It was never even in wild thoughts of anybody that the air travel would be taking a break for a while and the same goes down to as low as 5 percent of the normal volume. The TSA (Transportation Security Administration) screened just around 87000 passengers while the usual is more than 2 million on a normal day.
Now, in the US, the travel is slowly picking up and it has reached 8 percent of the usual number of people travel and it is expected to reach a better level with the summer season and relaxations from stay-at-home. But the airports are not going to be the same as they used to be with crowds in lounges, long lines at check-ins.
Though many airline companies are making their own list of mandates for the passengers like masks, temperature checking, carrying sanitizers, the airports are as well getting equipped with cleaning robots, plastic shields, temperature screenings, and reduced amenities. There are many new things and procedures coming to say hello to passengers in the US airports and here are some from them.
Pittsburgh International airport is the first airport in the US to launch two robots with UV-C rays to clean and disinfect the floors with high-traffic areas in the airport, and the regular mopping is long gone for now.
Long Island MacArthur Airport is the first to install the air sanitizers and surfaces in the airport, which is called CASPR (Continuous Air and Surface Pathogen Reduction) that spreads the trace levels of Hydrogen Peroxide to the air in indoor spaces.
Los Angeles International (LAX) arranged more than 250 additional hand sanitizer stations and the public restrooms are set to be cleaned at least once in an hour and similar efforts are being installed in almost all other airports in the country.
Orlando International Airport (MCO) installed the new acrylic protective screes at ticket counters and at food outlets to prevent the infection spread. Other airports like Orlando installed the same in the gates and other locations maintained by the airlines.
The check-ins with kiosk machines are also going away from now on and they are very high touch point areas. Few airports are introducing the printing of United bag tags at a kiosk by following social distancing and with hands clean. they will be printed by simply scanning a boarding pass on the mobile device or a printed copy and then attach the printed tags on the luggage followed by dropping the bags at a designated location.
Masks And PPEs
The masks should be worn by all, including the passengers and the crew. Los Angeles (LAX), San Fransisco (SFO), and San Diego (SAN) are asking the airport occupants to wear masks and Pittsburgh airport announced the mandate on mask-wearing from May 18. But here is something we never thought of. Some airports are mandating the use of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) as well.
Some airports like Las Vegas’s McCarran International Airport (LAS) are selling N-95 masks at $8.25 on vending machines, while many other airports are planning to launch these vending machines very soon.
Not anywhere in the US for now, but the Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) is installing a full body disinfection booth for staff and the same booth leaves an antimicrobial coating on the skin and clothes of the person within 40 seconds. Soon, passengers also may be made to walk through the booth, as for now, it is only for staff members.
Changes in TSA
To observe a strict social distancing and control the direct contact between employees and travelers, the TSA is implementing new procedures like visual reminders of spacing and metering the passengers to maintain distance between the passengers and many more.
The TSA agents also wear masks from now and they won’t be physically checking the ID documents, except the boarding pass. There could be plexiglass dividers and the temperature checking of passengers in all airports.
Temperature Checking & Social Distancing
The passengers should be ready to get their temperatures checked through touchless thermometers and also be prepared to get denied boarding if it is 100.4 or higher. Air Canada already introduced thus that required all passengers to submit to temperature screens and there could be further and detailed tests in the near future at all international airports.
Social Distancing is here to stay for years to come and airports are not an exception to it. The airports are making space indoors by removing furniture and sitting areas so as to provide the standing space for passengers. Markings and designated standing places in the queues will be the common signs at all airports and there will no more be congested lines.
Well, these are just starters and we have to be prepared to get along with many such measures until the virus is gone or the potential vaccine is out.