How to stay safe while flying during the pandemic

SPOKANE, Wash. — Millions of people are still traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday, even though health officials asked them not to. If people plan to still fly, there are still ways to try and minimize that chance of getting COVID-19 this holiday season.

Christmas decorations are up at the Spokane International Airport, a sign that usually means more people will be walking through.

“We’re not really worried about corona all that much with the travel warnings and stuff like that. We just, again, really wanted to see family and just get out,” said Savanna Spain.

Savanna and her mother flew out of Spokane Tuesday to Arizona to spend Thanksgiving with their family.

The holidays are normally time for people to be together.

That’s what Anne Bruce is doing, even if health and state leaders say people shouldn’t.

“I made a choice, and I’m very pleased with it,” Bruce said.

She told 4 News Now she’s not too worried about traveling right now, even with her age in consideration. Bruce says she has been “more or less” in isolation since March at her retirement village. She said she was ready to see family.

“I’m masked, you’re masked, the airplane is clean and I’m sure they’re doing well with the air filter system and there’s no crowd. That’s too fearful to be afraid to fly under those circumstances,” she said.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says “most viruses and germs don’t actually spread easily on flights because of how air circulates and is filtered” on those planes.

However, sitting on crowded flights or being near someone in line can increase the risk of catching COVID.

The CDC advises wearing masks if flying. It suggests distancing from others not in the same household as best as possible.

People should also wash their hands often and bring hand sanitizer on the plane. Make sure it’s also easily accessible.

Travelers could also bring sanitizing wipes to clean any shared spaces.

There will be fewer people traveling this year compared to years past.

According to data from the Transportation Security Administration, it shows fewer people have been walking through airport across the nation.

On Monday, it shows that more than 900,000 people went through security compared to the 2.2 million that did the same day last year.

Even though it is fewer people, the CDC says traveling can increase chances of getting and spreading the virus. The agency says the best way to reduce exposure is to stay home.

RELATED: ‘There is really not any safe group gathering’: Spokane medical officer weighs in on holiday plans