Passengers say increased safety at Norfolk airport eases travel concerns amid coronavirus pandemic

Posted at 9:55 PM, May 25, 2020

NORFOLK, Va. - The arrivals area at Norfolk International Airport was far from a ghost town Monday.

“I thought my flight was going to get canceled, but they ended up keeping the flight and I had a good time,” said Hampton resident Cinnamon Brobnax.

She is back home from a weekend trip to Atlanta. “I had a row to myself there and back.”

But not everyone had extra elbow room on their flight. “My first flight to Charlotte to was full,” said Maci Key.

This weekend, Transportation Security Administration saw the highest number of passengers since the end of March - down more than 80% compared to this time last year.

TSA says this growth is “steady," and as travel starts to pick back up again, airport leaders are taking extra safety precautions.

“We are in the process of adding signage and overhead announcements and floor decals to remind our passengers of those various layers of health safety practices,” said Steve Sterling, the director of operations with the airport authority.

Some of the changes being implemented include:

  • Cleaning and sanitation: Janitorial teams have increased frequency of cleaning and are using disinfectant foggers in public areas of the airport terminals. Hand sanitizer dispensers are available in high traffic areas.
  • Plastic shields: Plastic shields are in place in high-traffic areas, including airline ticket counters, TSA security checkpoints and other areas.

Travelers and visitors should follow best practice recommendations to stay healthy:

  • Plan to arrive at the airport at least 90 minutes before scheduled departure time to allow for check-in and screening at TSA checkpoints.
  • Individuals bringing travelers to the airport should drop them at curbside unless they are assisting an unaccompanied minor, a traveler with disabilities or others needing assistance.

As you walk into the airport leaders strongly recommend that you wear a face mask. They also say to print out your boarding pass at home or have it ready on your mobile device to avoid touching surfaces like the kiosks.

Passengers who spoke to News 3 say the safety measures they've seen across airports this weekend makes them want to pack their bags again this summer.

“I’m ready to get back on the beach,” said Key.

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