Getting on a Plane? Please Take the Food Out of Your Bag

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Airports this Memorial Day weekend are likely to be far emptier than usual, but people who plan to travel can expect to encounter lots of changes and new inconveniences.

Airports this Memorial Day weekend are likely to be far emptier than usual, but people who plan to travel can expect to encounter lots of changes and new inconveniences.

Take security. As travelers wait in line to be screened, they can expect to see signs and other markings reminding them to maintain their distance from one another, the Transportation Security Administration said on Thursday. The agents checking identification and boarding passes will be wearings masks, gloves and, in some cases, eye protection.

Take security. As travelers wait in line to be screened, they can expect to see signs and other markings reminding them to maintain their distance from one another, the Transportation Security Administration said on Thursday. The agents checking identification and boarding passes will be wearings masks, gloves and, in some cases, eye protection.

Passengers will also be asked to scan their own boarding passes to limit contagion, the agency said. And because food often triggers alarms, travelers will have to place meals they bring with them in a separate bin so agents don’t have to handle them.

Passengers will also be asked to scan their own boarding passes to limit contagion, the agency said. And because food often triggers alarms, travelers will have to place meals they bring with them in a separate bin so agents don’t have to handle them.

“In the interest of T.S.A. frontline workers and traveler health, T.S.A. is committed to making prudent changes to our screening processes to limit physical contact and increase physical distance as much as possible,” David Pekoske, the agency’s administrator, said in a statement.

“In the interest of T.S.A. frontline workers and traveler health, T.S.A. is committed to making prudent changes to our screening processes to limit physical contact and increase physical distance as much as possible,” David Pekoske, the agency’s administrator, said in a statement.

Most of the agency’s other rules will remain in place, but one will be relaxed: Passengers can now bring up to 12 ounces of hand sanitizer, up from the standard three ounces.

Most of the agency’s other rules will remain in place, but one will be relaxed: Passengers can now bring up to 12 ounces of hand sanitizer, up from the standard three ounces.

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Credit…David Zalubowski/Associated Press
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Credit…Elaine Thompson/Associated Press
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Airlines have been adopting many changes, too.

Travelers who need to check a bag or print a ticket might find sneeze guards separating them from a ticketing agent, a precaution being taken in some locations by United Airlines and Delta Air Lines. If they opt to use a kiosk, passengers may interact with one that they don’t have to even touch.

Airlines have been adopting many changes, too.

Travelers who need to check a bag or print a ticket might find sneeze guards separating them from a ticketing agent, a precaution being taken in some locations by United Airlines and Delta Air Lines. If they opt to use a kiosk, passengers may interact with one that they don’t have to even touch.

In the airport, many shops, restaurants and airline lounges will most likely be closed.

Many airlines have adjusted the boarding process, with some loading planes back to front to limit contact among passengers and others are boarding fewer people at a time to limit crowding at the gate or on the jet bridge.

In the airport, many shops, restaurants and airline lounges will most likely be closed.

Many airlines have adjusted the boarding process, with some loading planes back to front to limit contact among passengers and others are boarding fewer people at a time to limit crowding at the gate or on the jet bridge.

But while terminals may be largely empty, there’s no guarantee that the same will be true of flights.

But while terminals may be largely empty, there’s no guarantee that the same will be true of flights.

Most flights, about three out of four, are more than half empty. But despite a stark decline in the number of people traveling, a small fraction of flights — about one out of every 12 — is more than 70 percent full.

Most flights, about three out of four, are more than half empty. But despite a stark decline in the number of people traveling, a small fraction of flights — about one out of every 12 — is more than 70 percent full.

Airlines have taken different approaches to limit the number of people on board.

Airlines have taken different approaches to limit the number of people on board.

