My business partner is getting ready to travel from the South of France to Kansas. He’s 81 years old & a US citizen.

Any thoughts/recommendations on the safest way he can travel to minimize the chances of getting COVID?

  • 8
    Why does he have to travel?
    – guest
    Jun 20, 2020 at 14:18
  • 1
    I agree with @guest that his better option is probably to avoid travel during this period. But if he really needs/wants to, Just to be sure, is he actually allowed to enter the US at this time? I.e. is he a US citizen or PR or one of the other limited categories of people allowed into the US despite having been in the Schengen area in the past 14 days? Also, where is he actually leaving from, and going to? Options remain limited...
    – jcaron
    Jun 20, 2020 at 14:57
  • 1

2 Answers 2


If the question is the safest, then the answer can only be: charter a plane. The chartering agency will help picking airports: some money can be saved by leaving from a smaller airport and the destination is a bit tricky. Not only vicinity is a requirement but he needs to meet CBP to admit him into the country (which they will, citizens can't be denied). The list of Ports of Entry in Kansas is one entry long: Wichita airport. Obviously Kansas City airport in Missouri is another possibility. I do not know whether it's possible to pay the CBP to meet him at an airport where they are typically not present. The chartering agency will be very well versed in this.

Note this is ~4500 nautical miles and so you need to charter a large or even a long range jet. I ran a random date for this route through a few private jet search engines google found me, one said "Long Range Jet from € 85 090" the other said "$117,100 to $133,200". It's very likely chartering a somewhat smaller jet to do it in two hops, refueling in Gander will be cheaper (flying transatlantic like this was very popular in the 1950s because there were no bigger jets yet). With the longest leg only 2518nm there are several mid sized jets which have the range. Also, it's possible a mid sized jet will be able to take off from an airport a long range jet wouldn't be able to which again is likely to save money. For example, the balanced field length for the mid sized Legacy 450 is 3800 ft, for the large Gulfstream 500 it is 5385 ft which means the 5249ft long runway at Aix-en-Provence is enough for the Legacy 450 to take off but the G500 won't be allowed to (allowed to -- what's possible in an emergency is entirely different). You are still renting an entire jet, pay for the fuel and the crew hours but it'll be cheaper -- somewhat. Indeed, same search as above quoted me € 66 970 for the one stop option indicating a mid sized jet as I expected. These numbers are pretty much in line with my wild guesstimates, so despite these are not formal quotes, this is what I would budget: 100-130 000 USD nonstop, 80 000 USD with one stop. Roughly.

But you asked for safest and this is it. Whether it's worth it, that's a different question and one that we can not help with.

  • 1
    You could land at the closest international airport, refuel, go through immigration, then continue. No need to do it all in one hop.
    – JonathanReez
    Jun 21, 2020 at 23:45
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    I believe (though am not certain) that even private planes are subject to the rule that anybody who enters the US, having been in the Schengen Area in the last two weeks, must pass through immigration at one of these fifteen airports, none of which is in Kansas, though @JonathanReez's point that you could clear immigration and then continue on to your final destination still stands.
    – mlc
    Jun 22, 2020 at 0:52

The safest answer and the best answer are two different things. The best answer is for him not to travel until the pandemic is over. His age puts him in a very high risk category.

The safest way to travel would be for him to book a first-class ticket on a non-stop flight to the airport to which you can drive the quickest. You will need to pick him up. It may mean an extended car ride for both of you. Since, he may not be able to get a non-stop flight to the airport geographically closer to you. But, that will limit the number of people to whom he is exposed.

He needs to wear a mask and gloves from the time he leaves his house to the time he enters yours. There will be times, like at security checkpoints, where he will have to remove the mask. Try to minimize exposure at those times. This means that he will have to avoid eating, drinking and using the restroom as much as possible. And of course, sanitize his hands, and everything that he will touch, often.

  • 1
    There are only a few airports accepting international flights from Europe. From Kansas your closest options are Chicago (ORD) and Dallas (DFW). Jun 21, 2020 at 3:59
  • @NateEldredge - Better to have one other person in a car than 50 other people in a regional jet. I don’t like the drive from Dallas to Chicago. But it’s doable. To Kansas is only half of that.
    – Dean F.
    Jun 21, 2020 at 4:37
  • For practice, he should try wearing a mask non-stop for 12+ hours, as he will need to do that at least from the time he enters the first airport to the time he exits the last airport. He’ll probably find out this really isn’t fun or practical.
    – jcaron
    Jun 21, 2020 at 9:33
  • @DeanF I suspect it's statistically more dangerous to drive from Chicago to Kansas than it is to fly, even accounting for Covid. Jun 21, 2020 at 12:56
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    I don't think the advice for gloves is a good one. SARS-Cov-2 is not known to be able to enter the body via the skin, so the risk when touching something is to then touch one's face, and gloves will not help with that. They are also more difficult to wash. So unless one plans to change gloves frequently, and knows how to remove gloves without risk (which is not as easy as one may think), it's actually counterproductive. Face masks, trying to avoid touching anything as much as possible, and frequent hand washing are a better option.
    – jcaron
    Jun 21, 2020 at 21:57

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