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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information

Updates for Passengers at
Tucson International Airport

august 9, 2020

Latest Updates

  • TUS Cares is the Tucson Airport Authority’s initiative to respond to the changing air travel environment with new safety enhancements and provide passengers with the most up-to-date information for travel through Tucson International Airport (TUS). (Learn more here.)
  • Future airline schedule summaries are updated for American, Delta, Frontier, Southwest and United. (More under TUS Airlines Schedules.)
  • Alaska, American, Delta, Southwest and United airlines require all passengers, except young children, to wear a face covering. There are no exemptions. (Learn more in the FAQ about what airlines are doing for social distancing under COVID-19 Travel FAQs.)
  • Food and retail concessions that have reopened in the terminal are: Beyond Bread on both the A and B concourses, Bruegger’s Bagels and Ink media store on the B concourse and Arroyo Trading Post pre-security on the ticketing level. (More about the airport’s food and retail shops here.)

Tucson International Airport (TUS) is open and is taking additional precautions to help ensure the health safety of passengers, employees and others who use the airport. 

Employees of the Tucson Airport Authority (TAA), airlines, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), food and retail shops, rental car companies, ground transportation providers and other tenants are continuing to report for work each day to fulfill Tucson International Airport’s logistics role transporting passengers and cargo – including vital personnel and supplies during this emergency – and to support the training, air defense and homeland security missions of the 162nd Wing of the Arizona Air National Guard.

The Tucson Airport Authority has developed TUS Cares, a safety initiative in response to COVID-19. To learn more and get the latest information to help you prepare for your your next flight, click on the graphic above.

Jump to these topics:

Your Safety at TUS Airlines Schedules TUS Operational Changes

COVID-19 Travel FAQs Personal Precautions COVID-19 Resources

Everyone entering the terminal at Tucson International Airport (TUS) is required to wear a face covering over their nose and mouth, in accordance with public health recommendations  to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Visitors meeting arriving passengers are encouraged to wait in the Cell Phone Waiting lot and then pick them up at the curb outside Baggage Claim.  However, if you wish to come inside to meet arriving passengers, ensure you are wearing a face covering.

 

Your Safety at TUS

If you are traveling, we want you to know the Tucson Airport Authority’s highest priority is – and always has been – safety and security at its airports, whether it’s on the airfield or for the health and well-being of passengers and employees.

At Tucson International Airport (TUS) our custodial team takes pride in maintaining the airport terminal to the highest standards (which has been recognized by passengers in our annual customer service surveys). The TAA is not wavering on those high standards and, in fact, has taken added measures to help ensure the safety for all who use the airport.

The following are some of the measures and precautions TAA is taking for the safety of passengers and employees.

  • Transparent acrylic shields have been installed at airline check-in counters and departure gates as well as other points of transactions and in restrooms.
  • New signage and markers for safe physical distancing have been installed in queues for airline counters, TSA security checkpoints at gate waiting areas, around baggage claim carousels and in the rental car center.
  • Cloth face coverings are being worn by employees of the TAA, TSA and airlines to reduce the potential spread of COVID-19.
  • Restrooms are being monitored and cleaned multiple times throughout the day. All restrooms are disinfected overnight using specialized sanitation machines. (Fixtures – faucets, soap and paper towel dispensers, toilets – use touchless activation.
  • “High-touch” areas (handrails, armrests, etc.) are cleaned multiple times throughout the day using EPA-approved disinfectants designed to kill bacteria/viruses within 5 minutes of application.
  • Gate waiting areas are disinfected overnight.
  • More instant hand sanitizer dispensers have been added throughout the terminal.
  • Extra soap, the preferred method for washing hands, is maintained in restrooms, especially near food service areas.
  • Traditional drinking fountains are out of service and paper cup dispensers are now available next to water bottle filling stations on the concourses.
  • Deep cleaning of surfaces has been done throughout the terminal.

TUS Airlines Schedules

There are no travel restrictions to or from any nonstop destination served by airlines at Tucson International Airport (TUS) but COVID-19 concerns have impacted air service and airlines are adjusting their schedules. See the status of today’s flights at TUS here.

