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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information

Updates for Passengers at
Tucson International Airport

may 26, 2020

Latest Updates

  • TUS Cares is the Tucson Airport Authority’s initiative to respond to the changing air travel environment and to provide TUS passengers with the latest information. Find more here.
  • Future airline schedule summaries are updated for American, Delta and Frontier. (Read more below under TUS Airlines Schedules.)
  • Arizona’s stay-at-home order, including a requirement for passengers arriving from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut to self-quarantine themselves, expired on May 15 and is no longer in effect.
  • The U.S. Department of Transportation has issued a second notice to airlines and answers some FAQs about getting refunds. (Read more below in the answer to “What if I want a refund on my airline ticket?” under COVID-19 Travel FAQs)
  • Airlines at TUS are requiring passengers and flight crews to wear face coverings starting this month, per CDC guidelines. (Read more below under TUS Airlines Schedules.)
  • Airport, TSA and airline employees are required to wear face coverings while on duty.

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.

Although the airport is open, do not travel if you are sick.

With the expiration of Arizona’s stay-at-home order, Governor Doug Ducey and state leaders are providing guidance to allow for the safety of all as businesses reopen. Learn more here.

 

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 are being installed at airline check-in counters and departure gates as well as other points of transactions.
  • New signage and markers for safe physical distancing are being installed in areas such as airline and security checkpoint queues, 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 – are touchless operated.
  • “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 being taken out of service and paper cup dispensers are being installed next to water bottle filling stations on the concourses.
  • HVAC systems have been cleaned and sanitized and are equipped with HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters.
  • 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 severely impacted air service and airlines are adjusting their schedules. See the status of today’s flights at TUS here.

Airlines at TUS are requiring passengers and flight crews to wear face coverings, per CDC guidelines. The requirement is in effect for passengers of Alaska, American, Delta, Frontier, Southwest and United airlines. By June 1, Allegiant Air will provide a complimentary health and safety kit to passengers upon boarding that includes a single-use face mask, disposable gloves (non-latex) and two sanitizing wipes. Other airlines are asking passengers to wear their own face coverings but say they are planning to have supplies for passengers who don’t have their own. Each airline has exemptions for children and others who are unable to wear a face covering.

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 scheduled to resume October 8.
  • Seattle – Reduced to 1 flight per day.

Allegiant Air

  • Bellingham, Washington – Flights are suspended.
  • Indianapolis – Seasonal flights have ended early.
  • Las Vegas – Friday and Sunday flights start June 5.
  • Phoenix-Mesa – Flights on May 31 and June 5.
  • Provo – Flights resume Mondays and Fridays effective June 1.

American Airlines

  • Chicago O’Hare – Nonstop flights reduced to 1 per day on Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays (no flights on Tuesdays and Saturdays); with 1 flight on Tuesdays scheduled to be added effective June 9.
  • Dallas-Fort Worth – Schedule is reduced to 1-4 flights (varies) per day.
  • Los Angeles – Nonstop flights are suspended and currently scheduled to resume with 2 daily flights effective July 7.
  • Phoenix – Schedule is reduced to 2 flights on Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays (no flights on Tuesdays and Saturdays), but is scheduled to go to 2 flights each day as of June 3.

Delta Air Lines

  • Atlanta – Nonstop flights are scheduled to resume July 2.
  • Los Angeles – Reduced to 1 flight per day.
  • Minneapolis/St. Paul – Flights are scheduled to resume November 1.
  • Salt Lake City – Reduced to 2 flights per day and scheduled to increase to 3 flights per day effective June 8.
  • Seattle – Seasonal flights have ended.

Frontier Airlines

  • Denver – Saturdays through June 13 and Thursdays, May 21, June 18 and 25.

Southwest Airlines

  • Chicago Midway – 1 flight per per day.
  • Denver – Reduced to 1 daily flight and scheduled to increase to 3 flights per day effective June 7.
  • Las Vegas – Reduced to 1 daily flight and on June 7 scheduled to increase to 3 flights on Sundays, Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays and 2 flights the remaining days of the week.
  • Los Angeles – Nonstop flights suspended. One flight is scheduled on June 21 and 1 daily flight begins June 28 with a second daily flight to be added August 9.
  • San Diego – Nonstop flights suspended and currently scheduled to resume August 9.
  • San Jose – Nonstop flights suspended and currently scheduled to resume August 16.

