More on changes to air travel

Hey, it’s Rich Dale.  Last weekend, I talked about how COVID-19 has changed the way air travel works — possibly permanently.  But wait, there’s more!  The TSA has announced some new Coronavirus screening procedures ahead of the summertime travel season.

  1. Make sure you keep your distance and look for the airport’s visual cues on social distancing. Also, TSA workers are wearing face masks and are urging you to do the same.
  2. You won’t hand your boarding pass to the agents this summer.  Instead you’ll scan the pass in yourself to avoid unnecessary contact.
  3. You’ll also need to put things like your phone, wallet, and keys directly into a carry-on instead of the bins provided by the airport.  Each passenger may carry one bottle of hand sanitizer up to 12 ounces but will be required to take it out before going through x-ray screening.
  4. If you’re carrying food, it must be separated from the rest of your carry-on items.  Keep the food in a clear plastic bag and place it in a separate bin for inspection.
  5. …and as you can probably expect, get to the airport well in advance because the new guidelines and procedures are going to mean longer lines at the airport.

What strikes me as strange is that a couple of these new rules almost contradict certain 9-11 rules that we’ve been living with for a long time.  For instance, scanning your own boarding pass instead of handing it to the agent seems a little less secure.  Or being able to take a 12-ounce bottle of hand sanitizer aboard.

I’m guessing these TSA procedures won’t be permanent.  But as with everything else right now, time will tell.