Last year, more than 250 million passengers traveled on US airlines throughout the summer. Parking lots were full, wait times were substantially longer, and everyone needed a little extra time to avoid missing their flight. This year, airports look different, due to everyone doing their best to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Although wait times and parking lots are less of a hassle this year, there are still several important things to keep in mind if you’re preparing to fly this summer.
Last summer, due to the volume of travelers, wait times to get through the ticket counter and security were longer than usual. This year, the airport has less traffic coming through, but social distancing and precautions taken in the TSA area can still cause a slower processing time through security. While we normally recommend arriving at least two hours before your flight is scheduled to leave, we understand that being in the airport that long isn’t appealing during a pandemic. We still suggest arriving at least one hour before your flight is scheduled to leave, and earlier than that if several flights are scheduled at the same time as yours.
Getting through the Security Checkpoint
We always recommend that travelers speed up the line at the security checkpoint by having their ID out and ready to show, placing all food in the conveyor bins for inspection, using travel-size containers for liquids and placing them all in one quart-sized bag for inspection, and removing all electronic devices from carry-on bags and placing them in the conveyor bins for visual inspection. This summer, we’d also like to remind travelers to maintain six feet of distance from others during the screening, and to move from the scanning area to a separate table to put things away after the screening.
To minimize the time you spend going through the security checkpoint, apply for TSA PreCheck from the Transportation Security Administration. Flyers that are PreCheck approved do not need to remove shoes, laptops, liquids, belts and light jackets when going through the security checkpoint. More information here: https://www.tsa.gov/precheck. If you don’t have to check a bag, you can even bypass the ticket counter entirely as well by checking into your flight on your airline’s website, or mobile phone app. These tips will not only save you time, they’ll also limit your interpersonal interactions and aid in minimizing the risk of contributing to the spread of coronavirus. Be sure to remember your mask as well; their use is required by airlines, and recommended while within the airport.
Traveling this summer looks and feels different than usual, but there’s no reason it has to be more of a hassle. With good preparation and planning, your necessary summer travel plans via Springfield-Branson National Airport can be easily accomplished. We thank you for utilizing our airport to get where you have to go this summer, and we look forward to continuing to serve as your connection to the world of travel in the future.