FAQ: Airport Response to COVID-19
Charlotte Douglas International Airport is committed to providing a safe and healthy travel experience that gives passengers confidence to fly again. Various safety measures have been implemented at CLT to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
You can always find information on our website at cltairport.mediaroom.com/COVID19. For your convenience here are some of the most frequently ask questions about cleaning, social distancing and wearing a mask.
What is being done to make the airport safe?
Your safety and health have always been important to us. Since the pandemic began, we have elevated our cleaning practices with a strong focus on ways to combat the spread of COVID-19. This includes regular sanitizing of high-touch areas like railings, tables, chairs, restrooms, check-in kiosks and our shuttle buses. All the public areas of the airport, including restrooms, get a nightly deep cleaning with an electrostatic sprayer and cleaning solutions design specifically for combatting the coronavirus. We’ve also installed nearly 60 hand sanitizing stations throughout the terminal for our passengers and employees.
We have a dedicated team of housekeepers working around the clock to keep customers and employees safe.
What else is being done?
We are planning to ask two independent agencies with extensive aviation experience to examine our efforts and certify that CLT meets the highest standards of cleaning and sanitation. We already meet high standards for air quality throughout the terminal. Parts of our terminal are using bi-polar ionization and ultraviolet technology to clean the air, and we have plans to expand to other areas. We are using air filters designed to capture viruses and bacteria. These are the same kind of filters used in places like general surgery rooms and hospital in-patient care facilities.
Our work to exceed industry standards for healthy buildings and air quality continues every day so our customers have confidence to fly.
How can I find out what the Airport is doing before my flight?
We have compiled everything you need to know about the Airport and its response to the pandemic on our website. Visit cltairport.mediaroom.com/keep-it-rockin for information as well as resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Mecklenburg County Health and others.
For information specific to your flight, including mask requirements, please contact your airline directly. Resources to help you plan can be found at www.cltairport.com/airport-info/airlines. Check your flight status here https://www.cltairport.com/flights or on the CLT app available through the Apple store or Google Play.
Note: North Carolina is under a mandate from the governor that everyone wear masks while at the Airport.
Why isn’t the Airport enforcing social distancing?
Airports everywhere are struggling with this. Charlotte Douglas, as American’s second-largest hub, is busier than some airports right now. An airport cannot restrict the numbers of people who come inside. Your flight is likely full or near capacity, and they all must come inside as well. With well over 350 arrivals and departures a day (down from a normal 1,600), that’s still a lot of people. What works for one airport’s COVID response may not work for another.
So, what are you doing to help people social distance?
CLT is asking passengers to help by changing their behaviors. Work together to create distance between yourself and others. While some airports have blocked off seating to force social distancing. If CLT blocked seats in the boarding areas, for example, families and groups that have quarantined together and are traveling together would be forced to separate. A hold room that can seat 150 people waiting to board a 300-seat flight would most unable to sit. For those people who cannot stand for long periods or have disabilities this could be problematic.
TIP: Don’t rush up to line up for your flight at first call for boarding. Stay seated or wait a short distance away until most people have boarded. This way you can stand back from the crowd. If your boarding area is crowded, see if there is nearby seating or standing room.
How do people know they should social distance then?
Social distancing is a message people see and hear everywhere they go now. From the grocery store to the doctor’s office to the daily news reports. There is awareness before people come to the airport. Digital and freestanding signage located throughout the terminal encourages people to stand 6 feet apart and to wear a face mask. Face masks are required in all public places in North Carolina per a June executive order from the governor. Regular public address messages are also frequent reminders about social distancing and wearing a mask.
What do I do if someone is standing too close to me?
If someone is standing too close, be calm. Remember tensions are already high as people travel during this time. Don’t forget you are about to get on an aircraft where there is not likely to be empty seats around you. If you are uncomfortable, try kindness and show you are concerned not only about your health but that of others when you ask someone for more space.
TIP: Politely say something like "Let's just put a little bit of space in between each other while we're waiting in line." A polite “please” and “thank you” can go a long way.
