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Anybody who does a decent amount of flying has probably been in this situation before. You’re heading toward your gate and all of a sudden you realize that you forgot something like a pair of headphones or a charger.
These are common items that you can purchase at various stores in the airport but increasingly we’ve seen them get introduced to vending machines located throughout terminals.
Well, there are now potentially going to be new items you find in these airport vending machines that you might find extremely useful or perhaps even necessary to board your flight.
These are vending machines with PPE (or personal protective equipment), such as masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer.
As of this past Wednesday, Las Vegas McCarran International Airport is now the first in the US to install vending machines from vending machine operator Prepango.
Tulsa International Airport has also added masks to its vending machines and many airports are selling masks, sanitizers, and other similar goods in different retail stores.
Most major US airlines are now requiring or at least highly encouraging customers to wear masks when flying.
And some airlines are even trying to require masks when navigating through the airport and when at check-in areas or baggage claim conveyor belts
So placing vending machines with these items throughout the airport is not only a smart business decision but it’s also a good decision for public health.
As for prices, which you are probably really wondering about, a spokesperson stated some sample prices of $4.25 for about 1.7 ounces of liquid hand sanitizer, a 10-pack of alcohol wipes for $5.25, and $7.50 for a pack of three disposable masks or $14.50 for a reusable cloth mask.
$7.50 for three disposable masks seems a little bit expensive to me but I am admittedly not well-versed in PPE pricing.
Obviously, airports are known for marking products way up but I don’t think that will be a smart move to do when it comes to PPE equipment because the backlash would be massive.
It’s worth noting that many airlines have stated that they will provide passengers with face coverings if they do not have their own.
Allegiant, which is headquartered in Las Vegas, is handing out kits that include a mask and also wipes.
Airlines are doing a lot to help prevent the spread of the virus by implementing things like electrostatic sprayers, more social distancing, closing off middle seats, and reducing services like snacks and drinks for lots of flights.
But when it comes to the containment of germs when inside the aircraft cabin, it feels like wearing a mask is one of the most effective measures that can be taken since it drastically cuts down on what particles are floating around or landing on other passengers.
I just think that price control needs to be a priority when it comes to these items. If airports want to charge three dollars for a candy bar that’s one thing but if you start doubling or tripling prices for equipment to keep people safe that’s unethical in my opinion.
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Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. Since 2014, his content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.