COVID-19 cases have been on the downswing after a spike this past winter due to the omicron variant, spurring people who have delayed vacations or travel plans to start making them again — at least in the United States.
Here is what you need to know about traveling in the U.S. via air, along with updated COVID-19 restrictions put in place for domestic travel, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
What to do before flying
- The CDC recommends if you are unvaccinated or have not received a full course of the shots (meaning all primary doses of an approved COVID-19 vaccine such as Moderna, Pfizer, or Johnson & Johnson), you should take a viral test no more than three days before your departure.
- Cancel your travel plans if you: test positive for COVID-19; are sick; are waiting for the results of a COVID-19 test; or came in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 and were recommended to quarantine.
- If you came in close contact with someone with COVID-19 and were not recommended to quarantine, get tested at least five days after you came into contact with that person. Make sure your test result is negative and you are asymptomatic before traveling.
During your flight
- Wearing a mask that fits snugly over your nose and mouth is required on all flights and in all indoor spaces at airports. Travelers are not required to wear masks in outdoor areas of airports.
- The mask mandate will remain in place for public transportation and in transportation hubs until at least April 18, 2022, which is when the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will decide to either keep the mandate or let it expire.
After your flight home
- The CDC recommends that all travelers self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms. If you develop symptoms, isolate and get tested.
- If you have not received a full course of a COVID-19 vaccine, the CDC recommends you get tested with a viral test 3-5 days after traveling and stay home for a full 5 days after traveling in addition to the steps above.
Related stories about the omicron variant and COVID-19:
How to get 4 more at-home COVID tests for free
‘Deltacron’ variant of COVID: Where is it? Do vaccines work? What is known so far
How to get a COVID booster shot at CVS, Walgreens or Rite Aid
Omicron subvariant BA.2: The new symptoms to look out for
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