The airline industry doesn’t expect Thanksgiving travel to match levels it saw in 2019, when 31.6 million Americans traveled, but it is anticipating an increase in passengers during the holiday, which is expected to run from Nov. 18 through Dec. 1 this year.
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport expects a busy few days at its terminals.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that Americans shouldn’t travel for Thanksgiving, due to the spike in COVID-19 cases nationwide .
It’s not too late to make changes to your itinerary. While in years past, it might have been difficult to make the decision to change your plans this close to your departure, most airlines are offering extremely flexible cancellation and rebooking policies because of the pandemic. If you don’t feel safe to travel, you don’t have to.
An important reminder: If you test positive for the virus, do not travel. Stay home.
And even if you do test negative, know you are safer at home.
However, there may be a reason you need to fly for the holidays. If you do, here are some of the things to know about traveling during the pandemic. Sky Harbor Airport has a mask mandate. So do airlines
The advice from nearly everyone in the aviation industry — from the Transportation Security Administration to the airports and airlines themselves — is that the best way to prevent the spread of the virus is to wear a mask.
Evidence shows that masks work as a layer of protection to prevent the spread of the virus by keeping large droplets that could contain the virus off your neighbors as well as some of the smaller droplets. Be kind to others and wear your mask while traveling to keep your germs to yourself.
If you don’t wear one, you’ll be asked to leave the flight and could be banned from future flights. If you approach security without one, the TSA agent will ask you to put one on if you have it. If you don’t have one, they will provide one. The airport has free masks. But finding one that’s comfortable is key
The Federal Emergency Management Agency donated 1.8 million cloth masks to Sky Harbor for distribution to passengers and employees. You’ll find them in a bin just past security. You can also request one at the Information Counters or find them in the Rental Car Center.
You can also find vending machines where you can purchase masks throughout the terminals.
But experts say it’s best to find a comfortable, well fitting mask before you travel. Consider a face shield to protect the virus from entering through your eyes.
"You want it to be comfortable, because if it’s not, you are going to be tempted to try and lift it up a little bit to breathe or shifted around on your face or something like that," Kacey Ernst, an epidemiologist with the University of Arizona, said. How to check COVID-19 travel restrictions before you fly
Before you depart, check the quarantine and COVID-19 testing requirements for both your home and destination.
"Often times you check the rules for where you’re departing but not where you’re going," David Pekoske, administrator for the Transportation Security Administration, said during a call with reporters on Nov. 19. If you’re flying internationally on American Airlines, consider downloading its VeriFLY app . It will help you navigate and verify you have all the correct documentation so you won’t be denied entry at your destination. Consider getting a COVID-19 test before (and after) you fly Consider COVID-19 testing before and after traveling to make sure you’re aware of your COVID-19 status and can stay […]