Precautions I Took While Flying

I did not make the decision to fly lightly. It was not a trip I took purely to spend the holidays with family, there were medical, professional, and personal reasons I needed to be back in America before the end of the year. In addition to several discussions with my family, I sought input from someone who works for the Center for Disease Control, and several doctors before making the choice to fly.

The answer to “is flying safe” is of course – nothing is actually safe right now except staying inside your home. Anytime you leave your home means you are in contact with other people, and you are at risk whether you are going to the grocery store, or flying on a plane. But since I have had to take flights year, there are strategies I have come up with and researched in order to fly as smartly and safely as possible.

When I considered air travel, the important thing brought to my attention was that not all flights, airports, airlines, and itineraries are the same. Even flight to flight, the experience can be vastly different. I had to think the threat of this particular flight, from CDG to LAX when making this choice. This was the third international long-haul I have had to take since March in 2020. I wasn’t traveling internationally for leisure at any point: each flight was something I had to take for medical, professional or family reasons – otheriwse I wouldn’t have flown. and so I wanted to write my thought process and experience on what it has been like, and why and how I chose to fly in November 2020.   

Pre-Trip Quarantine

France (where I currently live) had been under confinement rules for 27 days before the date of my flight. So it had a month since I had been into a single shop, restaurant, metro station, or any public event. I was essentially self-quarantined for 27 days prior to my flight, only leaving my apartment to exercise outdoors alone, go to the outdoor market, or do a few photoshoots outdoors (alone with my tripod) that were required for my business. Masks have been required by law outside since August, so anytime I was outside I was wearing a mask. The only person I had direct contact with was a neighbor in my building, who was also quarantined under the same conditions. I had no symptoms and had not been around anyone with symptoms. 

Choosing Your Flight & Airline

To book my flight, I called Delta, my preferred airline, and asked them to tell me which fight was the least occupied during the week I wanted to fly. I had the flexibility to fly whatever day the flight was most empty so I was exposed to as few people as possible. Since France is under confinement, no one is currently taking vacations, and since Europeans do not celebrate Thanksgiving, I imagined there would not be the typical, holiday congestion that occurs in airports in America. This assured me the airport would not be busy and crowded.

Every airline is following different procedures, but I knew Delta is currently blocking out middle seats and requires a mask to be worn on the flight. They were helpful recommending the flight, and booking me the bulkhead seat by the window, so there was no one in front of me, and assured me there would be no one directly next to, or behind me. This would also keep me farthest from people in the middle aisle, and the airplane staff as they move about the aisleways. As it’s an international flight, it’s a large plane so I knew spread out seating would mean I wouldn’t have a direct neighbor. I called checked the seat map during the week to ensure that had not changed, and again upon check-in.

Pre-Tip Testing

Testing in France is free and encouraged. I took two PCR tests, each three days apart prior to flying that gave instant results, the last one being the evening before my flight the next morning.

Protecting Myself and Others in Transit

Since France is under confinement, and Europeans are currently not allowed to enter the US, I knew that the international wing of Charles de Gaulle would not be very busy. Masks are also required inside the airport, at all times, from passengers and all staff, and there is hand-sanitizer everywhere. I put on my N95 mask, which is a respirator rated to capture 95% of particles, and face shield to protect my eyes the moment I left my apartment and did not remove it until I exited from LAX. I would not have flown without these two things, and without making the decision to never remove them.

While the plane did serve beverages and meals, I did not once remove my mask for any reason. While this is not required, I made the decision to just fast for 11 hours in order to secure my own safety and the safety of those around me. It was a personal decision to feel safest.

Going through the airport and security, I used gel before and after each time I touched anything, and continuously put gel on the handle of my luggage as I kept touching it to roll it through the airport. I stayed a 6’ distance from everyone I passed in the airport, and did not enter any airport store, or eat any food. 

Boarding and On the Plane

At the gate, my temperate was checked prior to boarding. When boarding began, I hung back and let the entire plane board, finally boarding at last call after everyone was mostly seated and situated. This was to minimize any chance of being in a line of people, and I walked down the jetway completely alone.

