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New TSA guidelines reveal what the future of travel will look like

Facial coverings and social distancing practices are encouraged—as is the use of hand sanitizer.

Written by
Anna Rahmanan

As our country slowly opens up and airlines resume flying once more, the Transportation Security Administration has released a new set of guidelines intended to stop the spread of germs both among travelers and airport staff.

The new protocols are all-encompassing, touching upon different aspects of the travel experience. To start, passengers will keep their own boarding passes instead of handing them to TSA officers. They'll be able to scan their tickets on the reader and then hold them up for inspection, reducing the staff's "need to touch a [...] boarding pass, thus reducing potential for cross-contamination."

Other changes involve X-ray machines. Folks are encouraged to place their carry-on foods in a clear plastic bag separate from the rest of their belongings, and then placing said bag on a tray. "Food items often trigger an alarm during the screening process," explains the TSA. "Separating the food from the carry-on bag lessens the likelihood that a TSA officer will need to open the carry-on and remove the food items for a closer inspection." 

Speaking of packing: liquids, gels and aerosols in packages greater than 3.4 ounces are still prohibited in carry-on luggage. However, the TSA will now allow travelers to pack one liquid hand sanitizer container of up to 12 ounces per passenger in each boarded bag. You'll be required to remove the sanitizer before going through the X-ray machine.

Of course, as is the case in any closed-spaced venue around the country, social distancing practices will be encouraged throughout the airport (expect visual reminders of that), as will the use of facial protection gear. 

Some of these changes alongside a few others have already been implemented across travel hubs while others will be in place by, latest, mid June. 

The TSA also acknowledges that it has seen "a steady growth of travelers coming through airport checkpoints" over the last couple of weeks. Things, it seems, are starting to change, effectively shaping up a new normal that we will likely have to get used to for quite some time.

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