ImageWhile most flights are relatively empty, about one in every 12 is more than 70 percent full. Airlines are now requiring crew and passengers to wear masks.
Credit…Eleonore Sens/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
ImageWhile most flights are relatively empty, about one in every 12 is more than 70 percent full. Airlines are now requiring crew and passengers to wear masks.
Credit…Eleonore Sens/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
ImageWhile most flights are relatively empty, about one in every 12 is more than 70 percent full. Airlines are now requiring crew and passengers to wear masks.

United said it would prevent middle seats from being purchased, though it might still assign them on fuller flights. It will also let customers rebook a flight if the one for which they are scheduled is more than 70 percent full. Delta said cap seating at 50 percent in first class and 60 percent elsewhere. American Airlines it will block half of all middle seats on its planes. And Southwest Airlines, which does not assign seats, has said it will leave about a third of its seats empty through July.

United said it would prevent middle seats from being purchased, though it might still assign them on fuller flights. It will also let customers rebook a flight if the one for which they are scheduled is more than 70 percent full. Delta said cap seating at 50 percent in first class and 60 percent elsewhere. American Airlines it will block half of all middle seats on its planes. And Southwest Airlines, which does not assign seats, has said it will leave about a third of its seats empty through July.

On board, most major airlines now require passengers and flight crews to wear face masks, though enforcement of that policy has been lackluster, according to some people who have flown in recent weeks. Food and beverage service has been restricted in many cases and, when available, meals are largely being replaced with snacks in sealed bags and boxes.

On board, most major airlines now require passengers and flight crews to wear face masks, though enforcement of that policy has been lackluster, according to some people who have flown in recent weeks. Food and beverage service has been restricted in many cases and, when available, meals are largely being replaced with snacks in sealed bags and boxes.

  • Frequently Asked Questions and Advice

    Updated May 20, 2020

    • How many people have lost their jobs due to coronavirus in the U.S.?

      have filed for unemployment since March. One in five who were working in February reported losing a job or being furloughed in March or the beginning of April, , and that pain was highly concentrated among low earners. Fully 39 percent of former workers living in a household earning $40,000 or less lost work, compared with 13 percent in those making more than $100,000, a Fed official said.

    • What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

      Common symptoms Some of these symptoms overlap with those of the flu, making detection difficult, but runny noses and stuffy sinuses are less common. added chills, muscle pain, sore throat, headache and a new loss of the sense of taste or smell as symptoms to look out for. Most people fall ill five to seven days after exposure, but symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as many as 14 days.

    • How can I protect myself while flying?

      If air travel is unavoidable, Most important: Wash your hands often, and stop touching your face. If possible, choose a window seat. A found that during flu season, the safest place to sit on a plane is by a window, as people sitting in window seats had less contact with potentially sick people. Disinfect hard surfaces. When you get to your seat and your hands are clean, use disinfecting wipes to clean the hard surfaces at your seat like the head and arm rest, the seatbelt buckle, the remote, screen, seat back pocket and the tray table. If the seat is hard and nonporous or leather or pleather, you can wipe that down, too. (Using wipes on upholstered seats could lead to a wet seat and spreading of germs rather than killing them.)

    • Is ‘Covid toe’ a symptom of the disease?

      There is an uptick in which are painful red or purple lesions that typically appear in the winter on fingers or toes. The lesions are emerging as yet another of infection with the new coronavirus. Chilblains are caused by inflammation in small blood vessels in reaction to cold or damp conditions, but they are usually common in the coldest winter months. Federal health officials do not include toe lesions in the list of coronavirus symptoms, but some dermatologists are pushing for a change, saying so-called Covid toe should be sufficient grounds for testing.

    • Can I go to the park?

      Yes, but make sure you keep six feet of distance between you and people who don’t live in your home.

    • How do I take my temperature?

      Taking one’s temperature to look for signs of fever is not as easy as it sounds, as “normal” temperature numbers can vary, but generally, keep an eye out for a temperature of 100.5 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. If you don’t have a thermometer (they can be pricey these days), there are

    • Should I wear a mask?

