Airline travel with your students was stressful enough without a pandemic, but now there are added levels of uncertainty.
Many parents and teachers are asking what airport and airline safety looks like now, after months of quarantine. Instead of simply tell you what we've heard, we had some of our staff members travel themselves and report their findings to us.
In this interview, Jennifer Court shares what she has learned from our airline and airport partners about new health and wellness procedures.
Jennifer is one of the newest members of our staff, but she's been a professional tour guide for over ten years. Working all over the United States, Jennifer knows the in's and out's of airport travel and all the attractions we visit while on tour. Her knowledge, creativity, and passion are an incredible gift, and we're thrilled to have her as a part of our team!
Question One: In response to Covid-19, what changes will we see in airports?
I would say the biggest change you're going to find going through airports now, and this, of course, is going to be dependent on the airport itself, you're going to find a couple of things.
One, it's going to be rather empty. You're going to find limited seating areas. You'll find that seating has been removed in some of the gate areas, also in some of the general seating areas.
[Two], I can tell you that the airport staff have stepped up their cleaning protocols. They are reinforcing cleaning [standards], particularly in high touch areas. Those include armrests on chairs and particularly restroom facilities within the airport itself.
[Three], you're also going to find limited services. Many restaurants are not going to be open. It is important to bring your own snacks. That's one of the things NationsClassroom is recommending, all travelers should bring their own snacks with them as you may not be able to get services inside your airport.
As far as TSA security is concerned, everything is pretty much the same with TSA. The only thing that you will notice is that there may be fewer lines. There may only be one or two open security lines at the airport. If you hold a TSA Pre-Check, you may not have a designated pre-check line to go through at this time, but they do still allow expedited screening through TSA. But as far as everything you're allowed to bring onboard the aircraft, it is the same as it was before.
Question Two: What is it going to look like in-flight? Are there going to be any changes while we're flying that we should be aware of?
Sure! On the aircraft itself, you can expect that you will be required to wear a mask. Masks are required onboard all major U.S. carriers right now.
All of the carriers have stepped up their cleaning protocols. They are disinfecting aircraft between every flight. They are also disinfecting high touch areas: door handles, seat-back screens, armrests, seat belts, tray tables. Things of that nature are all being disinfected between flights. Also, restrooms are being cleaned thoroughly between flights as well.
You can also expect that on the aircraft itself, you may not have the food and beverage service that you're accustomed to while traveling. It may be very limited, or it may not be available at all, so that's another reason to be sure to bring snacks with you.
We're also recommending that travelers bring Clorox wipes or some type of sanitizing wipe with you so that you can disinfect your seating area on top of what the airlines have already done.
You will also find that on most air crafts, the middle seats are being left open so that passengers can have a little bit of social distancing.
Question Three: What is it going to look like when groups arrive after they've already taken their flight? Will there be any different procedures for pick-up?
At this time, everything should be the same on your arrival. Of course, you will have been wearing your mask aboard the aircraft. Your mask is likely going to be required in the airport itself. You will likely find limited services at your arrival airport as well. Restrooms of course will be open, but food service will likely be limited.
You will still meet your NationsClassroom representative at baggage claim. You will board your motor coach to have a great tour!