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Air Travel In Coronavirus Age: CBS2 Gets Firsthand Look At Safety Precautions At Area Airports

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Thinking of flying anytime soon?

CBS2's Alice Gainer recently got a look at the changes you'll see at LaGuardia and Newark Liberty airports.

Social distancing markers. Sanitizer stations. Plastic sheets for agents.

Those are three things you'll notice right away at LaGuardia.

MOREN.Y. Gov. Cuomo: Construction At LaGuardia Airport Will 'Energize' Reopening

Crowds are still small so many stores and eateries remain closed.

"First time in a long time flying out," one traveler said.


Delta gave Gainer a tour at its terminal.

Planes are cleaned with electrostatic sprayers. It only takes about five minutes.

Passengers now board the plane from back to front 10 at a time. You must wear a mask. If you don't have one, they'll give you one.

"There's no beverage carts. We're trying to reduce touch points," flight attendant Joseph Anderson said.

Instead, you get a pre-packaged snack pack with water.

MOREAir Travel In Coronavirus Age: Experts Say If You're Nervous To Fly, Airlines Will Try To Work With You

And what about the bathrooms onboard?

"Once a customer comes out, we go kinda clean that as well," Anderson said.

Here's another tip: Keep the air vent above you open.

"The filtration system is really air coming from the outside of the aircraft," said Ginny Elliott, Delta's VP of airport operations at LaGuardia.

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ COVID-19 Info Hub | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211 | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

At Newark Liberty, there are personal protection equipment (PPE) vending machines and mats that disinfect the soles of your shoes.

One thing Gainer didn't see at either airport was temperature screenings. Delta said employees get checks.

But what about passengers?

"There are temperature checks and health checks in the ... that are being done by CDC," said Port Authority Director of Aviation Huntley Lawrence.

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol says only some international travelers from certain countries and those with symptoms are referred to enhanced screenings by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Homeland Security, where temperatures might be taken.

The Transportation Security Administration said it is not doing any.

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Many airlines are also leaving the middle seat empty through the end of September.

"It's really easy for an airline to do that when they're only carrying 25% load factors. Watch out on Oct. 1," CBS News travel editor Peter Greenberg said. "The airlines definitely have to win back the trust of passengers simply because they were nickel-and-diming us so much before the pandemic with fees and waivers."

Officials also point out social distancing may not be possible in some areas like security.

If that doesn't fly with you, check with your carrier about a refund.

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