Across the country, major airports are seeing major drops in passengers.
“We’re down about 95% from this time last year,” said Alex Renteria, spokesperson for the Denver International Airport.
Renteria’s stats mirror national numbers with airports in Phoenix, Atlanta and Los Angeles all reporting similar drops.
Now industry leaders are trying new ways of cleaning to keep coronavirus out of airports.
“It’s an atomized delivery of a cleaning solution that really coats every part of the interior of the aircraft and sanitizes it,” Jake Filene of Frontier Airlines said about a new fogging procedure that kills viruses and bacteria – including coronaviruses.
Filene added COVID-19 has also changed how Frontier is seating its passengers.
“We’re booking every other row to ensure we have the appropriate social distancing onboard the aircraft,” he said.
A flight attendant from a major airline who did not want to be identified sent us a picture showing three passengers on a plane that usually carries several hundred.
The worker claims the company is now doing temperature checks to screen for the novel coronavirus.
“You don’t know if they’re asymptomatic individuals,” said Sheryl Zajdowicz, Ph.D., an infectious disease specialist with Metropolitan State University of Denver. “If you’re just measuring by fever it that’s not going to give you a clear representation. I think that’s a big problem with airports.”
Zajdowicz says when it comes to your health, don’t rely on others – take responsibility yourself.
“Wash your hands so often. If you have hand sanitizer use that as well. Don’t touch your face,” she said. “You can still wear a mask just in case you’re in close proximity with another individual.”
Masks are now becoming the new norm at airports.
United and American Airlines are now requiring all flight attendants to wear face coverings while Jet Blue is now requiring all passengers do the same.
Back at Denver International Airport, Renteria says they’ve added more than 100 hand sanitizer stations throughout the airport and that hand wipe dispensers are on each jet bridge.
“We’ve increased our cleaning efforts in every high-touch place,” she said. “TSA is installing plexiglass at each of their booths.”
The industry is taking proactive sanitation steps long before takeoff with a goal of getting customers and crew to their final destination safely.