Around the World: Safety First, Safety Foremost
Even if you keep up with daily reports releasing the latest statistics about the spread of coronavirus and trending hot spots, you can’t accurately predict or guarantee your personal safety during travel.
Still, travel is picking up as people who are tired of being on lock down are increasingly eager to get back on the road. It is extremely important that officials and individual travelers adopt new safely practices that lower personal risk pf pandemic infection.
The best line of defense is to follow updated rules and regulations put in place by authorities and by the companies that provide travel and travel services.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has introduced new precautions to reduce the spread of coronavirus and other germs amongst travelers and employees.
Before heading for the airport, research the new protocols and be prepared to follow them. The new safety measures are evident from the moment you arrive at the TSA area where you must now scan your own boarding passes at security checkpoints instead of handing them over to TSA employees to examine.
TSA officers will be wearing masks, gloves or face shields, and several stations also have plastic shields installed at points where passengers are in close proximity, if not direct contact, with travelers, including baggage drop off locations and stations where bag searches are conducted.
Most airports are now requiring that all passengers wear masks throughout the airport. Passengers are also encouraged to wear gloves, as well. But even if there is no formal rule that masks and gloves be worn, you should take these precautions for yourself and your family. Los Angeles International Airport is also requiring that all passengers wear masks throughout the airport, in addition to most airlines now requiring passengers to do so.
Before placing your carryon baggage and other personal belongings on the conveyor belt to be put through the X-ray scanner, make sure you’ve removed all prohibited, If your luggage is found to contain prohibited items, you will be responsible for removing the items and getting rid of them before placing the bag back on the conveyor belt. Removal of prohibited items used to be the responsibility of TSA checkers. Now you must do it.
Prohibited items include liquids, gels or aerosols larger than 3.4 ounces. The one exception is hand sanitizer, which is now allowed in containers holding up to 12 ounces.
You’ll want to pack snacks or a meal for inflight consumption because inflight food service has been discontinued for the time being, and many airport food concessions are temporarily shut down. If you do pack food, be sure that liquids do not exceed allowed amounts – no soups, for example, and only very small containers of yogurt. Pack the food in see-through containers or plastic bags. All food items must be removed from carryon luggage and should be placed in a separate bin on the conveyor belt so that they may be inspected without being handled by TSA personnel. As mentioned, the food and other regulated items should be placed in clear plastic bags that can be wiped with sanitizer before being placed back in your luggage.
When you’re emptying your pockets to prepare to walk through the metal detector and/or body scanner, make sure that you put your cell phone, wallet, keys and loose change -- and belt with its metal buckle –inside your carryon bag and not directly on the tray. If don’t have room for them in your carryon luggage or must keep them separate for any other reason, be sure to place them in a clear plastic bag before putting them in the conveyor belt tray. This small measure will decrease the possibility of cross-contamination.
The goal of the TSA’s new rules is to minimize contact between TSA personnel and passengers and between passengers with one another.
Remember: Safety first and foremost. Minimize risk. Know before you go. And go with what you know.Copyright 2020 Jennifer Merin