Over the weekend thousands of travelers hoped to get back to their homes and were forced to cram into airports around the country, standing in long lines while the Center for Disease Control advised everyone in the U.S. to avoid gatherings of 50 people or more. Fly’s travel map is tracking safety across airports, and here are some highlights:
New York is especially dangerous at the moment, as many people are closer together than in many other cities like Los Angeles.
A trip from LGA to LAX is safest through Detroit — but LGA is quarantined
JFK is also quarantined, but the safest connection if you’re going to LAX is through Phoenix, which shows COVID activity, but is still safer than Denver and Las Vegas.
Your best bet to leave New York is to travel through Newark, New Jersey, and if headed to Los Angeles, stop through Detroit.
Bottom line: New York is one of the most dangerous airports in America at this point
Miami is a major hub for travel to and from South America, a continent that has seen cases but has not been blocked by travel bans like the EU, UK, and Ireland.
Traveling to Seattle would be safest through Denver — although direct flights are available.
Miami has fewer reported cases than Tampa, and many more direct flights.
Washington state was hit early, and hit hard by COVID-19. Over 400 confirmed cases of the disease have been discovered, and there have been fatalities in Seattle. This may be the highest-risk destination and departure zone.
If you were traveling to Austin, TX and couldn’t get a direct flight, choose Salt Lake City over Dallas/Ft. Worth. Dallas has quarantined patients, while Salt Lake has not (yet).
PDX is relatively safe so far, and if you were traveling to Boston you’d be best taking a direct flight. However, there are flights with a stop in Detroit, which is still safer than Minneapolis/St. Paul, which has had more than a dozen confirmed cases.
Portland to Atlanta is more complex, as there are no direct flights. Options include Denver, Dallas, Minneapolis, and O’Hare. Chicago’s airport is still considered safest, however.
Leaving Las Vegas may be one of the safer routes. Casinos closed buffets and events early, hoping to slow the spread.
Traveling to the East Coast? Newark is one of the safer destinations, either flying direct, or through Detroit. Salt Lake City is the less-preferred layover, but still safer than most.
Traveling to Raleigh, NC is a study in contrasts, with Southern routes being higher risk than Northern ones. New Orleans has had over 3 dozen cases, whereas Salt Lake has had about a third as many. Charlotte is the safest Southern route in this scenario.
SFO has reported over a dozen cases, but is still relatively safe. Bay Area workers are largely information workers, and can work at home, perhaps reducing the spread. Even so, traveling across the country from SFO often requires a stop.
Philadelphia has reported more than 3 dozen COVID-19 cases, but safe routes include Detroit first, Charlotte second, and Minneapolis third. Obviously a direct flight is preferable.
Traveling to Dallas, we see the safest route through Phoenix, then Salt Lake, with Los Angeles being least preferable.
Travelers may want to consider secondary airports, like Newark instead of LGA or JFK. Some cities are relatively safer, like Detroit versus Chicago, or Phoenix versus Los Angeles. Atlanta is relatively safe, but not as good as Charlotte. Austin is safer than Dallas. San Diego has more reports of quarantine than Los Angeles at this time.