It’s no secret that getting through an airport has presented unique challenges when it comes to preventing the spread of coronavirus.
There are so many points of contact that it is impossible to completely reduce the risk of transmitting the virus.
In fact, over 400 TSA employees have caught the virus and even a few have died. So TSA has changed some of the rules and here are what the new screening procedures look like.
Reduced screening checkpoints
Because of the dramatic drop in air traffic, there are now a reduced number of TSA screening checkpoints. So now when you arrive at the airport, only a small number of terminals may be open to security.
TSA is attempting to enforce social distancing between passengers and its employees wherever they can.
You may find agents directing travelers to stand away from each other when waiting in lines and there also might be stickers on the floor to provide guidance on how far to stand.
Social distancing is good but because you are confined to an indoor space, aerosols will still be floating around inevitably so I would suggest to wear masks when going through security checkpoint lines.
Cleaning and sanitization
The TSA recommends for travelers to wash their hands both before and after the security screening process.
This will be easier for you to do since TSA now allows travelers to carry up to one liquid hand sanitizer container that can be up to 12 ounces. (You will have to get the bottle screened separately if you bring such a bottle.)
TSA requests for travelers to keep their personal belongings like wallets and keys in their carry-on bags instead of using the small bowls that are offered. (In reality, I always stuff my personal belongings in my backpack when going through security since it is less risky anyways.)
If you would like, you can request for a TSA agent to wear a fresh pair of gloves when inspecting you and your luggage and also for them to use a fresh swab when checking for explosives.
You can now wear face coverings when going through security but an agent may request for you to temporarily remove the covering so that they can verify your identity.
TSA will now allow you to travel when using a driver’s license or state-issued ID that expired on or after March 1, 2020 since many individuals have had issues getting IDs renewed.
These new changes should make staying sanitized a little bit easier, especially since you can bring a larger container of hand sanitizer. I would recommend anybody traveling right now to wear a face covering and to keep their distance from others while going through security checkpoint lines.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned travel expert covering destinations along with TSA, airline, and hotel policies. Since 2014, his content has been featured in publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, and CNBC. Read my bio.