Air travel has lower Covid risk than going to the supermarket, says study

Flying offers a lower risk than going out for a meal or shopping in a supermarket, an airline’s research has claimed.

Delta Airlines, which operates links between the UK and several US cities, commissioned the study by scientists from the prestigious Harvard University.

It shows steps taken by the airline to protect customers and employees from Covid-19 means the risk of exposure during air travel is very low.

The use of face coverings is “the most essential part of a comprehensive set of measures to reduce Covid-19 during air travel,” the study outlined.

Delta was one of the first airlines to require customers and employees to wear a mask or face covering at airports and onboard the aircraft.

The report’s findings also back Delta’s extensive cleaning practices, with the cabin interior on every flight thoroughly sanitised prior to boarding – including toilets.

The study said: “The risk of Covid-19 transmission on board aircraft is below that of other routine activities during the pandemic, such as grocery shopping or eating out.

“Implementing these layered risk mitigation strategies requires passenger and airline compliance but will help to ensure that air travel is as safe or substantially safer than the routine activities people undertake during these times.”

From January, Delta will also block off middle seats and reduce flight capacity to reduce the risk of exposure to Covid-19 even further.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stated there is no evidence of a single case of transmission on a US aircraft.

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“The travel experience is a very comfortable, a very safe experience, we have taken actions, even above and beyond what the CDC has recommended to ensure safety,” said Delta’s chief customer experience officer Bill Lentsch.