by Imani Bashir
As travel begins to slowly reopen, many of us are wondering what changes will be made to the check-in and boarding experience going forward. Last week, the Transportation Security Administration announced that there would be new rules and guidelines for all passengers traveling through airports in order to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
In the event that you may need to travel in the coming weeks, here’s what you need to know.
TSA encourages all travelers to wear face protection, but be prepared to have to remove it briefly during the screening process and when you present your boarding pass/ticket. Be sure to have your mask on when checking in, boarding, on your flight, and deplaning.
These airlines require wearing masks:
- American Airlines
- Delta Air Lines
- Frontier Airlines
- Southwest Airlines
- United Airlines
Handling of tickets/boarding passes
Do not hand your boarding pass or ticket to a TSA agent. Have your mobile or hard copy ticket ready to place on the reader, yourself. Upon scanning, hold up the boarding/mobile pass to show the agent and allow them to give you the “okay” to proceed.
Packed items allowance
To prevent holding up security, passengers need to make sure that they do not have any items in their carry-on baggage that aren’t allowed or the proper 3.4 oz. size. However, TSA is now allowing passengers to travel with hand sanitizer that’s up to 12 ounces in their carry-on. You will be required to remove the hand sanitizer to have it screened. Prohibited items may put you back at the beginning of security to remove the items and dispose of them yourself.
Any and all food should be kept in a clear plastic container or clear plastic bag. TSA suggests separating the food from carry-on items as to not set off any triggers during screening and help the process move along more smoothly.
TSA Precheck members do not have to remove any items from their bags.
More changes in effect
Remember that TSA’s policies and your airline’s policies are not the same. Look up your airline’s individual pandemic prevention policies to find out more about boarding procedures, meal service, and social distancing during the flight.
Here are more changes to expect from TSA:
- Condensed security lane usage due to the smaller numbers of people traveling.
- All TSA officers will be wearing masks and gloves.
- TSA officers will change gloves after each pat-down.
- Plastic shielding was installed at many travel document check-in podiums, bag search, and drop-off locations.
- TSA officers will be practicing social distancing (6 feet if . separation or more).
- TSA will practice routine cleaning and disinfecting of frequently touched surfaces in the screening checkpoint area.
Changes in the airport will make security lines to take much longer to get through because of social distancing. Be sure to be as prepared as you can to ensure you won’t have to go through more than once.
Imani’s a writer who’s contributed to publications around the world including Business Insider, Cosmo, Glamour Magazine, & various airline in-flight magazines. She has lived in Egypt, Poland, & China.