Traveling as the US Reopens
As the US continues to gradually reopen, many people are anxious to resume their travel plans. While there are still several bans in place and limited flight options, there are many things to take into consideration including what to expect at the airport and the adjustments to standard proceedings to promote safety from the coronavirus.
If you expect to be traveling, CDC recommends the following:
- Wash your hands frequently
- Avoid touching your face
- Try to maintain at least 6 feet of physical distance from others when possible
Airport Security Procedures
- Many flights have been adjusted to transport a reduced amount of passengers when possible.
- Airport staff will regularly disinfect and clean all surfaces that are to be in contact with travelers.
- Staff will be wearing face coverings and gloves, and it is recommended that passengers do the same. Some airlines require face coverings on the plane, so please check with your airline in advance about more specific hygienic requirements.
- Boarding passes will not be handed to the guard prior to entering the security checkpoint, but rather passengers will maintain possession of their own pass at all times and scan it at the checkpoint themselves.
- Food should be kept in a clear bag and will be screened separately, as it often sets off the alarm in security.
- Plane passengers will be allowed to bring up to 12 oz of hand sanitizer, larger than the normal 3 oz (100ml) liquid limit.
- Security screening has been spaced out to maintain social distancing of 6 feet between other employees and travelers when possible.
The DHS has restricted travel between the US and Iran, Brazil, China, and certain European countries** for all foreign nationals. Any US citizens, permanent residents, and their immediate families may return from these countries but will be required to fly into one of the following US airports for additional screening:
- Boston-Logan International Airport (BOS), Massachusetts
- Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD), Illinois
- Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), Texas
- Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW), Michigan
- Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL), Hawaii
- Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL), Florida
- George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH), Texas
- Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), Georgia
- John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), New York
- Los Angeles International Airport, (LAX), California
- Miami International Airport (MIA), Florida
- Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), New Jersey
- San Francisco International Airport (SFO), California
- Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), Washington
- Washington-Dulles International Airport (IAD), Virginia
Extra Screening from Restricted Countries
Returning from the listed restricted countries, there will be additional procedures to pass through. After customs, the traveler will be guided to an area where they will be questioned about their medical background, current health condition, and their local medical contact information. Once these questions are cleared, the traveler will be provided some precautionary information about the coronavirus and directed to self-quarantine for at least 14 days or the CDC recommendation based on where the passenger is arriving from.
Please keep in mind that many flights will be canceled and airports often close on a case-to-case basis. Be sure to check with your airline to confirm your travel plans.
** Restricted European countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lichtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, U.K.