In trying to keep people safe during the current COVID-19 pandemic, an increasing number of government entities around the country now require people to wear non-medical masks or face coverings when out in public.
In many cities, those rules now apply to airports.
Starting this week, Canada’s Minister of Transport is requiring all air passengers traveling to, through or from Canada to have a non-medical mask or face covering to cover their mouth and nose.
“Aviation passengers on all flights departing or arriving at Canadian airports will also be required to demonstrate they have the necessary non-medical mask or face covering during the boarding process otherwise they will not be allowed to continue on their journey,” Transport Canada said in a statement.
Because the schedule for international flights from SFO will be reduced by 52% by April 1, the airport will temporarily close one part of the International Terminal.
On April 1, and through at least through the end of May, SFO will close Boarding Area A (Gates A1 to A15) in the International Terminal and consolidate all international flight departures to Boarding Area G, which houses Gates G1-G14.
The SFO Medical Clinic (in the Int’l Terminal Main Hall, by the A Gates); the Grand Hyatt at SFO and the Int’l Parking Garage A will still be open, but this will allow SFO to close a security checkpoint and consolidate Custom & Border Protection staff.
Consolidation is going on at other airports as well. So if you are traveling, be sure to check the airport and airline websites.
TSA’s COVID-19 Count Keeps Increasing
Over the weekend, TSA updated its map and its list showing
which states and which airports have TSA screening officers who have tested positive
On Saturday, March 28, TSA reported that over the past two weeks 55 TSA screening officers have tested positive for COVID-19.
TSA says 19 others who had “relatively limited interaction with the traveling public” tested positive as well.
We hope those officers recover quickly, of course. But if you’ve traveled through an airport in one of the blue states on the map during the past few weeks, be sure to check this list to see which airports are affected.
The list includes the last date the officers worked, the checkpoints they were stationed at and their shift hours.
If you think you may have passed through the checkpoints where these officers were stationed, please be sure to check with your doctor about what steps to take next.
February 14 – Valentine’s Day – SFO opened a new $6.3 million outdoor observation deck called the
pre-security in Terminal 2, the 1,460-square-foot SkyTerrace is open to the
general public and, as a bonus, offers 180-degree views of the busiest section
of SFO, where all four runways intersect.
Visitors will find wooden chairs and benches at the SkyTerrace, drought-tolerant landscaping, bird-safe glass panels to provide wind protection and great views.
Food and beverages are permitted on the SkyTerrace, and later this year a café will open nearby. So this sounds like a great place to hang out with friends or family before a flight.
new SkyTerrace will be open seven days a week from 7:00 am – 10:00 pm. And
while no ticket is required to access this new observation deck, visitors must
still undergo a security check as they enter the space.
As a nice bonus, the SFO Museum has installed an exhibit at the SkyTerrace titled The 1954 San Francisco International Airport Terminal, which explores the history and architecture of the building that was on the spot now occupied by the SkyTerrace.
in the International Style, the seven-story building was dedicated on August
27, 1954 and had panoramic views of the airfield and San Francisco Bay from
multiple spectators’ terraces. The
exhibition features objects and imagery from the first decade the building operated.
SFO’s other observation deck
And don’t forget that SFO airport has another snazzy observation
That one also offers 180-degree views of the airfield and is post-security at the end of the International Terminal, Boarding Area G. It also has wooden chairs, tables, and chaise lounges, ten-foot bird-safe glass panels, drought-tolerant landscaping and three bronze sculptures. Hours: 7:00 am to 11:30 pm every day.
Our story about airports and airlines getting rid of single-use plastics first appeared on CNBC.
Business and leisure travelers concerned about climate
change and “flight shame” may do their part by purchasing carbon offsets and adjusting
the number of trips they take on airplanes.
Airports and airlines are trying to save the planet too with
a wide range of sustainable initiatives that include cutting down the use of
single-use plastics and making reusable water bottles essential travel amenities.
BYOB at SFO Airport
In 2019, San
Francisco International Airport (SFO), launched an ambitious Zero Waste
Concessions Program designed to significantly reduce the amount of single-use
disposable plastics used at the airport.