      The C.D.C. has that all Americans wear cloth masks if they go out in public. This is a shift in federal guidance reflecting. Until now, the C.D.C., like the W.H.O., has advised that ordinary people don’t need to wear masks unless they are sick and coughing. Part of the reason was to preserve medical-grade masks for health care workers who desperately need them at a time when they are in continuously short supply. Masks don’t replace hand washing and social distancing.

    • What should I do if I feel sick?

      and have a fever or symptoms like a cough or difficulty breathing, call a doctor. They should give you advice on whether you should be tested, how to get tested, and how to seek medical treatment without potentially infecting or exposing others.

    • How do I get tested?

      If you’re sick and you think you’ve been exposed to the new coronavirus, They will decide if you need to be tested. Keep in mind that there’s a chance — because of a lack of testing kits or because you’re asymptomatic, for instance — you won’t be able to get tested.

    • How can I help?

      , which evaluates charities using a numbers-based system, has a running list of nonprofits working in communities affected by the outbreak. You can give blood through the , and has stepped in to distribute meals in major cities.


  • Frequently Asked Questions and Advice

    Updated May 20, 2020

    • How many people have lost their jobs due to coronavirus in the U.S.?

      have filed for unemployment since March. One in five who were working in February reported losing a job or being furloughed in March or the beginning of April, , and that pain was highly concentrated among low earners. Fully 39 percent of former workers living in a household earning $40,000 or less lost work, compared with 13 percent in those making more than $100,000, a Fed official said.

    • What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

      Common symptoms Some of these symptoms overlap with those of the flu, making detection difficult, but runny noses and stuffy sinuses are less common. added chills, muscle pain, sore throat, headache and a new loss of the sense of taste or smell as symptoms to look out for. Most people fall ill five to seven days after exposure, but symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as many as 14 days.

    • How can I protect myself while flying?

      If air travel is unavoidable, Most important: Wash your hands often, and stop touching your face. If possible, choose a window seat. A found that during flu season, the safest place to sit on a plane is by a window, as people sitting in window seats had less contact with potentially sick people. Disinfect hard surfaces. When you get to your seat and your hands are clean, use disinfecting wipes to clean the hard surfaces at your seat like the head and arm rest, the seatbelt buckle, the remote, screen, seat back pocket and the tray table. If the seat is hard and nonporous or leather or pleather, you can wipe that down, too. (Using wipes on upholstered seats could lead to a wet seat and spreading of germs rather than killing them.)

    • Is ‘Covid toe’ a symptom of the disease?

      There is an uptick in which are painful red or purple lesions that typically appear in the winter on fingers or toes. The lesions are emerging as yet another of infection with the new coronavirus. Chilblains are caused by inflammation in small blood vessels in reaction to cold or damp conditions, but they are usually common in the coldest winter months. Federal health officials do not include toe lesions in the list of coronavirus symptoms, but some dermatologists are pushing for a change, saying so-called Covid toe should be sufficient grounds for testing.

    • Can I go to the park?

      Yes, but make sure you keep six feet of distance between you and people who don’t live in your home.

    • How do I take my temperature?

      Taking one’s temperature to look for signs of fever is not as easy as it sounds, as “normal” temperature numbers can vary, but generally, keep an eye out for a temperature of 100.5 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. If you don’t have a thermometer (they can be pricey these days), there are

    • Should I wear a mask?

      The C.D.C. has that all Americans wear cloth masks if they go out in public. This is a shift in federal guidance reflecting. Until now, the C.D.C., like the W.H.O., has advised that ordinary people don’t need to wear masks unless they are sick and coughing. Part of the reason was to preserve medical-grade masks for health care workers who desperately need them at a time when they are in continuously short supply. Masks don’t replace hand washing and social distancing.

    • What should I do if I feel sick?

      and have a fever or symptoms like a cough or difficulty breathing, call a doctor. They should give you advice on whether you should be tested, how to get tested, and how to seek medical treatment without potentially infecting or exposing others.

    • How do I get tested?

