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How can I prepare for a domestic flight as opposed to an international flight?

Preparing for a flight or long trip often starts with making sure your home, pets, plants, and anything or anyone else that depends on you will be taken care of. For the flight itself, you may want to research whether there are any travel restrictions, or special requirements.

Mask rules are fluid, so you may want to bring masks, as well as to pack a bottle of hand sanitizer for good measure. U.S. airports and airplanes were requiring guests and passengers to wear a mask until April 18, 2022. While the Transportation Security Administration said it would "no longer enforce" the mask requirements, it may be smart to bring a mask you find comfortable for extended wear, just in case.

Take note that if your flight is entirely within the United States, then you will not need to show proof of vaccination, test for COVID-19, or quarantine upon arrival. Just like the fluidity of mask rules, regulations in the United States surrounding COVID-19 are subject to change with little, or no notice. As such, you may still want to bring your vaccination record.

Your international travel checklist, however, may differ. Everyone traveling to the United States, regardless of citizenship or vaccination status, must take a COVID test no more than one day before travel, and show their negative test results prior to boarding a plane headed to the United States. Additionally, depending where you are flying from, there may be masking requirements. Items you may want to add to your international travel checklist include:

  • Masks that you find comfortable for extended wear.
  • Locations to get a COVID test before flying home.
  • A back-up plan in case your test comes back positive.
  • Obtain or confirm health insurance coverage for while you are abroad.

If you recently recovered from COVID-19, then you might be required to provide a letter from a licensed health care provider or a public health official providing clearance for travel.

As far as pandemic-related regulations abroad are concerned, it may be a good idea to do your homework in advance. Some countries require a period of quarantine, testing upon arrival, or other restrictions. Many of these requirements have been relaxed, but may change as a result of COVID surges prompting a return to more restrictive measures.

What travel documents do I need for air travel?

Whether you are traveling within the United States or abroad, a valid photo ID is required (such as a state-issued driver’s license or permanent resident card). Your ID must be REAL ID compliant beginning May 3, 2023. If you are traveling internationally, a valid passport and, depending on the destination and length of stay, an appropriate travel visa, may also be required.

No two trips are exactly the same, and COVID-era regulations may require additional travel documents. For example, you may need to show a negative test result, your vaccination documentation, or a letter from a healthcare authority or licensed practitioner providing travel clearance if you were previously infected.

Other documents parents may need for flights with children:

  • Travel Consent Form – This consent form allows your minor child to travel with another adult.
  • ID for minors – While the federal Transportation Security Administration does not require ID for minors, some airlines do. If you are flying internationally with a minor, you will need consent from the other parent if both parents are not present.

Business owners and some individuals may want to consider setting up a Power of Attorney for long trips. This is especially important for international travel, since it allows a trusted individual to take care of any emergencies that may arise while you are away.

What can I do if my flight is canceled or delayed because of COVID?

Passengers are generally entitled to a full refund or a rescheduled flight in the event their flight is canceled by their airline. When a passenger cancels a flight, however, what happens depends on the type of ticket that was purchased. As inconvenient or frustrating as it may be, airlines in the U.S. do not owe passengers any additional compensation for cancelations or delays on their part.

Of course, flight cancelations and delays may cause a ripple effect for your lodging, food, transportation, and any other cost associated with a delayed departure or a late arrival at your destination. Still, whether you are entitled to compensation for these additional expenses varies. For example, passengers departing from airports in the European Union may be entitled by law to compensation for:

  • Food and beverages.
  • Access to communications.
  • Hotel accommodations when necessary.

Passengers departing from airports in the U.S., however, generally are not entitled to such compensation, although this may vary by airline. Also, airlines may not be required to compensate you for hotel reservations and other accommodations or events paid for in advance if your flight is canceled or delayed. Some do provide hotel or meal vouchers upon request when long delays occur.

When do travelers need travel insurance?

It is crucial to distinguish between insurance that covers the costs associated with the trip and medical insurance coverage. Depending on where you are traveling, the trip’s length, and other considerations, you may want just one, both types of insurance, or none at all. Follow along as we break down the two types of insurance.

Health coverage

While those visiting the United States from countries that provide nationalized health care typically obtain short-term medical coverage for the duration of their stay, U.S. travelers abroad do not always do so. Even fully insured U.S. travelers, however, may want to consider additional insurance while abroad.

Some high-end travel credit cards offer supplemental coverage, as do many comprehensive travel insurance policies, but be sure to read the fine print. If you are concerned about coverage for emergencies, then these policies may be adequate. But, if you want access to routine care, possibly even care for the flu or some other moderate illness, you may not be covered.

Comprehensive travel insurance

Many credit card companies include a certain amount of travel insurance, particularly those associated with airlines. Still, policies vary considerably in what they cover.

Comprehensive travel insurance covers certain risks that travelers commonly face, including:

  • Flight cancelations or delays.
  • Lost luggage.
  • Medical emergencies.
  • Non-refundable expenditures (such as event tickets or lodging).

Generally, medical coverage offered by a travel insurance policy does not cover costs related to a preexisting condition. Also, many policies specifically exclude claims related to COVID-19.

If you have legal questions about how to prepare for that trip of a lifetime, reach out to a Rocket Lawyer network attorney for affordable legal advice.

This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.


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