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Prepare for healthy holiday travel at STL

Posted on November 19, 2020 in Media Releases

Be informed and ready with these travel tips

The number of travelers at St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL) during the upcoming holiday is expected to be the highest seen since the start of the pandemic. With social distancing and increased cleaning protocols, the airport is asking passengers to come prepared to comply with healthy travel measures. 

STL continues to prioritize traveler safety, health and well-being with protocols including cleaning with EPA and CDC products, protective barriers and additional hand sanitizer stations throughout the airport. 

“We want the public to know the steps we are taking here at the airport, so they can confidently prepare for a trip or make an informed decision about traveling,” said Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge, STL’s Airport Director. “If you’re headed home for the holidays on a trip that couldn’t wait, it’s our highest priority to help keep you healthy at the airport with moments of holiday happiness sprinkled in.”

STL asks that everyone comply with directions to limit the spread of COVID-19. Stay home if you are sick, expect to wear a mask for the duration of your journey, wash or sanitize your hands frequently, and social distance from others. 

Here are some highlights of STL’s efforts:

  • Facemasks are required. STL has free masks available for travelers needing one. Stop by the Information Desk in Terminal 1 or a Southwest ticketing agent in Terminal 2.
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) vending machines are now available at four specific locations at STL. Each offers a selection of facemasks, hand sanitizers, all-in-one hygiene kits, and gloves.
  • The Hudson News & Gift units also offer s selection of PPE and other COVID-related supplies (thermometers, etc.)
  • Be Aware: Security checkpoint lines look longer but waits are not. Due to social distancing, lines fill up faster as six-foot separations reduce queuing by up to 75 percent. However, lines move faster than they look.
  • Frequent disinfection with EPA and CDC approved cleaning products. 
  • Added more than 100 hand sanitizer stations throughout the terminals for your use. 
  • Installed protective barriers that buffer interactions between travelers and STL employees, and nearly 1,200 reminders (wash hands, wear masks) and signs to honor social distancing.
  • Frequent PA announcements to social distance and health reminders.
  • STL’s restaurants are ready and waiting to safely serve you using contactless menu ordering and seating that has been reconfigured to promote social distancing.

What Can I Do to Prepare?:

  • If you’re sick, stay home. If you have symptoms, protect yourself and others by not traveling.
  • Mask Up! Facemasks became mandatory in St. Louis City/County under a public health order on July 3, 2020. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises face coverings may slow the spread of the virus. Pack an extra mask in case you need a fresh one along the way.
  • Keep your distance. Maintain a six-foot distance from others.
  • Wash and sanitize your hands often. Lather for 20 seconds covering the back of your hands, under your fingernails and between your fingers before rinsing. Don’t have time to wash? We have you covered! STL installed hundreds of hand sanitizing stations throughout the terminal.
  • Wipe down surfaces. Bring disinfecting wipes on your journey and wipe down any common use areas you touch.
  • Don’t touch your face! Refrain from touching your face and putting items like your boarding pass in your mouth.
  • Check travel guidance. Some U.S. states and foreign countries require mandatory quarantines for arriving passengers. Check with your airline regarding any rules you need to know for the state or country where you plan to travel.
  • Keep informed. The FAA has created a site that walks passengers through every step of the process: planning your travel; at the airport; aboard the aircraft; arrival at your destination, and returning home.

Give me the Travel Basics:

To improve the travel experience for seasoned pros and newbies alike, STL reminds all travelers:

  • Give yourself extra time. Arrive two hours early for domestic flights and three hours for international travel. Even with lower traffic, COVID-19 social distancing efforts can make transiting through the airport longer than expected.
  • Park in the STL garages. Consider picking up and dropping off passengers in the Terminal 1 or Terminal 2 garages to avoid congestion. Short term parking is only $5/hour.
  • Be ready for security checkpoints. STL and TSA want to help you move through security checkpoints as quickly as possible. Travelers are required to remove electronics larger than a cell phone from carry-on luggage. Also, remove foods and liquids from your carry-on luggage, prepare to hold up your boarding pass for review, and wear your mask.
  • Check traffic. Visit the Missouri Department of Transportation’s website to see if there are any road construction projects that might hinder your access to the airport.
  • Riding Metro to the STL. If you are using Metro Transit to reach the airport you MUST wear a face mask to help protect transit riders and employees from the spread of coronavirus.

By the Numbers:

  • More travelers will pass through STL during the upcoming holidays since the pandemic began. Several days are projected to be more than 9,000 departing passengers through the security checkpoints (Doesn’t reflect connecting or arriving passengers). The previous high was during the Labor Day holiday with nearly 9,500 passengers. This compares to the lowest point of the COVID-19 crisis in April with only 553 departing passengers per day. This is still considerably fewer than what we saw pre-COVID during last year’s holiday with peak days over 20,000. That is 55-60 percent lower than normal traffic levels. See the latest airport passenger traffic update.
  • The busiest days are projected to be Sunday, Nov. 29 (9,772 projected passengers), Wednesday, Nov. 25 (9,137), Tuesday, Nov. 24 (8,189), Monday, Nov. 30 (7,555) and Saturday, Nov. 20 (7,401).
  • As for overall passenger traffic, through September STL is down 59 percent compared to 2019. The month of September saw 432,848 total passengers this year compared to 1,307,068 in 2019.