Upon boarding, I wiped my entire seat and area down with medical-grade bleach wipes that a nurse was kind enough to give me. I also wiped down the tray table, seat belt, head and armrests, walls, screen, remote, window shades, and anything else I might touch. I then took out my sanitizing wand and used it on my phone, laptop, and hand luggage. The wand I have uses UVC LED technology, blasting bacteria and other pathogens with very short wavelength, high-energy UVC light to sterilize surfaces, effectively sanitizing surfaces without the use of chemicals. With a 30 second blast, the rays can kill up to 99.9 percent of germs. It also fits in your pocket, so it’s easy to take everywhere – and I do! (You can use the code ANNA50 for 50% off the price if you are interested in getting one.)

As I expected and hoped, the flight was quite empty. Since it is an international flight, it was a very large and spacious plane (There was one person per row, maximum, in coach, some rows empty entirely. The cabin crew wore a mask and gloves at all times and enforced it among the passengers. They also kept a distance while serving food and beverage to passengers, and kept service to a minimum during the flight. 

When I had to use the restroom, I waited until there was no one in line to go. I used gel before, and a wipe to sanitize the inside and outside of the bathroom door, then washed my hands as usual, and returned to my seat. 

Arrival Safety

Upon arrival, the airline required that people re-board slowly, row by row so no one is close or crowding the aisles. I remained a minimum 6’ distance from everyone as I walked through to immigration, and found the area to be empty, and the line nearly non-existent. 

Upon exiting LAX, I used gel on my hands, and then used a wipe to wipe down my hand luggage and suitcase outside. I removed my shield and KN-95, and disposed of it, and replaced it with a new one. When I got home, I stripped down at the door, put my clothes in a trash bag to go into the washer, and went right into the hottest shower I could stand and used anti-bacterial soap.

Post-Trip Procedure

I will be wearing a mask around my family at all times, and aside from an initial hug – keeping a safe distance while inside. My sister’s house has a separate downstairs with a separate entrance, where I will be staying. I will take another PCR test in a few days, and another a few days after that, and will continue to quarantine throughout the holidays and test every few days.

I do not think my flight and procedure was no risk, but with the advice of medical professionals, I took steps to make it as low risks as possible, and my family decided that me flying home was the right decision.

I wanted to share this process in case it’s helpful to other people who need to travel and want to do it as responsibly as possible. I’m not encouraging anyone to travel, but should you need to, I am sharing this in case it can help someone else. I would absolutely not have made the choice to fly if I had not discussed it with a doctor first, had confirmation that the plane was mostly empty, the airport would be mostly empty, that the airline strictly enforced wearing a mask, that I had the right protection, and that I could I test myself several times before and after flying and have a separate area to live in on arrival in LA.  

I hope if you find yourself needing to fly, that something in this article is helpful to you.

  1. Evelin says:

    Hi Anna,

    Thank you for sharing this and keeping safe! Is so heart warming to see you with Amanda and little Elvito! Can you share the UVC wand you used?

    Thank you and happy holidays!

    • Vanessa says:

      Hope all these excuses help you sleep better at night. You didn’t “need” to travel. Everyone wants to be home with their families this year. Moreover, please don’t share tips to encourage others to travel during a raging pandemic. Sacrifice to save lives.

      • Anna Kloots says:

        Hello, I’m not encouraging anyone to travel, I’m explaining the precautions I took.

      • Anna Kloots says:

        Hi Vanessa,

        You should keep in mind that you do not know me, so you are not aware of all the medical, professional, and personal reasons that I actually did need to fly to America. These are things I discussed with my doctors, lawyers, and family to make a decision on, rather than a public forum.

        • Claire says:

          Just to say I really don’t know why people leave such negative comments – I hope it doesn’t get you down.
          It sounds like you travelled as safely as possible – and sometimes a calculated and mitigated risk is worth it (for many reasons).
          I hope you all have a lovely time together. X

  2. D says:

    Can you please share the details of your sanitizing wand?

  3. Eba says:

    Thanks!for all the information that you kindly provide to us. Happy for you as a family because you are all together again. Especially Amanda and Elvis who are having a really hard time. Blessings!

  4. Kim says:

    Thank you so much for sharing! I think you may have already shared this-but where did you get your face shield and wand? Hope you have a beautiful, blessed time with family!

  5. Meghan says:

    Can you recommend or link the N95, shield, and sanitizing wand you used? This article was so helpful. I haven’t seen my family in over a year and I really feel like I could follow a similar protocol and finally go see them.

  6. Amy Flumerfelt says:

    Thank you so much Anna this was a personal story that you did not have to share and yet your willingness to share was so helpful for those that want to travel and gives me piece of mind as I have to travel to see my first grand child soon and be with him and my daughter! May you have a beautiful blessed time with your family!!