      If you’re sick and you think you’ve been exposed to the new coronavirus, They will decide if you need to be tested. Keep in mind that there’s a chance — because of a lack of testing kits or because you’re asymptomatic, for instance — you won’t be able to get tested.

    • How can I help?

      , which evaluates charities using a numbers-based system, has a running list of nonprofits working in communities affected by the outbreak. You can give blood through the , and has stepped in to distribute meals in major cities.


  • Frequently Asked Questions and Advice

    Updated May 20, 2020

    • How many people have lost their jobs due to coronavirus in the U.S.?

      have filed for unemployment since March. One in five who were working in February reported losing a job or being furloughed in March or the beginning of April, , and that pain was highly concentrated among low earners. Fully 39 percent of former workers living in a household earning $40,000 or less lost work, compared with 13 percent in those making more than $100,000, a Fed official said.

    • What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

      Common symptoms Some of these symptoms overlap with those of the flu, making detection difficult, but runny noses and stuffy sinuses are less common. added chills, muscle pain, sore throat, headache and a new loss of the sense of taste or smell as symptoms to look out for. Most people fall ill five to seven days after exposure, but symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as many as 14 days.

    • How can I protect myself while flying?

      If air travel is unavoidable, Most important: Wash your hands often, and stop touching your face. If possible, choose a window seat. A found that during flu season, the safest place to sit on a plane is by a window, as people sitting in window seats had less contact with potentially sick people. Disinfect hard surfaces. When you get to your seat and your hands are clean, use disinfecting wipes to clean the hard surfaces at your seat like the head and arm rest, the seatbelt buckle, the remote, screen, seat back pocket and the tray table. If the seat is hard and nonporous or leather or pleather, you can wipe that down, too. (Using wipes on upholstered seats could lead to a wet seat and spreading of germs rather than killing them.)

    • Is ‘Covid toe’ a symptom of the disease?

      There is an uptick in which are painful red or purple lesions that typically appear in the winter on fingers or toes. The lesions are emerging as yet another of infection with the new coronavirus. Chilblains are caused by inflammation in small blood vessels in reaction to cold or damp conditions, but they are usually common in the coldest winter months. Federal health officials do not include toe lesions in the list of coronavirus symptoms, but some dermatologists are pushing for a change, saying so-called Covid toe should be sufficient grounds for testing.

    • Can I go to the park?

      Yes, but make sure you keep six feet of distance between you and people who don’t live in your home.

    • How do I take my temperature?

      Taking one’s temperature to look for signs of fever is not as easy as it sounds, as “normal” temperature numbers can vary, but generally, keep an eye out for a temperature of 100.5 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. If you don’t have a thermometer (they can be pricey these days), there are

    • Should I wear a mask?

      The C.D.C. has that all Americans wear cloth masks if they go out in public. This is a shift in federal guidance reflecting. Until now, the C.D.C., like the W.H.O., has advised that ordinary people don’t need to wear masks unless they are sick and coughing. Part of the reason was to preserve medical-grade masks for health care workers who desperately need them at a time when they are in continuously short supply. Masks don’t replace hand washing and social distancing.

    • What should I do if I feel sick?

      and have a fever or symptoms like a cough or difficulty breathing, call a doctor. They should give you advice on whether you should be tested, how to get tested, and how to seek medical treatment without potentially infecting or exposing others.

    • How do I get tested?

      If you’re sick and you think you’ve been exposed to the new coronavirus, They will decide if you need to be tested. Keep in mind that there’s a chance — because of a lack of testing kits or because you’re asymptomatic, for instance — you won’t be able to get tested.

    • How can I help?

      , which evaluates charities using a numbers-based system, has a running list of nonprofits working in communities affected by the outbreak. You can give blood through the , and has stepped in to distribute meals in major cities.


  • Frequently Asked Questions and Advice

    Updated May 20, 2020

    • How many people have lost their jobs due to coronavirus in the U.S.?

      have filed for unemployment since March. One in five who were working in February reported losing a job or being furloughed in March or the beginning of April, , and that pain was highly concentrated among low earners. Fully 39 percent of former workers living in a household earning $40,000 or less lost work, compared with 13 percent in those making more than $100,000, a Fed official said.