All airlines at TUS require passengers and flight crews to wear face coverings over the nose and mouth per CDC guidelines and have stepped up enforcement of the requirement. Alaska, American, Delta, Southwest and United airlines no longer exempt passengers who are unable to wear face covering. Delta and United have established pre-flight requirements for passengers who believe they have conditions that prevent them from wearing a face covering. American and Southwest do not have such provisions and say they cannot transport passengers who are unable to wear a face covering.

Frontier Airlines is also conducting temperature screenings of passengers and flight crews using touchless thermometers. Only those with a temperature reading below 100.4° Fahrenheit are allowed to board. If time permits before flight departure, passengers who have an initial temperature reading that is high can rest for a few minutes before having their temperature taken a second time.

Airlines are adjusting boarding to maintain social distancing by calling smaller groups or by specific seat assignments. Passengers are asked to stay clear of the gate until being called to board.

Below is a summary of schedule changes at TUS by airline and destination. The TAA updates this as we learn of changes so please check back and understand it is subject to change.

(Click on airline name to see information from that airline regarding COVID-19.)

Alaska Airlines

  • Portland, Oregon – Nonstop flights are scheduled to resume October 8.
  • Seattle – Reduced to 1 flight per day.

Allegiant Air

  • Bellingham, Washington – Flights are suspended.
  • Indianapolis – Seasonal flights have ended.
  • Las Vegas – Fridays and Sundays through August 16.
  • Provo – Mondays and Fridays through August 17.

American Airlines

  • Chicago O’Hare – Thursdays-Sundays, resumes September 10.
  • Dallas/Fort Worth – Reduced to 5 flights on Sundays, Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays; and 4 flights on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
  • Los Angeles – Scheduled to resume October 7.
  • Phoenix – Reduced to 3 flights per day.

Delta Air Lines

  • Atlanta – Reduced to 1 flight per day.
  • Los Angeles – Reduced to 1 flight per day.
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul – Flights are scheduled to resume November 1.
  • Salt Lake City – 3 flights per day.
  • Seattle – Nonstop flights are suspended.

Frontier Airlines

  • Denver – Weekly flights on Saturdays through October 3.

Southwest Airlines

  • Chicago Midway – 1 flight per per day; suspended September 7-October 6.
  • Denver – 3 flights per day; reduced to 2 flights per day, September 7-October 6..
  • Las Vegas – 3 flights on Sundays, Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays; reduced to 2 flights on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays; reduced to 2 flights each day September 7-October 6.
  • Los Angeles – Reduced to 1 flight per day; suspended September 7-October 6.
  • San Diego – 2 flights Mondays-Fridays, 1 flight Saturdays and 3 flights Sundays; resumes October 8.
  • San Jose – Sundays; resumes October 11.

Sun Country Airlines

  • Minneapolis-St. Paul – Flights are scheduled to resume December 17 on Thursdays and Sundays, plus Tuesdays, December 22 and 29.

United Airlines

  • Chicago O’Hare – Nonstop flights scheduled to resume October 1.
  • Denver – Reduced to 1 flight per day, returns to 2 flights per day effective September 8.
  • Houston – Reduced to 1 flight per day.
  • San Francisco – Reduced to 2 flights per day.

For future planning, check the current flight schedules to or from Tucson and any destination using the Plan Your Flight tool here.

TUS Temporary Operational Changes

As more passengers return to TUS some of the services in the terminal that were closed or limited when passenger demand declined are beginning to reopen and expand hours. There will continue to be an emphasis on limiting person-to-person contact and maintaining safe social distancing, as recommended by public health guidelines.

