Yes, we are a website devoted to road trips. But, we also take trips around the world. One of us has a trip scheduled to Tahiti later this year. We’re definitely keeping an eye out on how international travel, airports, and travel in general will change in the coming months. Here’s what we know so far.
TSA’s New Rules
The TSA announced new rules in late May related to airports. Here’s some of what they had to say about new security screening processes. Their intention is to reduce the potential for cross-contamination at security checkpoints to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
There will likely be less paper boarding passes, and less physical handling of boarding passes that aren’t electronic. Use a phone so it can be scanned, and you hold the phone yourself, or else scan the boarding pass yourself so the agent isn’t handling it.
Passengers are now allowed to carry containers of hand sanitizer up to 12 ounces. The TSA has instructed that passengers remove the hand sanitizer out of their bags before it passes through X-ray screening.
Personal items in bags.
When you are removing things like belts, keys, wallets, etc, place them in a clear bag in the bin rather than directly in the bin. This will reduce your risks of transmitting germs or picking up germs from items that are placed directly in the bin.
Separate food for X-ray screening.
If you’re taking food through security, separate it into a clear plastic bag and place that bag into a bin.
Frontier airlines now requires passengers to complete a simple health acknowledgement form during check-in to confirm that they are not ill and that they understand the airline’s new health policies. There may even be temperature checks and even COVID-19 rapid tests as a new normal. Air Canada was the first North American airline to announce that it would check passenger temperatures at the gate before boarding, and Frontier followed shortly after. TSA is reportedly planning to take temperatures at certain airports. People who hit 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher will be flagged for additional screening and may have to rebook their trip.
Follow the packing guidelines and don’t bring on any questionable items. This will give TSA agents less need to handle your stuff.
Continue social distancing.
Try to avoid standing right next to an agent or fellow traveler if you can help it. If there are guidelines marked on the floor for positioning, follow them.
TSA agents will be wearing masks and gloves, and you probably should wear a mask too. Some airports are requiring that passengers wear masks.
Just in case there are other protective measures that slow things down, arrive even earlier than you think you should have to.
Don’t bring your friends and family.
Some airports, like Los Angeles, are restricting people inside the airport to ticketed passengers only.
You will likely see shields at more counters and food service facilities.
Airport lounges maybe closed. If they’re not closed, they may limit the number of people allowed in them, so plan accordingly if you anticipate that you will need access to a lounge.
You will still likely be able to buy bags of snacks, water bottles, or trashy novels. But you’ll likely have more options for touchless payments.
Less food and drink options.
Many airlines are eliminating or reducing in-flight food and beverage service, so you may need to think ahead and purchase your own food instead of relying on what’s available in the plane.
For more information on the TSA security screening process during the pandemic, visit www.tsa.gov/coronavirus.
Vanessa Salvia is a long-time freelance writer and editor. Read her journalistic work at vanessasalvia.com, and learn more about her editing and content creation services at sagemediaandmarketing.com.