scary.

I’m hesitating to book flights for family events next month. Hard to know what to do next.

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Don’t panic - Stay level headed and use common sense (it does still exist) - When one door closes another opens, oftentimes for the better. - Do the best you can and help others that are less fortunate than you in any way you can. As a nation, we are all in this together. As diabetics, due to our higher risk factors, we are more acutely aware of the risks involved in contracting this virus so we need to be even more proactive than the general public and this is compounded for many of us in our 60’s, 70’s and beyond. Stay safe!!!

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I promise, I’m not panicked and I have the regular allotment of toilet paper at my house. :slight_smile: But I work in the trade show and conferences industry. My chances of exposure are higher than for some others just on sheer numbers of contacts, and next month I’m supposed to go to family events with both older folks and children who have health conditions. I’m less worried about me, and more worried about them.

Common sense is telling me to bide my time, so that’s what I’m going to do.


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Like the old Nancy Reagan War on Drugs slogan,“Just Say No”, when it comes to whether or not to fly.

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I was talking to somebody the other day who used to do something with planes and they told me that, if I fly, have NOTHING to do with the water on the plane. Do not wash your hands in the bathroom of the plane and do not drink coffee or tea on the plane. She said the water is so full of germs. It is one of the reasons airlines offer you bottled water on planes is because the other water is so bad for getting people sick.

Someone else told me today that the first thing for germs IN the airport are the bins you use when going through security. If it were me, I would have rubber gloves that I could put on to handle the bin and then remove them before taking your stuff out of the bin. I wouldn’t worry so much about my stuff in the bin, mainly because I think few people would be touching the inside. It would mainly be on the outside and around the bin where people grab it to pick it up and move it.


It has always grossed me out to touch ANYTHING on a plane. The seat, the tray, a magazine, you name it. I wish I could hold my breath for the entire flight–I catch myself shallow-breathing. LOL! In the best of times, I don’t want to fly and it has zilch to do with a fear of flying–just a legitimate fear of all the pathogens on the plane.


Thanks for all the replies. As each day passes, I am more convinced I have made the right decision. I did not want to add more emotion to this discussion when I began it, but the event I will be missing is my oldest sister’s memorial service. She had aspiration pneumonia and died because an ER doctor sent her home. When she returned to the ER the next day it was too late. That definitely colored my decision, not wanting my brother-in-law to have to deal with more medical problems due to me.