Air Travel in the "New Normal"
Updated: Jun 27, 2020
Are you ready to start traveling again? So many of us are just itching to get out and go!
But when you do finally decide to go, air travel might not look the same as it did just a few short months ago.
Here’s some of what you can expect on your next flight:
(this is a conglomeration of information from several airlines - not all airlines are following all the same protocol and policies are changing continuously)
At the airport:
Plastic sneeze guards at the check-in counters
Touchless self-service kiosks to print boarding passes & luggage tags
Smart phone apps – TRAVEL TIP! if you are traveling, you can download your airline’s app for updated schedule changes, gate changes, boarding passes and on some you can even track your checked baggage.
Social distancing will be in place at all boarding areas & restaurants
Future changes will include thermal temperature check cameras.
At TSA security check points:
All TSA agents will be wearing face masks & gloves (some will wear additional PPE)
You won’t be handing your license (or passport) and boarding pass to the agent
Instead, you will scan your own – whether a paper boarding pass or one on your phone
Make sure you don’t have more than 3 oz of liquid in your carryon bag. If you do, you might have to leave the security area, take out your liquids and then get back on line. TSA agents will not be touching bags.
12 oz of hand sanitizer is now allowed, but must be in a separate clear plastic bag
Food items must be in clear plastic bags
Spaces between bins on luggage belts for social distancing
Although TSA is not mandating face masks, all travelers are strongly encouraged to cover their mouth and nose in the airport.
On the plane:
Limited capacity – airlines are not selling all seats for all flights
All crew and passengers are required to wear face masks throughout the flight
Pre-packaged sealed meals, snacks & drinks
Suspension of food for sale on board most flights (JetBlue’s pantry will also be closed)
Middle seat blocked (some airlines will also be blocking aisle and/or window seats where there are only 2 together – this practice has end dates in place for most airlines (see updates below!)
New cleaning protocols on all planes – sanitization of all planes prior to boarding using electrostatic sprayers / foggers
Hospital grade HEPA air filtration that completely changes the cabin air every 3 minutes
Boarding from back to front
Partnering with companies such as Clorox & Lysol and distributing hand sanitizers & wipes to all passengers (by request on some airlines)
UPDATE - June 27: Here are the latest updates from some of your favorite airlines:
American Airlines - beginning July 1, 2020 AA will be filling their planes, including middle seats. However, they will notify passengers in advance if planes are filling up and allow free changes for people that are not comfortable with a full plane.
United Airlines - is not blocking middle seats. They will contact passengers 24 hours prior to flight time if a flight looks to be fully booked. They are also allowing passengers to change their plans without a fee.
Delta - continues to block middle seats until the end of September and cap capacity at 60% in the main cabin and 50% in first class.
JetBlue - is blocking middle seats until the end of July
Soutwest - Allowing customers to choose their own seats and middle seats will be blocked until the end of September.
Americans cannot travel everywhere in the world just yet.
Keep in mind that I will be your best resource, checking rules and regulations as we plan your next vacation.
Here are a few more resources to check before planning a trip.
Centers for Disease Control – www.cdc.gov/travel
Travel Regulations Map -
Subscribe to STEP to receive travel advisories & local consular updates - https://step.state.gov/STEP/Pages/Common/Subscribe.aspx