Healthy Travel at TRI

The Tri-Cities Airport Authority is highly committed to the health and safety of passengers, guests and employees. We are working closely with health experts and airline partners to diligently monitor the evolving situation and guidance.

The following information is up to date as of: July 2, 2020

We are committed to keeping our travelers informed as schedules and services are modified due to COVID-19 (Coronavirus). Please see below for the most recent updates of changes at TRI.

  • July 2–Out of an abundance of caution and in the interest of minimizing exposure and controlling the spread of the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Outbreak, all US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Trusted Traveler Program Enrollment Centers will suspend operations until at least August 10, 2020. This temporary closure includes all public access to Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, and FAST enrollment locations. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your patience through this process. Enrollment on Arrival remains operational at participating airports. For locations please visit https://www.cbp.gov/travel/trusted-traveler-programs/global-entry/enrollment-arrival.
  • June 26–Starting on July 2, 2020 Allegiant will require all passengers to wear a face covering at all times while traveling – at the ticket counter, at the gate, during the boarding process, and while flying. Refusal (for non-medical reasons) can result in the customer being denied travel. Customers exempt from this policy are: children under the age of two (2) and customers who have a doctor’s note with physician’s contact information dated within one (1) year stating the customer’s name and that they have a disability or underlying medical condition preventing them from being able to wear a face covering. All information related to traveling with Allegiant, what they are doing to ensure health and safety, and their cleaning processes may be found here.
  • June 1–The concourse retail store is now open daily from 5 AM-Noon.
  • May 27–U.S. Customs and Border Protection has extended the temporary closure of Trusted Traveler Program enrollment centers until at least July 6, 2020. CBP is taking this precautionary measure to minimize the exposure of the public and CBP personnel to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Click here for more details.
  • May 22– TSA has implemented changes to the security screening process that reduce the potential for cross-contamination at the security checkpoint in an effort to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Changes include: Passengers scan their boarding pass, separate food for screening, and travelers are encouraged to wear face protection. Please click here for full details of changes.
  • May 14–Hot and cold, grab and go food is now available POST-SECURITY between 7 AM – 5 PM daily. Drink and snack vending machines are also available in the concourse.
  • May 1–Delta Air Lines and American Airlines are both requiring passengers to wear face masks or appropriate face coverings for flights. Delta will implement the use of face coverings on Monday, May 4, 2020, and American will implement their use on Monday, May 11, 2020. Please see links for additional information:
    Delta
    American
  • April 29–Hot and cold grab and go food will be available POST-SECURITY for passengers beginning April 30. Hours will be 7 AM-5 PM on Sun.-Mon and Wed.-Fri., closed on Tues. and Sat. Drink and snack vending machines continue to be available in the concourse for passengers.
  • April 23–Based on the current status of response to the COVID-19 outbreak, CBP Trusted Traveler Program Enrollment Centers will remain closed until at least June 1, 2020. This temporary closure includes all public access to Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, and FAST enrollment locations.  Applicants are encouraged to monitor their e-mail and Trusted Traveler Program account for additional information and/or updates.  CBP will continue to monitor the current public emergency in order to resume enrollment center interviews as soon as possible. CBP’s highest priority is to ensure the health, safety and security of our workforce and the American people.  CBP agents, officers, and mission support personnel will continue to support the whole-of-government response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • April 9–Airlines continue to adjust their schedules on a daily basis. Be sure to contact your airline regarding any changes to your travel plans. Each airline’s process is different and wait times may be long as airlines strive to support passenger needs during this time. Airline contact information can be found under the “Flights” tab to the left.
  • March 27–Tailwind, the restaurant chain serving TRI, is now completely closed until further notice. Drink and snack vending machines are available in the concourse for passengers. 
  • March 23–The post security retail area is closed until further notice. Grab and go food items and non-alcoholic beverages remain available post security.
  • March 23–For the remainder of March, the airlines will be cancelling flights on an as-needed basis each day.  Please be sure to check with your airline prior to any scheduled flights for changes. Click the “Flights” tab on this page for airline contact information and their resources regarding COVID-19.
  • March 23–The Tri-Cities Airport Authority administrative offices are closed to the public at this time.
  • March 20–TRI is beginning to experience flight cancellations due to airline service reductions. Please be sure to check with your airline prior to any scheduled flights for changes. Click the “Flights” tab on this page for airline contact information and their resources regarding COVID-19.
  • March 19–Out of an abundance of caution and in the interest of minimizing exposure and controlling the spread of the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Outbreak, all US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Trusted Traveler Program Enrollment Centers will suspend operations until at least May 1, 2020. This temporary closure includes all public access to Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, and FAST enrollment locations. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your patience through this process.
  • March 18–The Allegiant flights to Orlando/Sanford for Thursday, March 19 and Sunday, March 22 have been cancelled. At this time, there are no further schedule changes; however, airlines are reducing capacity across their systems and further changes could be forthcoming.
  • March 17–Our PRE-SECURITY restaurant will be closed until further notice. Grab and go food, both hot and cold, will still be available POST-SECURITY for passengers.

