Tips for safe Thanksgiving air travel

A plane flies over Los Angeles.
Travel during the Thanksgiving holiday is expected to be near pre-pandemic levels, but public health officials are still urging people to take COVID-19 precautions.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

The number of travelers during the Thanksgiving holiday is expected to be near pre-pandemic levels, but public health officials are urging people to take precautions as the risk of coronavirus transmission is still a possibility — especially for those who are unvaccinated.

L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer on Thursday reminded residents to “manage [their] Thanksgivings with a lot of care” in order to prevent an uptick in cases.

“We’re going to take some basic safety precautions to try to make sure that the activities we do at Thanksgiving don’t lead us to have a really bad time over the winter holidays because people are hospitalized, really sick, in quarantine or in isolation,” she said.


Here are some Thanksgiving safety tips from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the L.A. County Department of Public Health:

Air travel

  • Delay travel until you are fully vaccinated.
  • Check your destination’s COVID-19 situation before traveling. State, local and territorial governments may have travel restrictions in place.
  • Wearing a mask over your nose and mouth is required in indoor areas of public transportation (including airplanes) and indoors in U.S. transportation hubs (including airports).
  • Do not travel if you have been exposed to the coronavirus, you are sick or you test positive.
  • If you are not fully vaccinated and must travel, get tested both before and after your trip.


  • Closed spaces with poor airflow.
  • Crowded places where there are many people from different households.
  • Close-contact settings, especially where people are talking or laughing close together.

Thanksgiving Day tips

  • If you are sick, have symptoms or have tested positive for COVID-19, stay away from others.
  • Get a COVID-19 test before joining others.
  • Wear face masks when gathering indoors with people not from your household, except when eating and drinking. Bring a mask to wear outside if the gathering is crowded, especially with people who are unvaccinated or are at increased risk of severe disease.
  • Keep your distance while eating, unless everyone is fully vaccinated. Set the tables so that people sit with others from the same household where possible and provide distance between non-household members.
  • Keep your hands clean.