Sun Country Airlines

  • Minneapolis/St. Paul – Flights scheduled to resume December 17.

United Airlines

  • Chicago O’Hare – Nonstop flights scheduled to resume July 7.
  • Denver – Reduced to 2 flights per day.
  • 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 Trip tool here.

Other Changes at TUS

In response to reduced passenger activity and public health recommendations to limit person-to-person contact, the following temporary changes have been implemented at TUS:

  • All food concessions in the terminal are closed except Sir Veza’s Taco Garage on the A concourse (Frontier, Southwest, Sun Country and United airlines) and El Charro Café on the B concourse (Alaska, American and Delta airlines), both of which open 90 minutes before the first departure of the day on the concourse and close with the final departure of the night. More information can be found here.
  • Two retail stores remain open in the terminal. Gates Pass By Hudson, on the A concourse, and Ft. Lowell by Hudson, on the B concourse, open 90 minutes before the first flight departure of the day and close with the final departure. More information is here.
  • American Airlines curbside bag check is suspended until further notice. (Southwest is the only airline at TUS currently offering curbside bag check.)
  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection Global Entry Enrollment Center is closed until June 1.
  • The Military Lounge is closed as a result of the Department of Defense prohibiting most travel through June 30. (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 can be reached 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.

COVID-19 Travel FAQs

Should I be concerned if I'm traveling soon?

TUS is open and its airline partners are continuing to operate but with dramatically reduced flight schedules. While this means fewer scheduled flights are being cancelled on short notice, it can still happen. Your airline should contact you regarding your flight’s status via email or text message. If you need to find that information, it’s best to use the airline’s website or app. Phone reservations systems are being overwhelmed resulting in extraordinarily long wait times so airlines are asking that only passengers traveling within the next 72 hours call. You can also check the current status of today’s flights at TUS here.

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. (It is still possible to check-in at the airport, if necessary.) Bring a cloth face covering to wear when safe physical distancing is difficult to maintain. Once you arrive at TUS you will see we have added signs as reminders to practice safe distancing, especially in queues for airline counters and TSA checkpoints. (That is easier to do as the number of passengers these days has dropped to about 10% of normal.) You can check the current status of today’s flights at TUS here.

What about future flights?

Airlines are adjusting their schedules to remove 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 out of 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 Trip tool here.

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

All airlines at TUS that normally charge a fee to change a reservation have temporarily relaxed the rules on new purchases of non-refundable discount tickets allowing you to change your plans and apply the value of the ticket to another flight in the future. The specifics differ among airlines. You can find your airline’s rules and deadlines by clicking the airline’s name in the TUS Airlines Schedules summaries above. Remember too that Southwest Airlines has never charged change fees and has extended the deadline to use most flight credits to September 7, 2022. Passengers who change their flights and use credits pay any difference if the new flight has a higher fare or receive an additional credit if the new flight has a lower fare.

I already purchased my ticket, can I change it?

Yes, airlines are now waiving change fees on non-refundable tickets purchased prior to March for a domestic flight that was scheduled to be taken by the end of May. The value of the ticket can be applied to another flight in the future. You can find your airline’s rules and deadlines by clicking the airline names in the TUS Airlines Schedules summaries above.

What if I want a refund on my airline ticket?

While airlines are waiving change fees, the non-refundable part of discounted non-refundable fares has not changed. However, U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) rules say if a flight is cancelled and you choose to cancel your trip as a result, you are entitled to a refund back to your original form of payment for the unused transportation, even on non-refundable tickets. You are also entitled to a refund for fees paid for such things as checked baggage and seat assignments.

The DOT has issued an enforcement notice (read it here) reminding airlines they need to refund passengers in the event that their flights are cancelled, or there are significant schedule changes that are unacceptable to the passenger. The DOT noted that because this is an unprecedented situation, it will exercise enforcement discretion, and will give airlines the opportunity to become compliant before taking further action.

On May 12, the DOT issued a second notice to airlines, along with responses to some specific questions. Read the notice here.

