After months of shelter-in-place and quarantines, states are finally reopening for travel. For many families, this means that vacations and leisure travel can be rescheduled.
As they prepare for the influx of travelers, airports across the United States are preparing new safety and cleanliness standards to keep travelers safe. The TSA plans to roll out their updated security procedures by mid-June. Here's everything travelers will need to know.
Keep possession of their boarding passes.
To reduce the chance of cross-contamination, travelers should now place their boarding pass (paper or electronic) on the boarding pass reader themselves. After scanning, travelers should hold their boarding pass toward the TSA officer to allow the officer to visually inspect it.
Separate food for X-ray screening.
Food items often trigger an alarm during the screening process, so passengers should place their carry-on food items into a clear plastic bag and place that bag into a bin. The alarm is less likely to be triggered this way, so it is less likely the TSA officer will need to touch or examine the luggage.
Travelers, as always, should take extra care to make sure they do not have any prohibited items in their carry-on bags. Rather than having a TSA officer remove prohibited items from bags, travelers may be asked to go back outside of security to remove the item themselves. By resolving issues in this manner, TSA officers will need to touch the contents of carry-on bags much less often.
In response to COVID-19, TSA is allowing one liquid hand sanitizer container, up to 12 ounces per passenger, in carry-on bags. Passengers are required to remove the hand sanitizer from the carry-on bag before being submitted for X-ray screening.
Practice social distancing.
Noticeable adjustments leading up to the security checkpoint include increasing the distance between individuals as they enter the security checkpoint, placing visual reminders of appropriate spacing on checkpoint floors, and staggering the use of lanes where feasible. No two airports are alike, so social distancing could look a little different at each airport.
Wear facial protection.
TSA officers at checkpoints are now using facial protection. Travelers are encouraged to wear face protection to the checkpoint as well. Passengers may need to adjust their masks during the screening process. Please note that mask requirements vary by destination, so be sure to double-check before departure.
Travelers are also encouraged to remove items such as belts, and items from their pockets, like wallets, keys and phones, and put them directly into their carry-on bags instead of into the bins to reduce touch-points during the screening process.