Holiday Travelers Urged To Take H1N1 Precautions

Nov. 10, 2009


Holiday travelers may have to worry about more than just the weather this winter as many families prepare to fly in the midst of the H1N1 flu outbreak.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidelines for people traveling by air, asking anyone who is sick with flu-like symptoms to stay at home,

6News' Stacia Matthews



H1N1 Special Section

But with many families planning their holiday travel months in advance, some are worried that those rules might not be followed, putting others at risk.

"It would be nice if they had a mask on, or if the airline provided something for you to cover with," said Robert Lundy, who's traveling the day after Thanksgiving.

Researchers at Purdue University found that a sneeze from one sick passenger can reach up to 10 other passengers, including those seated next to, behind and in front of the person.

Suzanne DeCellis, vice president of travel services with AAA, said most airlines are willing to work with passengers to reschedule if someone falls ill.

"The airlines don't want sick passengers on their planes," she said. "We have found if you call them, many of the airlines are willing to wave a rebooking fee."

She recommends passengers look for policies that allow them to cancel for any reason, and buy travel insurance as an extra safeguard.

"You want to have cancellation insurance that protects you in case of illness," DeCellis said. "This is more than just flight insurance. This policy would provide coverage for your flight, hotel or even a cruise."

Travel insurance costs between 7 and 10 percent of the total travel package.

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