As international borders begin to reopen, and airlines resume flights post Covid lockdown, travelers are preparing to plan their summer travel.
Although this is going to have a slow start, the loosening of stay-at-home orders ensure that airlines, airports as well as the Transport Security Administration (TSA) have made ample adjustments to their systems and procedures to accommodate the social distancing norms while traveling.
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Changes to TSA Security Procedures in US Airports
Apart from the mandatory wearing of the face covering mask and/or shields as well as hand gloves, the following new steps have been taken to ensure that there is minimum contact between TSA agents and fliers going through security screening:
- Cushion Time At Airports: To ensure there is sufficient time to carry out additional safety measures for travel during the Coronavirus pandemic, travelers are advised to come into the airport fairly early before their scheduled departure time and ensure there is plenty of time for the new screening procedures before boarding their respective flights.
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- Check-in: Travelers are advised to check-in online to avoid crowding at the airport kiosks.
- Social Distancing: To ensure all travelers keep at least 6 feet apart at all times, several sections of the airports are marked to indicate spacing, especially at check-in and security lines.
- Boarding Passes: Travelers will scan their own boarding passes on the code reader and then hold it up for the TSA agent to inspect.
- Permitted liquids onboard: While passengers are allowed to carry liquids under 3.4 ounces and hand sanitizers up to 12 ounces (packed separately in clear bags), for amount that violates this rule, travelers will be asked to remove and throw it out themselves. It is important to follow all quantity guidelines to minimize contact between TSA agents and your baggage.
- Food items: Like liquids in the past, all food items will now need to be bagged in separate zip-lock bags and placed in a bin for inspection during security.
- Other loose items: Travel items like keys, cell phones and others that are not in liquid state can remain in the carry-on bags and need not be brought out into the inspection bins.