Behind the scenes at TF Green

Guest Written by Joanne Monahan, Director of Travel Sales Centers and Training for AAA Northeast

I had the pleasure of visiting TF Green Airport in Rhode Island for a behind the scenes look at how this popular travel hub is responding to COVID-19. Having departed from this airport for past vacations, I was interested in learning what travelers are currently experiencing as they make their way to the departure dates this holiday season.

Safety and cleanliness are always a focus at TF Green., and I was quick to notice plenty of signage promoting social distancing and mask-wearing. The airport broadcasted consistent announcements reminding passengers to stay 6’ feet apart and to practice social distancing. TSA spent time with us, reviewed the cleaning of the airport bins, and how they are continually cleaned throughout the day and sanitized overnight with electrostatic spraying.  There are enhanced sanitizing protocols throughout the airport, utilizing EPA and CDC approved hospital-grade disinfectants, electrostatic sprayers, and automated cleaning technology to sanitize escalator railings and other high touch areas. TSA has purchased a new technology to check tickets and identification as well. The new ticket document checker will be touchless, where the traveler scans their id and boarding pass, and the TSA agent views and verifies the information on their screen.

Other noticeable approaches to offsetting the pandemic included:

  • An airport provided #PVD cares packet that contains complimentary hand sanitizer, a face covering, alcohol wipes for surfaces, and an information card
  • 2 family rooms are available for nursing mothers- rocking chair and recliner included!
  • Uber and Lift are now allowed to pick up and drop off curbside.

My visit included a focused look at American Airlines and how their gate and flights are responding to COVID-19.

American Airlines cleans the entire gate area after each departure, using similar tactics found throughout the rest of the airport. The biggest changes I noticed came on board the plane. HEPA filters are now placed on all main aircraft and refresh the cabin air every 2-5 minutes. Planes are thoroughly cleaned on every turn. If there is a layover, and some passengers depart and new passengers on board, the airline asks all passengers to depart the plane as staff clean the entire airliner before takeoff. High-touch and public areas like tray tables, seatbelt buckles, armrests, window shades, seatback screens, doors, and overhead bin handles continue to be cleaned before every flight. In-flight service is minimal, as passengers receive a bag filled with water, a snack, and sanitizer when boarding the plane to minimize cabin movement.

As you plan your holiday travels, vacations or retreats, your AAA Travel Advisor can help you develop a travel plan. To speak with your AAA Travel advisor, call 1-800-222-7448. Tell them Joanne sent you!