  7. Jacqueline Garner says:

    yay ! I hope our Delta crew made you feel safe. We are teamed up with Mayo Clinic to make sure that we are constantly adapting to new conditions and we have the best medical experts giving us advice. As a flight attendant on the plane daily, I feel extremely safe. I hope that we will continue these procedures well after Covid. It makes sense to board the meeting plane from the back and give the courtesy to people deplaning to give them space instead of rushing the door 😂🤦🏼‍♀️.
    Enjoy your thanksgiving ! Maybe I will be your flight attendant on one of your flights and share our “ Delta Difference “. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

  8. Katie says:

    Ordered the wand! Thank you for the tips! Happy thanksgiving ❤️

  9. Malia says:

    So incredibly selfish of you guys. Just waiting for you all to fly to Ohio now. Everyone rose up to support your sister. You all should support the community in return by listening to the CDC, elected officials, and science.

    • Anna Kloots says:

      I did talk to someone who works for the CDC in addition to a few doctors.

    • Anna Kloots says:

      Hi Malia,

      I’m sorry that you find me and my sister selfish. I’d just like to remind you that you don’t know everything about my, or my family’s life. There are several reasons I needed to come back to America before the end of year. I am a business owner, I have no medical insurance in France, and I finalized a divorce this year. There are medical, professional, and personal things that I simply cannot do in France that need to be done. I encourage you to fixate on something positive instead of “waiting for us all to fly to Ohio.”

  10. Joan McLean says:

    Thank you for this extremely helpful and comprehensive list of how to stay safe while flying. This is who you are Anna. Always willing to share every aspect of your life to make sure the world is safe in the event we need to travel. Thank you thank you thank you. You are the most giving person I have ever known. And today of all days, Thanksgiving. May you and and your family enjoy each other’s company on this special and be blessed for the years to come. Merci encore. 💕💕

  11. Alex says:

    I’m so happy you were able to get back in time to celebrate the holiday with Amanda and Elvis, and do it in such a thoughtful and informed manner. Thank you for setting a wonderful example 🤍

  12. Adele says:

    Although I have no plans to fly, I appreciate the info and caution you took. I know how hugely important it was for you to make this trip.
    God Bless and may we all stay healthy and happy 🌸
    Thank you Anna
    Adele

  13. Elena says:

    Hello Anna,
    I have been following your posts for quite a while now, and I like your profile a lot.
    You seem like a very nice person.
    I am so sorry you had to go through so much this year, and I hope you will find the peace and comfort you need.
    I am also absolutely sure that you and your family know what needed to be done best, not strangers from social media. Do not take their words to heart.
    I think that you took all the precautions that you could possibly take while traveling. Yes, it is absolutely horrifying to travel right now, it’s very scary and uncertain. It’s very scary to live in this world right now! But, if we strictly follow scientists’ and doctors’ advice, it is possible to manage life.
    It’s not 100% safe anywhere right now, but wearing a mask properly, keeping a safe distance, and constantly disinfecting your hands, not touching your face are our best allies!
    Thank you for writing this article, you gave me hope and brightened my day! Sending love! <3

  14. Joanna Johnson says:

    Anna,
    You are being overly cautious and that is great I do hope that once you have been in the country for a little while with negative test results, you will be able to hug your family and take off your mask.

    Much love,
    Joanna

  15. Susan says:

    Thank you for sharing. It’s nobody’s business but your own. People need to stop criticizing. You did the right thing. I fully support your decision.

  16. Karen Connolly says:

    Thank you for your wonderful story full of information. You should not need to justify anything you do! Personally, I LOVE reading your information and I was SO happy you got to be with Amanda and Elvis on their first tough Thanksgiving. Family is everything. You are the best!! Thank you for sharing! I kept checking Instagram all night waiting for the Reuinion!❤️❤️😂😂

  17. Hannah says:

    I absolutely appreciate you taking the time to write out this thorough post on how you mitigated your risks. Anyone who has followed what you and your family have been through this year know that this was not a decision that was taken lightly, and I am utterly impressed at the precautions taken. I just sent this to a friend who may need to fly soon for medical reasons, who was terrified, and it was very helpful. Thank you!

  18. Jessie says:

    Thank you for sharing your experience! I’m moving to another state with my 1 year old and have to fly and this helped ease my anxiety. I also bought the wand sterilizer you recommended, never knew they existed! Thank you so much!

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