Memphis International Airport (MEM) officials expect passenger volume to be down by 50 percent this holiday travel season but issued travel tips for those choosing to fly.
Passenger counts were cut in half for the Thanksgiving travel season, MEM officials reported recently. December holiday travel at the airport ”is not expected to exceed” that amount, they said.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said the holiday travel season this year will be from Wednesday, December 23rd, through Monday, January 4th. Based on available airline seats for that period, as many as 40,000 passengers and employees could pass through the TSA checkpoint during the 11-day travel period. The peak days are expected to be Wednesday, December 23rd; Sunday, December 27th; and Monday, January 4th.
MEM issued these tips for those traveling this holiday season:
• MEM recommends that travelers arrive at the airport at least 90 minutes before their departure time.
• Passengers should check with their airlines to monitor schedules.
• Each airline has different policies and fees for baggage.
• Airlines rather than the airport are responsible for all aspects of ticketing, scheduling, gate operations, and baggage handling. Check with your airline if you have questions about any of these aspects of air travel.
• Each airline maintains its own COVID-19 policies and procedures.
• Airlines require passengers to wear masks/facial coverings when boarding and throughout the duration of the flight.
• Additional information about the effects of COVID on airport and airline operations can be found at flymemphis.com/covid-19.
• TSA has implemented new procedures to increase social distancing, reduce contact between employees and passengers, and increase cleaning and sanitation at the checkpoint. More information: tsa.gov/coronavirus.
• All screening continues to be performed at the B Checkpoint. The C Checkpoint is currently closed.
• As a temporary exemption from its “3-1-1” rule (no liquids in excess of 3.4 oz. in carry-on bags), TSA is allowing one oversized liquid hand sanitizer container, up to 12 ounces per passenger, in carry-on bags.
• In order to expedite security screening time, passengers should review the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA’s) list of prohibited items.
• Firearms in carry-on bags are prohibited by federal law. Check your bags before you arrive at the airport.
• Food items should be removed from carry-on bags and placed in bins for screening. (Does not apply to TSA PreCheck members.)
• Masks are now required in public buildings per the city of Memphis face covering ordinance.
• Complimentary masks are available at the ticketing counters and the TSA checkpoint, and additional masks are available for sale at retail shops.
• Floor markings are in place which illustrate the recommended 6-feet distancing between passengers.
• Businesses and airlines have installed Plexiglass at counters as an extra measure of protection.
• MEM and its partners continue to maintain enhanced cleaning and sanitation of high contact areas, including the gate areas and the security checkpoint.
• Sanitizer dispensers can be found throughout the terminal and in both the A and C concourses.
• Torn Basil has reopened near gate A27. The restaurant will initially operate Thursday-Monday, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Hours may vary based on traffic.
• Due to the significant decrease in passenger traffic, HMS Host (food/beverage) and Paradies (retail stores) have reduced hours and closed some locations. Updates are listed at flymemphis.com/covid-19.
• The Delta Air Lines SkyClub remains temporarily closed.