BOSTON (CBS) — The summer travel season will look a lot different this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. But as more people slowly return to airports, the TSA has announced updated security procedures designed to limit contact at security checkpoints.
BREAKING NEWS: TSA has implemented changes to security screening at airports nationwide that reduce the potential for cross-contamination and help prevent the spread of #COVID19. Read the news release https://t.co/Ym1w0RnECR
— TSA (@TSA) May 21, 2020
Instead of handing their boarding pass to a TSA officer at the travel document podium, passengers will place their paper pass or phone on the electronic reader themselves. They will then be asked to hold their pass toward the officer for a visual inspection.
The TSA also wants to prevent officers from having to go through luggage. If the x-ray machine finds a prohibited item, passengers might be asked to go back outside security to remove it and then resubmit their carry-on for screening. Flyers are being asked to make sure they don’t have more than 3.4 ounces of liquids, although there is an exception for up to 12 ounces of liquid hand sanitizer.
For any passengers taking food through security, they should remove it from their carry-on and put it into a clear plastic bag in a bin. Food is a frequent trigger for x-ray alarms.
Items like wallets, keys and phones should be placed into carry-on bags instead of bins to reduce possible contamination. There will also be “noticeable” adjustments to encourage social distancing between passengers.
All TSA officers are now wearing face coverings and passengers are asked to do the same, although they may be asked to adjust the covering while being screened.
In Boston, Massport recommends all passengers wear a mask when they come to Logan Airport, where there are now just 200-to-300 flights daily, down from an average of about 1,200 a day.
And while some flyers may think it’s best to show up for their flight at the last minute and reduce the amount of time spent in the airport, the TSA is now discouraging that. In fact, they’re recommending that travelers “arrive well in advance of their flight.”
“More people are flying and new procedures such as social distancing have been implemented in airports, potentially adding time to the pre-flight experience,” the TSA said in a statement.
For more information, visit TSA.Gov/coronavirus