    • What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

      Common symptoms Some of these symptoms overlap with those of the flu, making detection difficult, but runny noses and stuffy sinuses are less common. added chills, muscle pain, sore throat, headache and a new loss of the sense of taste or smell as symptoms to look out for. Most people fall ill five to seven days after exposure, but symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as many as 14 days.

    • How can I protect myself while flying?

      If air travel is unavoidable, Most important: Wash your hands often, and stop touching your face. If possible, choose a window seat. A found that during flu season, the safest place to sit on a plane is by a window, as people sitting in window seats had less contact with potentially sick people. Disinfect hard surfaces. When you get to your seat and your hands are clean, use disinfecting wipes to clean the hard surfaces at your seat like the head and arm rest, the seatbelt buckle, the remote, screen, seat back pocket and the tray table. If the seat is hard and nonporous or leather or pleather, you can wipe that down, too. (Using wipes on upholstered seats could lead to a wet seat and spreading of germs rather than killing them.)

    • Is ‘Covid toe’ a symptom of the disease?

      There is an uptick in which are painful red or purple lesions that typically appear in the winter on fingers or toes. The lesions are emerging as yet another of infection with the new coronavirus. Chilblains are caused by inflammation in small blood vessels in reaction to cold or damp conditions, but they are usually common in the coldest winter months. Federal health officials do not include toe lesions in the list of coronavirus symptoms, but some dermatologists are pushing for a change, saying so-called Covid toe should be sufficient grounds for testing.

    • Can I go to the park?

      Yes, but make sure you keep six feet of distance between you and people who don’t live in your home.

    • How do I take my temperature?

      Taking one’s temperature to look for signs of fever is not as easy as it sounds, as “normal” temperature numbers can vary, but generally, keep an eye out for a temperature of 100.5 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. If you don’t have a thermometer (they can be pricey these days), there are

    • Should I wear a mask?

      The C.D.C. has that all Americans wear cloth masks if they go out in public. This is a shift in federal guidance reflecting. Until now, the C.D.C., like the W.H.O., has advised that ordinary people don’t need to wear masks unless they are sick and coughing. Part of the reason was to preserve medical-grade masks for health care workers who desperately need them at a time when they are in continuously short supply. Masks don’t replace hand washing and social distancing.

    • What should I do if I feel sick?

      and have a fever or symptoms like a cough or difficulty breathing, call a doctor. They should give you advice on whether you should be tested, how to get tested, and how to seek medical treatment without potentially infecting or exposing others.

    • How do I get tested?

      If you’re sick and you think you’ve been exposed to the new coronavirus, They will decide if you need to be tested. Keep in mind that there’s a chance — because of a lack of testing kits or because you’re asymptomatic, for instance — you won’t be able to get tested.

    • How can I help?

      , which evaluates charities using a numbers-based system, has a running list of nonprofits working in communities affected by the outbreak. You can give blood through the , and has stepped in to distribute meals in major cities.


  • Frequently Asked Questions and Advice

    Updated May 20, 2020

    • How many people have lost their jobs due to coronavirus in the U.S.?

      have filed for unemployment since March. One in five who were working in February reported losing a job or being furloughed in March or the beginning of April, , and that pain was highly concentrated among low earners. Fully 39 percent of former workers living in a household earning $40,000 or less lost work, compared with 13 percent in those making more than $100,000, a Fed official said.

    • What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

      Common symptoms Some of these symptoms overlap with those of the flu, making detection difficult, but runny noses and stuffy sinuses are less common. added chills, muscle pain, sore throat, headache and a new loss of the sense of taste or smell as symptoms to look out for. Most people fall ill five to seven days after exposure, but symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as many as 14 days.

    • How can I protect myself while flying?

