What airports, TSA & Immigration are doing differently to support social distancing and sanitization

Here are a few things airports, TSA and immigration are doing at airports to help encourage social distancing and increased emphasis on sanitization.

More cleaning - All areas, especially high touch areas like handrails, are being cleaned and disinfected more often. 

More disinfectant - Airports are stockpiling CDC-recommended disinfectants the way people are stockpiling toilet paper. 

More hand sanitizers - Everywhere you turn, including ticket counters, boarding gates, customer service desks, baggage service offices and lounges, you’ll find hand sanitizer dispensers. Airports are literally adding hundreds more.

More information - Banners, posters and virtual ads are going up all over the place providing travelers with tips for protecting against seasonal cold, flu and coronavirus.

Mobile check-in - Airports are emphasizing mobile check-in. Self check-in kiosks will be wiped multiple times a day, but using your phone is a better bet.

Less social space - Some airports are closing restaurants and businesses where people are closely grouped together.


Less changes will occur here than some may think. The biggest change is TSA is allowing passengers to bring 12 oz hand sanitizer through security. They are also asking people to put phones, wallets, keys and other items from your pockets into your carry-on luggage. That way you aren’t dropping them directly into bins. TSA already uses nitrile gloves while working, so pat-downs aren’t an issue. They may ask if you are experiencing any acute respiratory symptoms and even check your temperature. Unfortunately, there are no specific changes to address social distancing, so be conscientious while waiting in line.


Manu are suspending their fingertip entry and some are temporarily closing. Surfaces will be cleaned more frequently, serving utensils will be replaced more frequently, and buffets will likely be halted.


The CDC has quarantine stations in 20 airports in the US. These are used for any travelers coming from a level 3 country (the most highly affected) and most of Europe. Travelers from these countries with no symptoms are asked to return home and limit interactions for 14 days.


  • Thank you for sharing @wpursell! These initiatives are so important to slow the spread.

  • Thank you so much for sharing @wpursell. My best friend had to take a short flight home over the weekend and she shared a lot of the same info with me. I was worried about her traveling during these times, but was happy to hear that the airport was taking extra steps to protect the people who are traveling right now.

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