Checklist for safe business travel as COVID-19 restrictions are eased 03 July 2020

Top tips for safe door-to-door journeys during COVID-19.

By Lisa AkeroydChief Commercial Officer, Key Travel

Many business travellers are getting ready to fly again in the wake of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions being relaxed or removed. If you’re one of them, the most important thing to do is to always follow official government travel advice in your country, both before booking and regularly until the day you travel.

We’ve created a handy one-pager that you can share with your travellers, download the PDF.

Useful links include:

Plan ahead

  • Once you have checked the official guidance, decide if your trip is absolutely necessary. Always check your employer’s travel policy, approval processes and definitions of ‘essential travel’, as these have probably changed recently.
  • Always book with your organisation’s approved Travel Management Company (TMC). And as the current situation continues to change, we recommend choosing flexible, fully refundable fares. Key Travel offers these at specialist humanitarian and academic rates.
  • Prioritise your own well-being and what you need to feel safe. If you have a travel manager, ask what airlines and hotels are doing to protect travellers, and clarify how you’ll communicate while you’re on the road and what to do in an emergency.
  • Make sure your travel insurance is valid, including for medical evacuation and repatriation, and that you are covered if official travel advice changes while you are abroad. The Association of British Insurers has produced a useful coronavirus information hub.
  • Check official travel health information, such as the UK’s National Travel Health Network and Centre.
  • Consider how tolerant you are of risk and inconvenience. Some countries have closed their borders, severely restricted access for visitors or introduced enhanced screening measures. Others, including some US states, are enforcing a 14-day quarantine upon arrival.
  • Research exactly what your destination’s quarantine involves. It can range from light self-regulated programmes to staying in a government facility.

Before leaving home

  • Check-in online and use a mobile boarding pass to make your journey as touchless as possible.
  • Select a seat that minimises physical interaction. Aisle seats mean you’re more likely to come into contact with other passengers.
  • Buy face masks and gloves (ideally reusable to minimise waste and take a spare), hand sanitisers and wipes to use throughout your journey. US airports now allow 12oz hand sanitisers in carry-on bags, and we expect other countries to follow suit.
  • Research your journeys to and from the airport at each end, including current public transport options. We can also help you organise private transfers at each end of your journey.
  • Contact your TMC, airline or other transport and accommodation providers for up-to date information on your itinerary and travel plans. You’ll find useful Key Travel partner information and advice here.
  • Leave enough time for potential airport delays due to new procedures and physical distancing measures.
  • Eat before you go and pack plenty of snacks – many airports aren’t yet operating fully and airlines are unlikely to offer meals on board.
  • Check what facilities are open at your destination hotel so you can plan ahead for meals.
  • Bring your own refillable water bottle – it’s better for the environment too.
  • Many airlines are introducing temperature checks. Avoid travel if you feel at all unwell (a high temperature could mean you may not be allowed to board).

During your journey

  • Stay six feet/two metres apart from other people whenever you can.
  • Follow official health advice, including regularly washing your hands for 20 seconds, using a hand rub containing at least 60% alcohol and avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Use as few bins as possible at the security checkpoints to avoid delays.
  • Avoid airport shops – bring your own supplies instead.
  • Use the bathroom before you board. You’re more likely to touch things in a tiny airline bathroom, plus you’ll have to walk past other passengers in a confined space. Also, on some shorter domestic flights, the onboard toilets might not be open at all.
  • Try to touch as few surfaces as possible and feel free to wipe them down, especially around your own seat on the plane.
  • Keep up the hand washing and stay in your seat as much as possible.
  • Follow the crew’s instructions, including for wearing face masks – these are now compulsory on most airlines.

On the road

  • If you are renting a car, ask the rental company for their cleanliness policy before booking. Feel free to ask if your car has been properly disinfected when you pick it up.
  • Check procedures at your accommodation before you arrive. Some hotels have introduced temperature checks for guests, as well as registration before you arrive to minimise contact.
  • The situation in your destination country could change quickly, so check local news sources regularly and follow local public health advice.
  • If you become unwell during your trip, get medical advice quickly, and contact your travel or risk manager or your travel health insurer. Stay inside, avoid contact with other people, follow official hygiene advice and postpone further travel until you have recovered.

Returning home

  • Make a note of any issues or concerns during your journey, and make sure to feed those back to your employer or travel manager. That way, improvements can be made for the benefit of future travellers – including you.
  • If you develop symptoms of COVID-19 or have had contact with a person showing symptoms, always follow official health advice.

A well-planned trip will help protect both you and those around you. We wish you a safe and comfortable journey!