Updated TRI Airport Cleaning & Operations Practices:

  • The airport terminal building is cleaned regularly and thoroughly every day. Building services staff are taking extra time to sanitize high-touch areas and ensuring soap dispensers remain full. Examples of high-touch areas include, but are not limited to: seating, handrails, elevator buttons, counters, etc.
  • Hand sanitizers are available throughout the terminal.
  • Signs reminding everyone of good hygiene practices will be found in the restrooms.
  • We remain in contact with our service providers including retail, food & beverage, TSA, FAA, airlines and others. We will provide updates if they make changes in their operations.
  • We are working with our County, State, and Federal emergency Management, Public Health, and Organizational partners to monitor and proactively respond to the situation. We are also working with ACI-NA, AAAE, and other airport and industry experts.

All airlines serving TRI have published travel notices. If passengers have questions about current flights, upcoming flights, or fee waivers, they should contact the airline directly. Please be aware, airlines are experiencing a very high volume of calls. It may take time for them to work with passengers in need of flight changes during this time.

Please be aware of and follow the CDC guidelines for staying healthy, applicable for everyday life and travel. These include the following:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Put distance between yourself and other people.
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Properly cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others.

TSA has changed their screening process and travelers should expect to:

Keep possession of their boarding passes. Instead of handing their boarding pass to a TSA officer at the travel document podium, travelers should now place their boarding pass (paper or electronic) on the boarding pass reader themselves. After scanning, travelers should hold their boarding pass toward the TSA officer to allow the officer to visually inspect it. This change reduces the TSA officer’s need to touch a passenger’s boarding pass thus reducing potential for cross-contamination.

Separate food for X-ray screening. Passengers should place their carry-on food items into a clear plastic bag and place that bag into a bin. Food items often trigger an alarm during the screening process; separating the food from the carry-on bag lessens the likelihood that a TSA officer will need to open the carry-on bag and remove the food items for a closer inspection. This requirement allows social distancing, reduces the TSA officer’s need to touch a person’s container of food and reduces potential for cross-contamination. TSA Precheck members do not need to remove items from their bags.

Pack smart. Passengers should take extra care to ensure that they do not have any prohibited items, such as liquids, gels or aerosols in quantities greater than 3.4 ounces, in their carry-on bags (water bottles, shampoo). In response to COVID-19, TSA is allowing one liquid hand sanitizer container, up to 12 ounces per passenger, in carry-on bags. Passengers are required to remove the hand sanitizer from the carry-on bag before being submitted for X-ray screening. If a bag is found to contain a prohibited item, passengers may be directed to return to the divestiture table outside of security with their carry-on bags to remove the item and dispose of the item. The passenger may also be directed back outside of security to remove, items that should have originally been divested (such as laptops, liquids, gels, and aerosols, and large electronics) and resubmit their property for X-ray screening. By resolving alarms in this manner, TSA officers will need to touch the contents inside a carry-on bag much less frequently, reducing the potential for cross-contamination.

Practice social distancing.  Passengers should allow for social distancing to reduce direct contact between employees and travelers whenever possible without compromising security. Noticeable adjustments leading up to the security checkpoint include, increasing the distance between individuals as they enter the security checkpoint, placing visual reminders of appropriate spacing on checkpoint floors and staggering the use of lanes where feasible. No two airports are alike, so this could look a little different at each airport.

Wear facial protection. TSA officers at checkpoints are now using facial protection. Travelers are encouraged to wear face protection to the checkpoint as well. Please note, however, passengers may need to adjust it during the screening process. Travelers are also encouraged to remove items such as belts, and items from their pockets, like wallets, keys and phones, and put them directly into their carry-on bags instead of into the bins to reduce touch-points during the screening process.

Travelers who have not flown since the pandemic are also likely to notice some other changes. They include:

  • Reduced security lane usage due to the reduction in passenger volume.
  • All TSA officers at checkpoints wearing masks and gloves.
  • TSA officers optionally wearing eye protection and clear plastic face shields at some locations.
  • TSA officers will continue the practice of changing gloves after each pat-down.
  • Plastic shielding installed at many travel document checking podiums, divest, bag search and drop off locations.
  • TSA officers practicing social distancing.
  • Routine cleaning and disinfecting of frequently touched surfaces in the screening checkpoint area.

If your driver’s license or state-issued ID expired on or after March 1, 2020, and you are unable to renew at your state driver’s license agency, you may still use it as acceptable identification at the checkpoint. TSA will accept expired driver’s licenses or state-issued ID a year after expiration.  DHS recently announced an extension of time to obtain a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license.  The new deadline is October 1, 2021. Learn more on TSA’s REAL ID webpage.

Travelers are encouraged to arrive at the airport early as COVID-19 has affected staffing and operations across the airport environment. This will allow adequate time for checking bags, completing security screening and getting to the departure gate.

For updates and additional information click here.