Scientists are still piecing together evidence to figure out how dangerous airline travel is (judging by this study, it isn't) during the pandemic.
But the fact remains: Consumers are nervous.
It's hard for an occasional traveler to keep track of what each airline is doing to combat transmission. One of the top airfare search aggregators, Skyscanner, has just added Covid-19 safety ratings, on a scale of 1 to 5, to each search result (pictured above). The higher the rating, the better the airline's protocols.
Clicking the rating brings up a list of potential safety measures such as "face masks mandatory" and "cleaning wipes provided," with easy-to-read info on what that airline is doing.
To obtain the assessment, Skyscanner partnered with AirlineRatings.com, which tracks how well carriers keep passengers safe. Most of the time, that has to do with accidents, maintenance, and other operational factors.
This year, Airline Ratings has also added appraisals of Covid-19 preparation. According to the company, "for a COVID-19 compliance star, airlines must pass four of six criteria: website information on COVID19 procedures; face masks for passengers; personal protection equipment for the crew; modified meal service; deep clean of aircraft and social distancing onboarding."
Normally, customers have to pay to obtain the full details, but Skyscanner displays the final ratings for free.
If you're not a regular user of Skyscanner, you might be wondering if you'd have to sacrifice low prices or wide results if you switch to the site. The good news is that you don't. This year, Skyscanner took third place in Frommer's ranking of the best and worst airfare search engines. When we crunched the numbers during our independent tests, conducted just before the pandemic, we found Skyscanner is among the best at finding the lowest fares.