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What Does Air Travel Look Like These Days?

  • Category: Coronavirus
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Baton Rouge General
What Does Air Travel Look Like These Days?

It’s been a months-long hiatus, but for some, postponing air travel for work or to see family has run its course. And as the departure date creeps up on your calendar, you probably have questions – and maybe even some anxiety -- about heading to the airport. If standing in long security lines and sitting in cramped quarters is keeping you up at night, here are some things to keep in mind.

In general, you should wear a face mask – most major airlines require that both passengers and crews wear them. (You may need to adjust your mask for identification purposed during the screening process.) Also, wash your hands before and after any touchpoints. Most, if not all, airports will have some visual reminders on social distancing where possible.

About those cramped quarters? During the pandemic, airlines have been capping capacity on flights, but industry experts say that won’t continue for much longer. So while the CDC still recommends keeping a 6-foot distance, it will be near impossible to do on a flight. The good news is that most viruses don’t spread easily on flights because of the way air circulates and is filtered on planes.

But, there are still a lot of touchpoints and security lines to get through first. To address those concerns, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has implemented quite a few changes since the last time you’ve flown. Here are the big ones:

  • Keep your boarding pass to yourself: Instead of handing to the TSA agent, you’ll place the paper or electronic pass on the boarding pass reader yourself, then show it to agent for inspection
  • Separate food for screening: Keep food items in a plastic bag and place in a bin for screening. Separating food from carry-on bags lessens the chance that screeners will need to open bags for inspection.
  • Rethink packing liquids: TSA is allowing one liquid hand sanitizer container, up to 12 ounces, in carry-on bags, but you should still avoid bringing other liquids over 3.4 ounces in your carry-on bags. You’ll have to remove the hand sanitizer from your bag to go through screening.

Other changes to be aware of:

  • Routine cleaning and disinfecting of frequently touched surfaces in the screening checkpoint area.
  • All TSA officers at checkpoints wearing masks and gloves.
  • TSA officers optionally wearing eye protection and clear plastic face shields at some locations.
  • TSA officers will continue the practice of changing gloves after each pat-down.
  • Plastic shields installed at document checking podiums, bag search and drop off locations.

If you’re at higher risk for COVID-19, talk to your doctor about your travel plans. You may have the perfect itinerary, but if you feel sick before your travel date, don’t brush it off – call your doctor and take care of yourself, even if that means postponing your trip.