MIAMI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, FLA. (WSVN) - Airlines are working to keep passengers safe as people start to travel to see family and friends for the Thanksgiving holiday, and local officials said there are several tips travelers should follow, as coronavirus cases continue to increase across the country.
7News cameras captured travelers at Miami International Airport on Monday. It’s clear the holiday travel rush is looking very different this year.
“We expect an increase of 15% system-wide,” said American Airlines spokesperson Sylvia Rodriguez. “We’ve booked over 4,100 flights that holiday weekend.”
But not everyone at MIA who spoke with 7News was heading out of town.
“Oh, no. I’m not traveling this year,” said a woman.
“Making sure that you’re with your family, and just, like, small groups, like, I don’t know, six to eight people,” said a traveler.
American Airlines showed a 7News crew what they’re doing to keep passengers safe.
“You are in better hands at an airport, traveling through an airport, on the aircraft, with all of the cleaning initiatives that we have in place, than you are in a grocery store,” said Rodriguez.
The airline’s Clean Commitment strategy includes electrostatic spraying of planes before takeoff, increased sanitization, and social distancing from check-in all the way to deplaning.
Rodriguez stressed face masks are mandatory.
“Not only [for the sake of] safety and well-being, but also to know that they’re in good hands,” she said.
International travelers are advised to give themselves plenty of time, at least three hours before departure, to check in, because depending on the destination, COVID-19 restrictions could be different.
“Our transaction times have actually tripled,” said Rodriguez.
That’s why the airline has changed how travelers check in, including adding a QR code board with COVID documents required for travel.
“We will queue customers in front of a desk where their documents that are required by the country where they’re traveling to will be verified,” said Rodriguez. “Once they are verified, then they are placed into a queue to see the agent, who will then verify passport or visa and check their luggage.”
When it comes to how travelers will celebrate the holiday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, advised travelers to choose carefully.
“Make your own decision. What kind of risk are you willing to take?” he said.
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