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TIPS: How to plan ahead for holiday travel this year

If you are planning to travel during the holiday season this year, start planning now. Changes are happening.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The airline industry is in a major state of change because of the coronavirus. So if you are going to be traveling by air for the first time in a while during the holidays, what can you expect?

Week to week, changes are being made for the airlines — some by choice and some out of necessity. Not everyone is ready to get back in a plane quite yet, though. 

"Too much bacteria on a plane, too many people crammed into one setting," Kate Heesemann, a passenger, said. "I'm not ready to get on an airplane yet."

Here’s the truth about planes: they have probably never been cleaner. 

Airlines have been sanitizing more, and some airlines are leaving many seats between passengers empty for social distancing.

Scott Keys, a travel expert, runs Scott's Cheap Flights. He said with the advanced HEPA filters, fresh air being piped in, social distancing and mask requirements, flying is not considered to be a super spreader now. 

Before you start packing, though, travelers should make sure their desired location is actually an option. Many airlines are cutting routes and have eliminated staff in furloughs. 

RELATED: American Airlines plans 19,000 furloughs, layoffs in October

Travelers should also make a backup plan in case their route — or part of it — is canceled. 

“It’s a new world out there, you may not be able to get to the same places with ease," Roni Fishkin of Mann Travel in Charlotte said. "It requires planning and thought because part of your trip now might include driving as a leg.”

The best advice? Pay with a credit card that offers some level of travel insurance and protection in the event of any cancellations. Additionally, plan to book as soon as possible, since with limited seating there may not otherwise be room under current social distancing guidelines.