A Pre-Flight Checklist for the Covid-19 Era

You know that pilots go through a pre-flight checklist, right? Before every flight they’re in the cockpit checking to make sure that instruments and radios are functioning as normal.

If you travel like us, you’re standing in your living room with all your luggage with this typical conversation:

Jon – Do you have your passport? 

Ben – Yup! I think, great now I have to check…

Jon – Fine… did you also pack your sunglasses, wallet…

And the list goes on and on and on.

Now that many airlines are requiring face masks before you travel, there are a few new things you need to add to your list. Here’s your new pre-flight checklist in a Covid-19 Coronavirus new normal.

At the time of writing, everything was in stock and available. It’s a crazy time, so stuff flies off the shelves. Also, some of the places we would encourage you to call as we have found them locally here in Seattle.

Snacks and Drinks

In flight service is limited on most airlines. A friend who flew last night on a 4 hour flight was offered beer, nuts, crackers, and chocolate bars… in first class. They didn’t even have Biscoff cookies to give away. What world are we living in!!!!

Economy offerings are going to be much less, more than likely water and soft drinks, but chances are that the airlines will not cater what you want.

Make sure to bring an empty water bottle from home so you can fill it up in the airport. Also, snacks can be pretty expensive in the airports. Raid your local grocery store snack aisle before for some granola bars or trail mix to fill up on the long flight.

Serving the meals

Face Masks

There’s two types of masks that you can get… the reusable washable kind (slightly more expensive) or the one-time use masks. Amazon is still your go-to, but we found some at our local Target store yesterday too.

Reusable Washable Face Mask from Amazon

Disposable Masks

Black fabric disposable masks (like the one above)

Disposable face masks are an option if you’re not leaving the house very much. Two options that Amazon has are here and here. They’re less than $1 each.

We’ve found locally that some places carry masks, but maybe not what you would have thought. Our local Sherwin Williams paint store had them, as did our local Sporting Goods store, Big 5. As always, check your local Walgreens, CVS, or Rite-Aid as they’re getting shipments in all the time.

You might already have a mask, however. A post from our friends over at Frequent Miler taught us that the eye masks from airline amenity kits can be used as face masks in a pinch! And, they’re fashionable 🙂 

Disinfecting Wipes 

Airlines are doing one heck of a job cleaning their airplanes. They’re going through every night and wiping down seats, surfaces, and are even limiting the number of touch points for food items, beverages, and more. Social distancing helps as well, but I’ll tell you that even before the Covid-19 pandemic, we were wiping down out seats all the time.

You might get lucky enough to find some on Amazon. Some of them are in reusable travel packs that are convenient for taking with you on the go, like these here.

If you have Amazon Fresh in your area, a grocery delivery service, they often restock the Lysol wipes and are very affordable. This morning in Seattle we had stock, but it only lasted for about 2 hours and then it was gone.

The key to finding items during the pandemic is to think outside the normal big-box. Our local Staples store (get friendly with your management) gets new shipments in twice a week, and each time they’ve had wipes on the truck. The Dollar Tree store that is about 3 miles south of us got a shipment of 100 boxes of Clorox Wipes in stock (each only $1) and even Home Depot sells Lysol and Clorox wipes.

Make sure to call first for availability. If you have a friendly staples manager, ask if they will give you a call when they come in. 

Hand Sanitizer

This one can be a little bit trickier, but all of the places that I mentioned to you before (Staples, Dollar Tree, and Home Depot) also carry Hand Sanitizer. The Home Depot brand is HDX and Staples sells Perk. Dollar Tree brand is called Assured. If you’re simply typing “Purell” into a google search bar, your chances of finding it are going to be zero.

The TSA is now allowing up to 12 ounces of hand sanitizer to be brought with you onboard, but it will have to undergo special screening.

Amazon does sell some foaming travel size hand sanitizer, it comes out to be around $3/ package, which in my opinion is pretty good. Our local grocery store got in trouble for price gouging not too long ago selling travel size sanitizers at $6/each. 

Recently, Office Depot started stocking hand sanitizer, limit 2. If you’re an Office Depot member you get free shipping. That’s $4.28 each.

Hand Sanitizer Available

The best alternative, especially if you’re in the airports, is to wash your hands frequently with soap and water. You will more than likely find hand sanitizer at lounges, check-in areas, and even the Clear station had individual purely packets to use before you touched the scanner.

The New Normal?

Travel is going to be different. The idea of crowding in front of a gate waiting for the plane to board, or being served food from a galley is certainly on hold for a while. I think that people’s perceptions of travel are going to change drastically over the next months and possibly even years. If you’re heading out to travel in the near future, stock up.

Author: Jon Nickel-D'Andrea

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