Noting that in 2018 nearly four million slow-to-biodegrade plastic
water bottles were sold at the airport, in August 2019 SFO became the first
airport in the nation to ban the sale of single-use plastic water bottles.
SFO now actively encourages each passenger to bring their
own reusable water bottle with them to the airport and get free water from one
of the hydration stations in the terminals.
Bottled sodas, teas and juices are currently exempt from the
policy. And bottled water is still being sold, but only in approved packaging made
from recyclable aluminum or glass, or in compostable packaging.
Single-use plastics banned at other airports too
Airports in a growing number of other cities in the United States, and around the world, are getting serious about sustainability projects that are good for the environment and, in some cases, the bottom line.
“Whether through their participation in the Airport Carbon Accreditation program, implementation of more sustainable business practices, or even by the elimination of drinking straws and other single-use plastics, airports are taking a variety of approaches to be good neighbors in their communities,” said Scott Elmore, Vice President, Communications & Marketing for Airports Council International – North America
In February 2019, Glasgow
Airport offered all 5,300 people working in an around the airport free,
In September 2019, Dallas Fort Worth International Airport
(DFW) announced a campaign to phase out all single-use plastic straws at the
In October 2019, the Airports
Authority of India (AAI) announced that at least 55 airports in the country
had banned single-use plastic items such as straws, plastic cutlery and plastic
And January 1, 2020, is the deadline for Dubai’s two airports, Dubai International Airport (DBX) – the world’s busiest airport for international travelers – and Dubai World Central Airport (DWC) to be entirely free of single-use plastics such as plastic cutlery, drinking straws, meal packaging and bags.
“Along with our partners, including
global brands such as McDonalds, Costa Coffee and Starbucks, we are committed
to not only removing single-use plastics but in their place providing
appropriate and importantly sustainable alternatives,” said Eugene Barry, Dubai
Airport’s Executive Vice President – Commercial, in a statement.
Barry says finding
replacements for plastic bottles remains a challenge for the airports, so for
now bottle recycling efforts are being beefed up.
Going forward, a bill passed by the Atlanta City Council and waiting for the mayor’s approval is set to ban single-use plastics in the city and at Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) by the end of 2020. Following the new law shouldn’t be too much of a reach: ATL’s guidelines for increased sustainability already seek to divert 90% of the airport’s total waste from landfills.
Not all airports are nixing the plastic water bottles,
In its food court, Portland
International Airport (PDX) eliminates a great deal of plastic with its Green
Plate Program that gives travelers the option of having meals served on
reusable plates with reusable utensils.
But the airport’s environmental team hasn’t pressed to impose
a ban on plastic bottles because “not every traveler chooses to tote around
what can sometimes be a very expensive refillable bottle,” said PDX spokesperson
Kama Simonds, “Further, what if
travelers to our airport were unaware of the ban? This could have unintended
consequences of either leaving folks with less hydration and/or potentially
having a sugary drink as the option, which isn’t healthy.”
Airport vendors and airlines doing their part
HMSHost, which operates dining
venues in more than 120 airports around the world, says it is on track to honor
its commitment to eliminate plastic straws in its North American operations by
the end of 2020.
The company has already eliminated plastic
cocktail stirrers and currently only provides straws on request in its casual
In September, Alaska Airlines kicked off a “FillBeforeYouFly”
initiative, asking passengers to help reduce the use of single-use plastic
bottles inflight by bringing their reusable water bottles to the airport and
filling them at airport hydrations stations before their flight.
In November, Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) introduced sustainable
meal packaging that includes paper with a coating made of organic
plant-based plastic instead of oil-based plastic as well as cutlery made of
And earlier this year, Air
New Zealand removed individual plastic water bottles
from its Business Premier and Premium Economy cabins and switched to compostable plant-based coffee cups
made from paper and corn instead of plastic.
The airline is encouraging passengers to bring their
own reusable cups on board aircraft and into lounges. And, in a truly tasty
move, ANZ is running a test program to serve coffee and ice-cream in edible,
vanilla-flavored cups made by New Zealand-based twiice.