The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) guidelines also include limiting or suspending food and drink services on short-haul flights.
The new guidelines are designed to protect air passengers and workers from the Covid-19 virus as lockdown eases.
Airlines could see revenues plunge £314bn in 2020, the ICAO added.
The aviation industry has been struggling as lockdown measures around the world have limited flights and passenger numbers.
As those travel restrictions begin to ease, the ICAO has issued guidelines for governments, with the aim of airlines and airports having a unified response when trying to keep passengers and staff safe from coronavirus.
Passengers should travel as lightly as possible, with small hand luggage stowed under their seat. Newspapers and magazines should be removed, and duty free sales should be temporarily limited, the UN's civil aviation body said.
Short-haul food and drinks services should be limited or suspended, or be sold in sealed, pre-packaged containers.
Access to toilets should also be restricted, the ICAO said. Where possible, one toilet should be set aside for use by cabin crew, and passengers should use a designated lavatory based on which seat they have.
Passengers should be encouraged to check-in before getting to the airport, and to use mobile boarding passes.
Airports should also use contactless technology, including facial and iris scanning, for "self-service bag drops, various queue access, boarding gates and retail and duty-free outlets", the guidelines say.
From the moment you arrive at the terminal building, armed with your pre-printed boarding pass and luggage tags, human contact will be limited, social distancing the norm. Masks will be obligatory, and supplies of hand sanitiser everywhere.