Safe Travels Part 2: Top 7 things passengers can do to fly safely

We understand some people must travel: Nurses and doctors are volunteering in hard-hit communities. Some business travel can no longer be delayed. And even some personal travel can only be put off for so long. We are working hard to keep you safe while you are at Charlotte Douglas International Airport, but we are also relying on you to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Please take precautions for yourself, fellow travelers, and our employees.

Arrive Early

First realize that it’s as important as ever that you arrive early. Do not assume fewer travelers means shorter wait times. TSA recommends you arrive at the Airport two hours before your domestic flight and three hours before an international flight.

Procedure changes and staff reductions aimed at reducing potential exposure to the virus can result in wait times equal to or longer than a busy, pre-COVID-19 day. Checkpoint wait times and the number of open checkpoints will vary, so make sure you give yourself plenty of time before your flight. 

Follow CDC Guidelines

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says the best way to prevent the illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus. Here are some of the CDC’s tips for staying virus-free and our advice (in italics) for how to put those tips to work in an airport environment.

Keep Your Distance

  • Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other people whenever possible
  • Remember that some people without symptoms may be able to spread the virus
  • Stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings

Whether you are waiting to go through security, board your flight or grab a cup of coffee, you should try to keep 6 feet between yourself and the nearest person whenever you can. If you can’t social distance, wear a face covering. Stand back further than you normally would when speaking with security screeners and, gate agents, for example, and only hand them your documents if they ask. Some of our partners have installed floor stickers to help with social distancing. If you see them, please use them.

If buying concessions or waiting in any line, leave plenty of space between yourself and the customer ahead of you and then try to pay with a card, if possible, so that you and the employee don’t have to handle cash.

We’ve adjusted our parking lots, so that most who arrive by car can walk directly to the terminal. If you do use one of our shuttle buses, leave a seat between yourself and the nearest passenger. If the bus seems crowded, wait for the next one. We’ve got buses running more frequently so another will be along soon.

Cover Your Face

  • Everyone should wear a cloth face cover when they go out in public
    • Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
  • The cloth face cover is meant to protect other people in case you are infected.

Unlike restaurants and other private facilities, the Airport is unable to limit the number of people allowed inside at one time. This can create challenges with social distancing and makes the use of face coverings even more important.

All airlines serving Charlotte Douglas International Airport either strongly encourage or are mandating passengers wear face coverings in the terminal, at ticket counters, in boarding areas and onboard their aircraft. Additionally, Aviation Department employees are now required to wear a face covering and many of our partners have implemented similar policies for their employees.

Clean your hands often

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

Take every opportunity to wash to your hands. Once you finish your security screening, wash your hands. Before and after you eat or drink, clean your hands. If you pass by a hand sanitizing station, go ahead and get a squirt. More than 30 hand sanitizing stations are located inside our terminal. Once you leave the Airport and get back to your car or home, wash again.

Important Note: You can bring a 12-ounce container of liquid hand sanitizer through security in your carry-on bag! TSA announced the exception will be made “until further notice.”

Clean and Disinfect

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily.
  • If surfaces are dirty, clean them. Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.

We’ve got this one! The Airport is following CDC guidance. Our staff has increased the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting and is conducting routine deep-cleaning of shuttle buses and inside the terminal at security checkpoints and other high-touch areas including hand rails, people movers, restrooms, seating, and arm rests. Seriously, our cleaning staff is on it!

We also have increased the number of hand sanitizing stations in the terminal and are using electrostatic spray surface cleaning where appropriate. However, if you have the supplies, it doesn’t hurt to wipe down an area before you sit or use a napkin or paper towel to open a door or grab a railing.

 Protect Others

  • Stay home if you are sick

Airport employees have been instructed to stay home if they are sick – and we hope that you will do the same.

We are using digital messaging boards and our public address system to provide reminders to those in the terminal. We all play a role in stopping the spread of this virus. We are all in this together!