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Flying during the holidays?

Here's what to expect

Anyone planning to fly over the upcoming Holiday season should consider their mask just as important as their boarding pass.

Chaille Munn, director of marketing for the Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport, urges passengers to familiarize themselves with new travel protocols and to expect to wear a mask throughout their journey — from check-in through departure at their destination airport.

“The airlines are also doing their part to ensure a safe travel experience,” Munn says. Those measures include requiring masks and protective plexiglass barriers at check-in counters.

Additionally, in-flight food and beverage services have been modified, reduced or suspended, Munn says. On the plane, High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filtration systems work to remove contaminants and bacteria, and after flights, enhanced aircraft cleaning protocols, including fogging and electrostatic spraying, are performed.

At Gulfport-Biloxi International, according to Munn, the airport’s custodial team is conducting enhanced cleaning procedures, especially for frequently touched areas like handrails, door handles, seating and other hard surfaces. Travelers will notice additional hand sanitizing dispensers, social distancing decals and signage reminding passengers of CDC guidelines.

In April, Munn says the airport saw some of its lightest days — with a 92 percent decrease in passenger volume compared to April of 2019.

“Our numbers are slowly but certainly climbing as passengers gain confidence in the many measures being taken by the airlines and airports to create a safe and healthy travel environment and the desire to travel continues to grow,” she says.

To stay safe and healthy while traveling over the holidays, Munn advises steps that have become familiar since the start of the pandemic: Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, use a mask in public, avoid touching your face, maintain a safe distance of at least six feet from other groups and finally, stay home and seek medical attention if you feel unwell.

“We hope to see plenty of pent-up demand for travel over the holidays, especially by those who were not able to take their typical summer vacations,” Munn says. “While the last few months have kept people home and away from distant loved ones, the Airport is here and prepared when the Gulf Coast community is ready to travel again.”

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