  • Food concessions are reopening in the terminal. More information is here.
    • A Gates (Frontier, Southwest, Sun Country and United airlines) – Beyond Bread is open 6 a.m.-2 p.m. and Sir Veza’s Taco Garage opens 90 minutes before the first departure of the morning and closes with the final departure of the day. Dunkin’ Donuts is planning to reopen July 29.
    • B Gates (Alaska, American and Delta airlines) – Beyond Bread is open 6 a.m.-2 p.m., Bruegger’s Bagels opens 90 minutes before the first departure of the morning to 12 noon and El Charro Café is open 6 a.m.-final departure.
    • C Gates (Allegiant Air) – Market Express is open preceding each scheduled departure.
  • Retail shops that have reopened in the terminal:
    • Pre-security, ticketing level of the main terminal: Arroyo Trading Post is open 6 a.m.-6 p.m. daily.
    • A Gates (post security): Gates Pass by Hudson opens 90 minutes before the first departure of the day and closes with the final departure.
    • B Gates (post security): Ft. Lowell by Hudson opens 90 minutes before the first flight departure of the day and closes with the final departure, and Ink media store is open 5:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Learn more here.
  • The U.S. Customs and Border Protection Global Entry Enrollment Center at TUS will remain closed until at least September 8. Appointments can be made for future dates. Applicants now have 545 days (18 months) from the date they received conditional approval to complete the enrollment process due to the centers being closed since March 19.
  • Face coverings worn over the nose and mouth are required by anyone entering the TUS terminal. This includes the main passenger terminal, the C Gates building, the Rental Car Center and TAA parking facilities, including the shuttles and exit booth lanes. The executive order is in effect until further notice. Read the news release here. Read the executive order here.
  • American Airlines curbside bag check is suspended until further notice. (Southwest is the only airline at TUS currently offering curbside bag check.)
  • The Military Lounge is closed. A reopening date has not been determined.
  • Passenger assistance provided by TUS Airport Ambassadors is suspended until further notice.
  • The Airport Lost & Found office is closed to the public but personnel can contacted by phone at (520) 573-8156 during business hours. More information is here.
  • The Tucson Airport Authority Administration Offices are closed to visitors. Employees can be reached by email or phone during business hours, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Mondays-Fridays, except for holidays. The main phone number is (520) 573-8100.
  • Rentals of meeting rooms in the terminal are temporarily suspended.

COVID-19 Travel FAQs

What should I do if I have a flight in the next 24 hours?

Generally, do as you always would have done. Check-in for your flight remotely if you can and have your boarding passes either on your mobile device or printed when you arrive at the airport to reduce person-to-person contact. (It is still possible to check-in at the airport, if necessary.) Bring a cloth face covering to wear. When you arrive at TUS you will see we have added signs and floor markers as reminders to practice safe distancing, especially in queues for airline counters and TSA checkpoints. You can check the current status of today’s flights at TUS here.

What about future flights?

Airlines have adjusted schedules to remove some flights. If you are booking a future flight, you will not be able to buy a ticket on a flight that has been removed from the schedule (in some cases a removed flight may appear on the schedule but will show as “unavailable” or “sold out”). If you previously booked a flight that has since been taken off the schedule, your airline should contact you by your preferred contact method (email or text) with an alternate booking, which you may be able to change to another flight, receive a credit for a future flight, or receive a refund. You can check future airline schedules at TUS using the Plan Your Flight tool here.

I'm worried about booking a flight, what if something happens to me?

Airlines at TUS that normally charge a fee to change a reservation have temporarily relaxed rules on new purchases of non-refundable discount tickets allowing you to change your plans and apply the value to another flight in the future. Passengers would pay any difference if the new fare is higher. Specifics differ among airlines and apply to only tickets purchased directly from the airline providing the service. Tickets purchased through a third-party such as online service, a travel agent or another airline may have different fee policies. In all cases, passengers must notify airlines before the original flight is scheduled to depart.

Below are the temporary change policies currently in for the airlines at TUS. Other waivers may apply for tickets purchased before July 1. (Click on the airline name to read more about its policies):

  • Alaska Airlines – Most new tickets purchased by September 8 for travel through August 8, 2021, can be changed or cancelled with no fee and the value applied to  a ticket on a future flight within one year of the original travel date. Tickets purchased using Super Saver fares cannot be changed but the reservation can be cancelled to receive a credit certificate that can be used on a future flight.
  • Allegiant Air – No fee for a one-time change on the purchase of new tickets with the value applied to another flight within one year of the date of original purchase.
  • American Airlines – Change fees are waived on tickets purchased for all summer flights scheduled through September 30, 2020. Change fees are also waived on new bookings made through September 8. In either case, the new flight must be completed by December 31, 2021.
  • Delta Air Lines – New tickets purchased through August 31 can be changed or cancelled at no fee with the value applied to another flight within two years from the original purchase date.
  • Frontier Airlines – Frontier’s regular policy allows for free changes 60 or more days prior to departure. There is a $79 fee for changes made 14-59 days prior to departure and a $119 fee for changes made 13 days or less prior to departure, including same-day changes. Another option at Frontier is to buy a bundled package called “The Works.” It must be purchased as part of the initial booking and includes both a checked bag and a carry-on bag, seat selection, priority boarding, flexibility to change flights as well as the ability to get a refund if you cancel.
  • Southwest Airlines – Does not charge change fees and offers credit for flights changed or cancelled at least 10 minutes prior to scheduled departure. Credits for flights originally planned for March 1-September 7, 2020, are good through September 7, 2022.
  • United Airlines – New tickets purchased through August 31 can be cancelled or changed without a fee with the credit applied to a future flight up to 12 months from the date the original ticket was issued. United is not issuing additional credits if the new fare is lower than the original ticket.

