COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - As states continue the reopening process, airports and airlines are also continuing to adjust to the changing conditions of the pandemic. Officials with Columbia Metropolitan Airport (CAE) in West Columbia, say they’ve put a number of safety measures in place to make travelers feel as comfortable as possible.
Also, keep in mind that some of these precautions are put in place by the airport. Then, there are separate procedures put in place by the airlines.
Right now, there are three airlines flying out of Columbia: Delta, American and United Airlines, all of which are requiring that face coverings be worn during flights.
In a meeting between airline executives and Vice President Mike Pence Friday, airlines were given the green light to begin creating a contact tracing app. This is to better manage data and help keep travelers safe, once it’s discovered a passenger tested positive for COVID-19. There is not a lot of information on exactly how this app will work, but airlines are now aiming for a December 1 deadline for the app.
Back in the Midlands, the South Carolina Department of Transportation just recently provided more than 55,000 masks to CAE. The masks will be available to travelers at the information desk in the main lobby, as well as the TSA security checkpoint for those who request one.
Lynne Douglas is the public relations manager with CAE.
She says, “Currently, masks inside the airport are not required but they are required on the airplanes. Each airline is requiring them on their airplane. We are seeing some limited flight schedules. Our nonstop service to New York LaGuardia, that service has not resumed nor our service to Philadelphia, but we recently resumed service – American recently resumed service on their nonstop to Miami.”
Before boarding your flight, inside the airport, you’ll notice additional hand sanitizer stations. A plexiglass shield has been installed at the TSA security checkpoint and at several retail locations throughout the airport. Restrooms are being cleaned every two hours, but airport officials say as traffic increases, bathrooms will be cleaned every hour.
“Year-to-date, we’re about 48% or we have seen a 48% decrease, year-to-date in travelers, but the good news is each week we are seeing those numbers rise. So, we are seeing more travelers coming through the airport. We’re seeing the confidence level rise. So, we are very hopeful,” said Douglas.
This is a trend we’re seeing across the country as more and more people begin to fly again.
As we approach the busy July 4th holiday, you now have a greater chance of boarding a full flight.
American and United Airlines both intend to sell every seat on board, but passengers will have a chance to re-book at no charge.