      If air travel is unavoidable, Most important: Wash your hands often, and stop touching your face. If possible, choose a window seat. A found that during flu season, the safest place to sit on a plane is by a window, as people sitting in window seats had less contact with potentially sick people. Disinfect hard surfaces. When you get to your seat and your hands are clean, use disinfecting wipes to clean the hard surfaces at your seat like the head and arm rest, the seatbelt buckle, the remote, screen, seat back pocket and the tray table. If the seat is hard and nonporous or leather or pleather, you can wipe that down, too. (Using wipes on upholstered seats could lead to a wet seat and spreading of germs rather than killing them.)

    • Is ‘Covid toe’ a symptom of the disease?

      There is an uptick in which are painful red or purple lesions that typically appear in the winter on fingers or toes. The lesions are emerging as yet another of infection with the new coronavirus. Chilblains are caused by inflammation in small blood vessels in reaction to cold or damp conditions, but they are usually common in the coldest winter months. Federal health officials do not include toe lesions in the list of coronavirus symptoms, but some dermatologists are pushing for a change, saying so-called Covid toe should be sufficient grounds for testing.

    • Can I go to the park?

      Yes, but make sure you keep six feet of distance between you and people who don’t live in your home.

    • How do I take my temperature?

      Taking one’s temperature to look for signs of fever is not as easy as it sounds, as “normal” temperature numbers can vary, but generally, keep an eye out for a temperature of 100.5 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. If you don’t have a thermometer (they can be pricey these days), there are

    • Should I wear a mask?

      The C.D.C. has that all Americans wear cloth masks if they go out in public. This is a shift in federal guidance reflecting. Until now, the C.D.C., like the W.H.O., has advised that ordinary people don’t need to wear masks unless they are sick and coughing. Part of the reason was to preserve medical-grade masks for health care workers who desperately need them at a time when they are in continuously short supply. Masks don’t replace hand washing and social distancing.

    • What should I do if I feel sick?

      and have a fever or symptoms like a cough or difficulty breathing, call a doctor. They should give you advice on whether you should be tested, how to get tested, and how to seek medical treatment without potentially infecting or exposing others.

    • How do I get tested?

      If you’re sick and you think you’ve been exposed to the new coronavirus, They will decide if you need to be tested. Keep in mind that there’s a chance — because of a lack of testing kits or because you’re asymptomatic, for instance — you won’t be able to get tested.

    • How can I help?

      , which evaluates charities using a numbers-based system, has a running list of nonprofits working in communities affected by the outbreak. You can give blood through the , and has stepped in to distribute meals in major cities.


Most airlines are cleaning planes regularly, sometimes between every flight, and offering passengers sanitizer, masks and other products to stay clean, too. Delta, for example, is sanitizing every flight using an “electrostatic sprayer,” which releases a mist of disinfectant.

Most airlines are cleaning planes regularly, sometimes between every flight, and offering passengers sanitizer, masks and other products to stay clean, too. Delta, for example, is sanitizing every flight using an “electrostatic sprayer,” which releases a mist of disinfectant.

United, which will start doing the same next month, said this week that it was teaming with Clorox and the Cleveland Clinic in an effort to ease passenger concerns. Clorox will advise the airline about its disinfection practices, and Cleveland Clinic experts will keep the airline up-to-date on the latest practices and technologies.

United, which will start doing the same next month, said this week that it was teaming with Clorox and the Cleveland Clinic in an effort to ease passenger concerns. Clorox will advise the airline about its disinfection practices, and Cleveland Clinic experts will keep the airline up-to-date on the latest practices and technologies.

The various safety measures that airlines have put in place may reassure some, but most of the traveling public remains at home. As of Wednesday, the number of people screened at T.S.A. airport checkpoints was still more than 90 percent below last year’s levels.

The various safety measures that airlines have put in place may reassure some, but most of the traveling public remains at home. As of Wednesday, the number of people screened at T.S.A. airport checkpoints was still more than 90 percent below last year’s levels.

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