Is TSA doing anything differently at the security checkpoints?

Yes, there are several changes intended to protect employees and passengers. Significant temporary changes for passengers are that hand sanitizer containers up to 12 ounces and food in a clear plastic bag are now permitted to go through security as carry-on items but they must be removed from other bags and screened separately. Read more about other TSA changes on the TUS security page here.

Are there health screenings for passengers at the airport?

Not at the present time. The Tucson Airport Authority’s Emergency Medical Services team has been trained and provided with specific guidance on COVID-19 and is prepared to respond to emergencies at TUS. Flight crews and airport personnel are required to contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) if an individual is sick with specific symptoms.

There is considerable debate over conducting temperature checks of passengers. The CDC says temperature screenings at airports were ineffective in the early months of COVID-19’s spread into the United States when the agency conducted checks of more than 30,000 individuals at 11 airports but failed to detect a single case of the virus.
Airlines, however, are supporting a proposal for the TSA to administer temperature checks. This is an evolving situation and could change.

At TUS, Frontier Airlines has implemented its own temperature screenings of passengers and flight crews before boarding, using touchless thermometers. Only those with a temperature reading below 100.4° Fahrenheit are allowed to board.

Should I arrive earlier than normal for my flight?

Not in most cases. However, anyone with a health condition that prevents them from wearing a face covering may be required to come to the airport earlier than normal.  Otherwise the impacts of COVID-19 measures have had minimal impact on the time it takes to check-in and go through TSA security. As of now, arriving 90 minutes ahead of departure at TUS should still be good.

What is the risk of getting COVID-19 on an airplane?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says “Because of how air circulates and is filtered on airplanes, most viruses and other germs do not spread easily. Although the risk of infection on an airplane is low, try to avoid contact with sick passengers, avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands, and wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.”

Modern airliners use High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters that remove 99.97% of particles and, on average, completely refresh cabin air every 3 minutes (compared with every 5 minutes in a typical office building).

Additionally, all airlines at TUS have enhanced cleaning procedures of aircraft using EPA-approved disinfectants that are effective against viruses. Airlines are disinfecting “high touch” areas between flights and conducting deep cleaning of each aircraft at least once a day.

What are airlines doing about social distancing on the plane?

This is where it gets difficult. To offer the low fares customers have come to expect, airlines rely on being able to sell as many seats on a flight as possible to spread out the costs. But to help assure passengers during the COVID-19 emergency, airlines are making adjustments to try to help social distancing. The success of these efforts cannot be guaranteed, which is why airlines are requiring passengers to wear face coverings.

The following is a rundown of the measures implemented by the airlines at TUS:

