Los Angeles International Airport

Airports deploying ‘mask nannies’

Right now face coverings and masks are required in every airport and on most airlines due to continued concerns about the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

There are signs, stickers, and announcements everywhere a traveler turns, but still, not everyone is covering up.

Some people don’t want to mask up and it is reassuring to know that some airlines won’t let those folks fly.

Other travelers may have forgotten their masks or are neglecting to put them on in areas of the airport.

So, to help passengers get with the program, “ambassadors” who are serving as mask nannies are being sent out into airport terminals to help.

Yes, it’s come to that.

At San Francisco International Airport (SFO) “TravelWell Ambassadors” are roving the terminals to make sure passengers wear face coverings and maintain proper physical distancing.

At Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), the mask nannies are called “Travel Safety Ambassadors. They’re on duty in Terminal 1 and in the Tom Bradey International Terminal (TBIT).

Don’t have a mask? No problem. The mask nannies have a supply of them. So there should be no excuses.

We expect other airports are or will be deploying mask nannies as well.

Travel Tidbits from an airport near you

Here’s some of the airport news that caught our attention today.

May I help you, virtually?

Our first encounter with a video help desk was at the massive Istanbul Airport in October 2019.

It seemed odd but, then, efficient to step up to what seemed like an unstaffed information desk and then have a live video chat with someone located offsite.

But now video chats are the socially distanced way to get questions answered in an airport.

As of May 2020, volunteer Airport Ambassadors staff the Virtual Information Booth at Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport (SDF).

And now Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is running a Virtual Assistance pilot program in Terminal 2.

Travelers can have real-time video conversations with a customer services specialist over a touch-free tablet system installed at the information booth.

As health safety and social distancing concerns continue, we expect to see more airports offering some sort of virtual help desk.

San Jose International Airport shows off its ingenuity

Like most airports now, Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC) is implementing new health and safety measures in its terminal.

We like the no-nonsense social distancing signage and floor decals.

And we are impressed that instead of waiting months for out-of-stock hand-sanitizing stations and plexiglass barriers, the Facilities and Engineering team at SJC is making its own.

At Your Gate + Grab = Service

Grab, the time-saving app that lets you order from an airport restaurant and then go straight to the pick-up line to get your meal is partnering with AtYourGate, the service that lets you order airport food via an app and have it delivered to you wherever you are in the terminal.

The partnership makes sense on many levels but is perfectly timed for these ‘no-touch’ times.

Grab already operates in over 50 airports in 4 countries. AtYourGate serves 10 airports now, with 40 more to be served in short order.

BWI & LAX airports mark anniversaries

Two airports celebrate dedication anniversaries this week: Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

70 years ago, on June 24, 1950, President Harry S. Truman officially dedicated Friendship International Airport, which is now known as Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.

11 years later, then-Vice President Lynden B. Johnson was on hand on June 25, 1961 for the dedication of the Jet Age terminals at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

A few years later, in 1964, Lucille Ball was at LAX to inaugurate the first “Astroway” – or moving walkway – at LAX .

At LAX: Hot or not?

Thermal scanning of passengers is common at many airports in Asia.

If the new Terminal Wellness Pilot Program rolling out at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on June 23 works out, then thermal scanning could become the new normal in U.S. airports too.

The new pilot program uses thermal camera technology to identify travelers who have elevated body temperatures.

The heat-seeking cameras are set up inside the Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT) at both the main entrance on the departures level and inside the terminal near some international arrivals.

For the pilot program, the cameras will be screening both arriving and departing passengers who voluntarily agree to be screened. And LAX officials say passengers who don’t want to be screened will be able to decline the scan.

The thermal cameras will be identifying people with body temperatures of 100.4 degrees or more. A fever could be mean that a traveler has COVID-19.

Passengers flagged with an elevated temperature will go through secondary screening that includes having a medical professional do a temperature check with a handheld, non-contact thermometer.

LAX says departing passengers with elevated body temperature will be advised not to travel. Passengers on arriving international flights who may be ill could be referred to CDC staff on site.

LAX Airport is lonely. And wants to play

Airports are quiet, lonely places these days.

Rightly so, given the “stay home” orders we are all following, if we can.

But, like us, airports still want to play.

So, Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) has put together a suitcase full of fun activities, videos and even a cut-and-play board game to keep us entertained and engaged.

First up: these cute minute-long video check-ins in with team members form the LAX PUPs (Pets Unstressing Passengers) program.

Next up: LAX at Home – the GAME

If you need a break from video games, try this ‘LAX At Home‘ board game.

The goal of the game is to be the first to travel around the horseshoe layout of LAX, which in normal times can get take a half-hour or more.

You can download and print out the playing board and more than 50 Boarding Pass cards that let you advance – not – around the board.

LAX game creators promise that playing the game you will feel as if you are at LAX: “Experience the excitement of world-class restaurants, catch a performance or check out the celebrity sightings. Just watch out for traffic, paparazzi and leave two hours before your flight.”

LAX also has downloadable coloring pages with airport themes, digital puzzles and a playlist of travel songs to keep you entertained and thinking about how much fun you’ll have when we can all get back out on the road.