HOUSTON - Coronavirus cases are climbing and air travel is also picking up. Houston Airport Systems officials say there has been an uptick in travel as summer has arrived.
At this point, there’s no end in sight to the pandemic, and many passengers are deciding to fly anyway, despite health concerns associated with travel.
Packed flights and long lines have returned to Bush Airport, despite rising cases of coronavirus. Travelers told Fox 26 they sat shoulder-to-shoulder on sold-out flights with American, United, and Spirit Airlines.
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As summer travel picks up, Bush and Hobby Airports in Houston are continuing to implement a new protocol called FlySafe Houston.
“People can expect a new way of operating here at Houston Airports,” said Augusto Bernal, spokesman for Houston Airports.
Mandatory masks, hundreds of hand sanitizing stations, social distancing markers, and intensive cleaning will be in place until further notice at both Bush and Hobby Airports, plus other features to help people avoid touching.
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“You’re going to see new technology,” said Bernal. “We’re doing facial comparison boarding at some of our international gates. This minimizes contact between the passenger and the airline.
”The airlines have made many changes as a result of the pandemic too. American Airlines announced Wednesday a 25 percent reduction in international flights through next summer. Delta announced it will continue blocking middle seats on flights through the end of September, and many of the airlines announced extensions to waivers allowing people to change flights for free.
“They did ask if I could switch my flight because it was going to be a full one, so I was a little concerned about that, but we’ll just see what happens,” said Madeleine Nolan who boarded an American Airlines flight Wednesday.
Houston Airport officials said they want travelers to know that construction is going on outside of the airport near terminal buildings, so they’re recommending you leave early for your flight to give time to navigate around the construction to the airport.