October 12

How Safe is Long Haul Flying?


By David Ryan on
October 12, 2020

You have more chance of being struck by lightning than catching Covid-19 on a plane!

Whichever way you look at it – and from wherever in the world you might be sitting – Africa is a long way away! So while we know Africa is travel ready and we are excited to see many destinations begin to reopen, guests still need to get here. And for the most part that requires long haul air travel.

We recognise that the low density, wildlife offering of Africa is hugely appealing and is creating great interest in a post-Covid-19 world. Despite this, one of the most frequently asked questions we continue to field here at Rhino Africa is, how safe is it to fly long haul?

To their credit airlines and airports were the first to introduce stringent safety protocols throughout the travel process. Starting with health screenings at airports and the implementation of contactless processes, to enhanced sanitisation and mask-wearing onboard, airlines and airports have worked hard to play their part in combating the spread of Covid-19 from the start.

Despite these efforts to make sure air travel remains safe, passengers seem to remain uncertain and unconvinced. In a recent International Air Transport Association (IATA) survey, 60% of passengers thought cabin air was dangerous. Their biggest concern being the fear of catching Covid-19 from a passenger that may be seated next to them.

The magic of long haul flying, airplane wing at sunset
The possibility of travel, Photo credit: Ross Parmly

It was therefore fascinating to learn at a recent IATA press conference that brought together all three major commercial airplane manufacturers, that one has more chance of being struck by lightning than contracting Covid-19 on a plane! Airbus, Boeing and Embraer presented their independent findings, using complex computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to model the risks of Covid-19 transmissions on aircrafts. 

Astonishingly, Dr David Powell, IATA’s Medical Advisor, who collated all the peer-reviewed literature documenting Covid-19 transmissions on an aircraft, devised that out of all the flights that have taken place since the pandemic began in March 2020, representing some 1.2 billion passengers flying, only 44 people have been confirmed to have caught Covid-19 from another flier. Most of these 44 cases also happened before masks-wearing were put in place. 

So there you have it! The science and the research demonstrates that you are safer flying to Africa than visiting your local mall. Combine the safety of flying with the low risk proposition of an African safari and it is not difficult to understand why now is the best time ever to start planning your once in a lifetime trip to Africa!

About Rhino Africa:

If you want to start planning your dream African safari, then look no further than Africa’s leading safari company, Rhino Africa. We specialise in tailor-made luxury travel in Southern and East Africa, including the Indian Ocean Islands.

Whether that’s bucket-list African holidays, helping a child reach his/her true potential or protecting endangered wildlife, Rhino Africa is all about making dreams come true. We’re committed to uplifting this continent through travel, because travel has the potential to change the world and now more than ever, our planet needs the kind of travel that gives back.

Rhino dehorning in South Africa
Help us save our rhinos

So contact one of our Rhino Africa Travel Experts today, and let’s start making your African dream holiday a reality!

About IATA:

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is the global trade association for the world’s airlines. Its mission is to lead and serve its members, as well as to represent their interests in a way that boosts the airport transport industry.

IATA aims at providing a good and efficient service for both passengers and airline companies, as it defines the standards of air transportation. IATA creates a fair competition among airline companies, and designates the cargo transportation procedures.

For more information: IATA


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About the author 

David Ryan

David makes things happen! With a canny inability to sit still for a minute, it’s a miracle he actually sat down long enough to finish his degree in economics. David is a brave and pioneering entrepreneur with a true passion for Africa - especially Africa's wildlife. With his African Grey parrot by his side, there is more than a hint of the Dolittles about our intrepid leader. Before founding Rhino Africa David spent a number of years earning his stripes and cutting his teeth in the industry. David’s interests include photography and travel, and having travelled extensively through Africa most of the images on the Rhino Africa website hail from his well organised image library!

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