Passengers can expect the experience to be different, from the ticket counters, to the security checkpoint, and on the plane.
It’s a new era of air travel.
TSA has new protocols, including that all officers must wear masks. As more airports and airlines may require travelers to wear masks, a TSA agent can have you pull your mask down to confirm your identity.
You’re allowed to carry on a 12 ounce bottle of hand sanitizer, as well. Some airlines may require temperature checks before boarding.
Although there are many travelers still avoiding airports, there are signs that more people are flying again. This past weekend, TSA recorded its highest numbers since the COVID-19 pandemic was declared.
More than 250,000 people passed through airport security gates every day over the last three days. In mid-April, that number was just under 90,000.
Airlines are now coming up with new safety procedures to try to ease passenger’s fears.
United Airlines is now using a new device to disinfect, an "electrostatic sprayer."
"We purchased 750 of these devices which are ordinarily used to clean hospitals," says Josh Earnest, United Airlines spokesperson. "Were using them to disinfect the interior of our aircraft, we’ll be using this device to clean aircraft before every single flight."
The airline is also piloting touchless kiosks where passengers can scan their phones to check in luggage. Workers will be handing out hand sanitizing wipes before each flight and all crew members and passengers must wear a mask.
"What they all need maybe is a chief psychologist," says Dr. Richard Bloom with Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University. He adds, "What we’re really dealing with is the psychology of the general public."
Aeronautical security experts say, fear, health, safety and business concerns are all factors in whether people choose to fly or not fly. Because there are so many unknowns, there’s no solid base for identifying safety standards for COVID-19 yet.
"So it’s really a guessing game, even individuals with the most sophisticated knowledge, there's only so much they can do because information is incomplete, contradictory, it’s ambiguous," Bloom explained.
At this time last year, TSA recorded more than 2.5 million people passing through airport security checkpoints across the nation.
Monday's numbers are only about 10% of that figure.