What do I do is they refuse to give me space?
This might happen. If it does, create your own space. Go to a less congested area to stand or sit while you wait. If you are near your boarding gate you will be able to quickly respond to a call to board. Don’t worry, you won’t miss your flight. The airline is not likely to leave without you if you are nearby.
TIP: We found this great pocket guide on the six common conundrums of COVID-19 etiquette that may help.
Why aren’t there markings on the floor to tell people where to stand to social distance?
Thousands of people are flying in and out or connecting through Charlotte Douglas. Passengers should expect that CLT will be busy even if an airport they are coming from or going to is not busy. With so many people standing on or walking across those floor markings, they would be hard to see. CLT has some floor markings that are bright, bold and big. However, the Airport has opted for digital and floor stands signs that are tall enough to see as people make their way through the terminal.
So what do I do?
We are asking our customers to do their part. Each person’s travel needs and experiences are going to be different. Respect the people around you. Give them space. If you will, others will follow. Get comfortable moving away. Social distancing is up to all of us.
TIP: If you find people aren’t giving you space, make your own space. Walk around. This will cause people to move away from you. You can also use your carry-on luggage as a shield – extend your arm and hold your luggage away from you while waiting in line to create more space. If sitting, put your jacket, luggage or handbag in the seat next to you. Social distancing is up to all of us.
Why do I have to wear a mask at the Airport?
Two reasons. The governor of North Carolina has signed an executive order requiring people to wear masks when in public. The Airport, which is owned and operated by the City of Charlotte, is a public space and visitors, employees and passengers are required to wear a mask. We are wearing ours and want our passengers to do the right thing too. Rock your mask.
Second, medical research tells us that wearing a cloth face covering significantly cuts down on the spread of respiratory droplets when you sneeze, cough or speak. Likewise, the mask of other people helps protect you. We choose to heed the guidance and advice of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and ask our employees and customers to do the same. A face covering is even more important in places like airports where social distancing can be hard.
What do I do if someone isn’t wearing a mask?
First, lead the way. Do what is right. Wear your mask. If you are flying, you already know your airline will require you to wear one onboard the flight. Put it on when you arrive at the airport. Signage throughout the airport alerts passengers to the fact that masks are required.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper on Nov. 23 issued additional COVID-19 safety measures to tighten mask requirements and enforcement as cases continue to rise rapidly in North Carolina and across the country. Executive Order No. 180 (Order) goes into effect at 5 p.m. EST on Wednesday, Nov. 25 and runs at least through Friday, Dec. 11 and may be extended.
In short, it requires that anyone age 5 and up at Charlotte Douglas International Airport must wear a face mask, with limited medical exceptions. Since June, face coverings have been required at CLT throughout all parts of the passenger journey - from the parking lots and shuttle bus rides to the check in at the terminal and boarding aircraft. All airlines at CLT require passengers to wear face coverings to board a flight. The Executive Order allows law enforcement the ability to issue citations that could carry a fine up to $1,000.
TIP: If you decide to say something to a person not wearing a mask, be kind and be polite. If you ask in a kind way, people are more likely to respond in kind. Show mutual consideration. Don’t engage with someone who is going to refuse. If someone refuses your request, do what you need to do to protect yourself. Walk away from that person or turn your face away from them. It’s always a good idea to put distance between you and others, including those who do not want to put on a mask when they enter the airport.
What about people who do not wear a mask correctly?
The correct way to wear a mask is to cover your nose and mouth. We encourage our passengers to wear masks correctly for everyone’s safety and protection.
What if I don’t have a mask or I need a dry one and do not have a spare?
We’ve got you covered! We have masks, and we are happy to give you one. Ask for them at the TSA security checkpoint podiums or at the Visitor Info Center on the baggage claim level of the terminal. You mostly likely will walk right by it when your parking shuttle drops you at the terminal. These locations are before security.
We are working on ways to make masks available to passengers who are connecting through Charlotte Douglas and do not have to go through security again. Many of our retail partners have masks available for sale in their shops.