At the end of March, air travel in the United States hit a new low. In recent weeks, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has been reporting an increase in air travel as America adjusts to the new normal. COVID-19 considerations have changed the way airports and airlines operate.
Many airports are taking special precautions. Regan National Airport, for example, requires everyone wear cloth face coverings at all times in public spaces. They have installed floor decals to assist with social distancing and Plexiglas barriers at counters and TSA checkpoints. Additionally, Regan National has lowered parking rates at garages within walking distance to terminals to eliminate the need for shuttle buses.
In addition to the social distancing guidelines recommended for any public location, some of the new measures for airline passenger safety include:
- TSA has implemented new cleaning and disinfecting procedures.
- Passengers can now bring one liquid hand sanitizer container up to 12 ounces, an exemption to their liquid, gels, and aerosols carry-on policy.
- Expired driver’s licenses or state-issued IDs up to a year after expiration granting leniency to travelers who are unable to renew their licenses due to COVID-19 restrictions.
- Airlines request passengers wear a cloth face covering at all times.
- Passengers are encouraged to pack their own snacks, as food and drink services are limited during most flights.
- Some airlines are even blocking middle seats in cabins and reducing the total number of passengers.
The Center for Disease Control is encouraging air travelers to consider the risks of flying. While planes are designed to effectively circulate air, slowing the spread of viruses and germs, you may still be at risk by sitting within six feet of other passengers. Security lines and airport terminals can also put you in close contact with others. Before flying, make sure to pack food, water, and hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Wear a cloth face covering, wash your hands often, and try to stay six feet away from other passengers.
As with any activity during the “new normal,” common sense safety measures are recommended for all travelers.