In “normal” times when a flight is cancelled, passengers usually want to be re-booked on to the next available flight and that’s what airlines are continuing to do. In most case if the airline can still get you to your destination without a “significant” delay, as defined in each airline’s Contract of Carriage (called Conditions of Carriage by American Airlines) you would not qualify for a refund.

The bottom line is, if you want the peace of mind that you will get a refund if you choose to cancel your trip for any reason, buy a non-discounted refundable fare but those tickets can be expensive.

 

Is TSA doing anything differently at the security checkpoints?

The TSA is requiring its employees to wear face coverings while on duty and has implemented temporary measures for passengers going through airport security:

  • Liquid hand sanitizer containers up to 12 ounces are permitted in carry-on bags but because they are larger than the standard allowance of 3.4 ounces of liquids they will be screened separately, which will add time to the screening process.
  • State-issued driver’s licenses or IDs that expired March 1, 2020, or later will continue to be accepted identification for up to one year at the checkpoint. (Separately, to limit in-person visits to motor vehicle offices, Arizona has extended the expiration dates for Driver Licenses expiring March 1 or later for an additional six months; meaning a license that expired on April 16, 2020, for example, now expires on October 16, 2020.)
  • Travelers wearing face coverings will be asked to move them briefly to allow the TSA officer to verify identity.

To reduce the amount of touching, passengers are asked to secure personal items normally carried in their pockets (phone, wallet, keys, coins, etc.) in the carry-on they put though the X-ray system rather than putting them loosely in a bin.

Otherwise, the following precautions remain in effect at TSA checkpoints:

  • Disinfectant sprays that are flammable are prohibited in either carry-on or checked bags. (TSA has a “What Can I Bring?” tool here.)
  • There are no restrictions on bringing disinfectant wipes through security.
  • Passengers may request TSA officers use new gloves during the screening process. Officers are directed to use a fresh swab for each passenger when testing for explosive material.

The TSA has updated information about its response to the coronavirus here.

Should I wear a face mask at the airport?

Yes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as of April 3 changed its advice and now recommends wearing “simple cloth face coverings” for situations where social distancing of 6 feet is difficult to maintain. The CDC says the change is prompted by indications that “a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms (asymptomatic) and that even those who eventually develop symptoms (pre-symptomatic) can transmit the virus to others.” In other words, any of us could be carriers of COVID-19 and wearing a face covering may help prevent us from transmitting it to others. Maintaining safe distances is the most important safeguard but if you find yourself unable to do that, you can take some comfort if others around you are wearing face coverings. To demonstrate its commitment to the safety of passengers and employees, the Tucson Airport Authority, the TSA and airlines now have requirements for employees to wear cloth face coverings over their nose and mouth. (Please know that it remains TAA policy for employees who know they are sick to remain home.)

Airlines at TUS are also requiring passengers to wear face coverings. The requirement is in effect for passengers on Alaska, American, Delta, Frontier, Southwest and United airlines. Airlines are asking passengers to bring and wear their own face coverings but say they are planning to have limited supplies for passengers who don’t have their own. By June 1, Allegiant Air says it will provide a complimentary health and safety kit to passengers upon boarding that includes a single-use face mask, disposable gloves (non-latex) and two sanitizing wipes.

While going through the TSA Security checkpoints passengers will be asked to briefly move face coverings to allow the officer to verify identity.

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 is prepared to respond to COVID-19 and other health 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 significant debate about conducting temperature checks of passengers and flight crews. The CDC says temperature screenings at airports were ineffective in preventing the spread of COVID-19 in the early months of its spread into the United States when they failed to detect a single case of the virus after the agency conducted checks of more than 30,000 individuals at 11 airports.

Airlines, however, are supporting a proposal for the TSA to administer temperature checks. At TUS, Frontier Airlines has announced it will implement its own temperature screenings for passengers and employees, effective June 1. Only those with a temperature reading lower than 100.4° Fahrenheit will be allowed to board.

This is an evolving situation and could change.

Should I arrive earlier than normal for my flight?

So far the impacts of measures instituted regarding COVID-19 have not increased the time it takes to check in and go through TSA security, but that also has to do with there being fewer passengers. 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.

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 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