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TUS Post-COVID-19 Travel Information

Danette Bewley

If you are flying soon, welcome back to Tucson International Airport (TUS)!

Whether you are a Southern Arizonan or a visitor planning to come to our beautiful Sonoran Desert, please know your safety is our primary concern as you consider your decision to fly. That said, this page has been developed to provide you with current information about what to expect as you travel through TUS and on to your flight.

The Tucson Airport Authority, and its employees, as well as the many employees who work for the airlines, airport restaurants and shops, rental car companies, parking lots, ground transportation providers and federal agencies are committed to your safety and well-being.  We want your journey through TUS, a clean and sanitized facility, to be smooth and enjoyable, and for you to choose to fly TUS in the future.

I understand the impacts of the COVID-19 emergency will change how you travel. If your travel plans are for next week, next month or later, we look forward to seeing you and welcoming you back to TUS. In the meantime, stay safe and well.

Danette Bewley
President & CEO
Tucson Airport Authority

Latest Updates – May 26, 2020

  • Future airline schedule summaries are updated for American, Delta and Frontier. (Read more in TUS Airlines Schedules.)
  • With the Memorial Day holiday weekend, TSA is instituting some new procedures to limit person-to-person contact at the checkpoints that include requiring food be put in a clear plastic bag and screened separately, and passengers being asked to step outside the checkpoint area to remove prohibited items from carry-on baggage that has caused an alarm and then to restart the screening process. (Read more in the question about TSA changes in the TUS COVID-19 Travel FAQs)
  • 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passengers arriving from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut to self-quarantine themselves, expired on May 15 and is no longer in effect.
  • Airlines at TUS are requiring passengers and flight crews to wear face coverings starting this month, per CDC guidelines. (Read more in TUS Airlines Schedules.)
  • Airport, TSA and airline employees are required to wear face coverings while on duty.

What to Expect Traveling Through TUS

TUS Cares – At the Airport

Tucson Airport Authority team members and our partners have been working diligently to help ensure your travel experience is as safe as possible. Our custodial crews take pride that their work in the terminal has long been recognized by passengers in our customer service surveys. The TAA is not wavering on those high standards and, in fact, has taken added measures.

The following are some of the TUS Cares measures and precautions:

  • Transparent acrylic shields have been installed at airline check-in, gate podium and baggage claim counters as well as points of transactions counters for rental cars and shops and restaurants.
  • New signage and markers for safe physical distancing are being installed in 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 (self-service kiosks, 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.
  • Airport Parking Shuttles are using new boarding and exiting procedures to reduce potential for contact.
  • Smarte Carte and wheelchairs are being disinfected multiple times throughout the day.

TUS Airlines Schedules

Airlines at TUS are adjusting schedules and flights to/from some nonstop destinations have been suspended. Below is a summary of schedule changes by airline and destination. Click on the airline name for a link to each carrier’s current travel advisory information.

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 – 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 are 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 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), and scheduled to go to 2 daily flights 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 – Nonstop flights are suspended.

Frontier Airlines

  • Denver – Saturdays through June 13 and Thursdays 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 scheduled to increase to 3 flights per day effective June 7.
  • Los Angeles – Nonstop flights suspended. One flight is scheduled on June 21 and 1 daily flight begins effective 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 are scheduled to resume December 17.

United Airlines

  • Chicago O’Hare – Nonstop flights are 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.

Airline Safety Protocols

Airlines at TUS are using enhanced protocols to deep clean aircraft, including electrostatic cleaning and fogging procedures and disinfecting cabins and key touch points – like tray tables, arm rests, seatbelts, buttons, vents, handles and lavatories.

Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that because of how air circulates and is filtered using HEPA filters, most viruses and other germs do not spread easily on aircraft. On average, cabin air is completely refreshed every 3 minutes (compared with every 5 minutes in a typical office building.)

Airlines at TUS are requiring passengers and flight crews to wear face coverings, per CDC guidelines.

Read more about each airline’s enhanced safety protocols below:

Temporary Changes at TUS

In response to changes in passenger demand and following public health guidelines to limit person-to-person contact, the following operational 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 day. 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 on the concourse 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.

TUS Travel FAQs For COVID-19

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. You can check the current status of today’s flights at TUS here.

What should I know about booking 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.

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:

  • Passengers now place their own ID or boarding pass directly on the electronic reader rather than handing it to an officer.
  • 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 must be screened separately.
  • Food is screened separately. Passengers should place carry-on food in a separate clear plastic bag to allow an officer to visually inspect if it triggers an alarm.
  • Baggage alarm may require passengers to start screening process from beginning. To eliminate person-to-person contact, a passenger with a bag that has triggered an alarm for a prohibited item such as a forgotten bottle of water or other liquid, larger-sized hand sanitizer bottle, a laptop or other large electronic item that wasn’t removed, may be directed to do go back outside the checkpoint area to remove the item and either dispose of it or resubmit the property for screening.
  • 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 at TUS has been trained and provided with specific guidance on COVID-19 and is prepared to respond. 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  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. 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 below 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.

COVID-19 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 Info

Use the following links for information about COVID-19:

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