  • Alaska Airlines – Is limiting ticket sales and blocking seats on flights through September 30. Families who wish to be seated together using a blocked seat can request to do so. Face coverings are required for passengers over the age of 12. There are no exemptions and those who refuse to comply will be issued a warning that could result in being barred from future flights. Passengers are also required to complete a health agreement at check-in.
  • Allegiant Air – Is not limiting capacity. Crew members may reseat passengers to provide additional distancing when aircraft capacity gets above 65%. Passengers may request to be notified if their flight exceeds 65% capacity so they can evaluate alternate travel options. Passengers are being offered a personal safety kit upon boarding that includes a single-use face mask and sanitizing wipes. Allegiant has made it mandatory for passengers to wear a face covering.
  • American Airlines – requires all passengers, except those under 2 years of age, to wear a face covering from the time they enter their departing airport, through the flight to the time they leave their destination airport. For the safety of all passengers, there are no exemptions to wearing a face covering. On board, American is not limiting capacity but on flights through September 30 where at least 70% of passengers have checked in, there will be an opportunity for passengers to change to another flight at no additional charge. Passengers may also change seats after boarding is complete to achieve better distancing. Passengers are also required to complete a coronavirus symptom checklist at check-in.
  • Delta Air Lines – Delta is limiting capacity to 60% of the main cabin and 50% of first class on flights through September 30. Middle seats are blocked on larger aircraft and some aisle seats are blocked on smaller aircraft. Wearing a cloth face covering is required (plastic face shields and masks with an exhaust valve are not acceptable substitutes). Passengers with a health condition they believe prevents them from wearing a face covering are asked to reconsider their decision to fly or they will be required to undergo a private “Clearance to Fly” medical phone consultation with a representative of STAT-MD. The private virtual consultation is facilitated by Delta as part of the flight check-in process and requires passengers to arrive at the airport an hour earlier than normal to complete the process. Children under the age of 2 and unaccompanied minors remain exempt from the face mask requirement.
  • Frontier Airlines – Is blocking middle seats up to 12% of aircraft capacity on flights through August 31 and making the adjacent seats available for purchase. Face coverings are required to be worn except by small children. Frontier also requires passengers to complete a health acknowledgement form and conducts temperature checks of passengers and crew members. Only those with a temperature reading below 100.4° Fahrenheit will be allowed to board.
  • Southwest Airlines – Through at least October 31, Southwest is limiting the number of tickets sold on each flight to allow for the middle seat to remain open. It is still maintaining its open seating policy and will allow families traveling together to use the middle seat. Southwest requires passengers to wear a face covering over their nose and mouth and cannot accommodate those who are unable to wear one. The only exemption is for children under the age of 2. At check-in passengers must complete a health declaration form.
  • Sun Country Airlines – Is not limiting capacity but is blocking middle seats during reservations. It is possible for middle seats to be assigned at the airport. Families traveling together who wish to use a middle seat may request to do so. As part of the booking process, passengers are advised they will be required to complete a pre-travel health assessment at check-in that includes acknowledging of the requirement to wear a face covering. Passengers who cannot confirm that must contract Sun Country.
  • United Airlines – Is not limiting capacity, but United has taken a firm stand requiring passengers to complete a “Ready to Fly” health checklist and wear a face covering. The requirement now extends from the time a passenger enters their departing airport, through the flight to the time they exit their destination airport. Passengers who believe they have extraordinary circumstances that prevent them from wearing a face covering must reach out to United in advance to see if they can be accepted to fly. An exemption remains in effect for children 2 and younger.

Do I have to quarantine after traveling?

Arizona currently does not require arriving passengers to quarantine. However, 10 states and two cities have issued mandatory quarantine requirements, including some that specifically include arrivals from Arizona. Four states accept proof of a negative result from a test taken within 72 hours of arrival as an option to avoid quarantine. As of August 11, Alaska will require the test.

The following states require quarantine of arrivals, including those from Arizona, (click on state for information): ConnecticutNew Jersey, New Mexico, New York and Vermont. There are other states with quarantine requirements but they do not apply to arrivals from Arizona.

The following states have options to avoid quarantine with proof of a negative result from a PCR or viral test taken within 72 hours of arrival: Hawaii (effective September 1), MaineMassachusetts and Rhode Island. As of August 11, Alaska will require proof of a negative test result upon entry into the state.

The two U.S. cities that have imposed quarantine orders are Chicago, where it is in effect only inside the city limits and does not apply to passengers making connections at Midway or O’Hare airports, and  Washington, D.C., where it does not apply to people doing essential business, including government business activities.

Aside from quarantine orders, travelers should check for other local restrictions that may limit activities at their destination.

Personal Precautions

The following precautions from health officials have been shared with TAA employees and is considered recommended advice for all:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. (Alternatively, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.)
  • Practice safe social distancing, keeping 6 feet of distance from unknown individuals.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a disinfectant cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Seek medical care if you have:
    • A persistent temperature elevation despite using fever reducing medication
    • A sustained dry cough
    • Difficulty catching your breath

COVID-19 Resources

Local, state and national resources for information about COVID-19 is available through these links:

Tucson area information: Pima County Health Department 

Arizona’s Response: Arizona Department of Health Services

National information: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 

Source for checking rumors: Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Rumor Control

 

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Tucson International Airport
7250 South Tucson Boulevard
Tucson, AZ 85756
(520) 573-8100