Travel has changed.
As the world slowly begins to reopen, corporate travel will inevitably resume. While we have all been sheltering in place, the travel industry has been hard at work adjusting policies to enhance safety. You should expect changes to all aspects of your travel experience - from your arrival to the airport, boarding your plane, securing your rental car to your hotel stay. This issue of Travel Talk seeks to share some of these updates.
At the airport... The first major change travelers may note is that non-fliers will likely not be allowed inside airports for the foreseeable future. Expect to see far more Plexiglas installed, hand sanitizing and health screening stations, along with social distancing reminders and face masks worn by all.
At the TSA Checkpoint... In addition to CDC recommendations, travelers are encouraged to wash their hands directly before and after completing the security screening process and that personal items such as wallets, keys or phone be placed in your carry-on property that will be screened through the X-ray system. You may wear a facemask during the screening process, but a TSA officer may ask you to adjust the mask to visually confirm your identity. Passengers may be redirected to other security screening checkpoints at the airport, as screening operations may be consolidated to adjust for reduced flight and passenger volumes. TSA has implemented procedures to increase social distancing and reduce direct contact between employees and the traveling public whenever possible – without compromising security. TSA has issued guidance to frontline employees to conduct routine cleaning and disinfecting of frequently touched surfaces and security screening equipment at the TSA security checkpoint. Additional steps being taking to make the security process safer includes using a fresh pair of gloves upon passenger’s request, and using new Explosives Trace Detection swabs for each person. TSA is allowing one liquid hand sanitizer container, up to 12 ounces per passenger, in carry-on bags until further notice. Since these containers exceed the standard allowance typically permitted through a checkpoint, they will need to be screened separately. This will add some time to your checkpoint screening experience. Please keep in mind that all other liquids, gels and aerosols brought to a checkpoint continue to be limited to 3.4 ounces or 100 millilitres carried in a one quart-size bag. If your driver's license or state-issued ID expired on or after March 1, 2020, and you are unable to renew at your state driver’s license agency, you may still use it as acceptable identification at the checkpoint. TSA will accept expired driver’s licenses or state-issued ID a year after expiration. DHS recently announced an extension of time to obtain a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license. The new deadline is October 1, 2021.
At the Car Rental Agency... All major rental car companies are reporting enhanced cleaning practices and paperless rental agreements to benefit employees and customers. In addition to a multi-point cleaning checklist, Enterprise offers curbside pick up. They are also limiting the number of passengers on its sanitized airport shuttles. Hertz has a 15-point cleaning checklist, and all cars that have been sanitized are marked with a "Hertz Gold Standard Clean" sticker over the driver-side door, which is only broken when the car's driver accesses the rental for the first time. This means the driver's area is disinfected as a last step when moved it its final location.
At the hotel... As an example, Marriott is rolling out enhanced technologies over the next few months, including electrostatic sprayers with hospital-grade disinfectant to sanitize surfaces throughout the hotel. The sprayers rapidly clean and disinfect entire areas and can be used in a hotel setting to clean and disinfect guest rooms, lobbies, gyms and other public areas. The company is testing ultraviolet light technology for sanitizing keys for guests and devices shared by associates. Disinfecting wipes will be in each room for guests’ personal use, as well as hand sanitizing stations in many common areas. Expect signage in its lobbies to remind guests to maintain social distancing protocols and re-arranged furniture to allow more space for distancing. At many properties, guests can choose to use their phones to check in, access their rooms, make special requests and order room service that will be specially packaged and delivered right to the door without contact. For food service, the company is modifying its operational practices for in-room dining and designing new approaches to buffets.
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