Saturday 24 October, 2020

Passing through Miami International Airport? What you need to know...

According to Miami International Airport CEO, Lester Sola, the daily traffic moving through one of the most popular airports in the world is at about a quarter of pre-COVID levels.

Last year Miami International Airport had a record number of passengers, reaching 46 million. The total number of passengers per day, on average, was around 115,000-120,000. In comparison, the average traffic per day last week was around 30,000.

"But at one point in March, at the start of the pandemic, we had 3,500 passengers in a day, so you can imagine that drop in an airport that's really built to handle 55 million passengers. It's really a remarkable number," says Sola. "We hit a low point and we had just 44 flights coming out of this airport per day when we're used to doing 1,000 flights a day. We had 44, then we hit 100. Now we’re in the 200s."

It goes without saying that a lot has changed. As with all other airports in the world, Miami International Airport has had to make a lot of operational changes in response to the pandemic.

If you happen to be on board one of the 200-plus airlines that make their way into MIA in the near future, here is what you can expect.

Below is an update on MIA COVID-19 operations. Source: Miami International Airport website

Departures: 

  • Facial coverings are now required by all passengers and visitors inside the MIA terminal, as directed by Miami-Dade County executive order 23-20, and are available for purchase at a growing number of stores at MIA. Following guidelines set by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, this Order requires the use of any facial covering that snugly covers the face and mouth, whether store-bought or homemade, and is secured with ties or ear loops. Examples of compliant home-made masks may be found here. Masks are not be required for children younger than two years old or anyone who has trouble breathing due to a chronic pre-existing condition.
     
  • In response to reduced passenger traffic due to the COVID-19 threat and to maximize the airport’s efficiency, Concourses E , F and G are temporarily closed.
  • All passengers traveling for essential reasons are encouraged to contact their airline to confirm their flight status, because domestic and international flight schedules continue to change. 

  • The Transportation Security Administration is now allowing passengers to pack hand sanitizer bottles up to 12 oz. in their carry-on bag. Bottles more than 3.4 oz. in size may require additional screening, so passengers should allow for extra time

 Arrivals:

  • As directed by an executive order from Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Florida Department of Health staff is asking each passenger arriving on direct flights from New York Tri-State area airports (Connecticut, New Jersey and New York) a series of travel questions and notifying them about the executive order’s direction for them to self-quarantine for 14 days.

  • MIA continues to be one of 13 U.S. airports approved by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to receive flights from the Schengen area of 26 European countries, the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, under a presidential proclamation that permits entry to the U.S. from those countries for U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents only.

  • According to a presidential proclamation effective on May 29, entry to the U.S. from Brazil is only permitted for U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents.
  • Medical personnel contracted by the Department of Homeland Security is asking each passenger from these Level 3 countries a series of health questions and performing random temperature checks before they enter the passport control area.

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to provide additional screening to passengers showing symptoms of a contagious disease, or to any passenger who has traveled to the Level 3 countries of China, Iran or South Korea in the last 14 days.

  • The Concourse E federal inspection facility is closed until further notice, so international passengers will exit Customs at either the Concourse D or Concourse J greeter’s lobby.

  • MIA’s automated passport control and Global Entry kiosks each have anti-microbial surfaces and are being cleaned by MIA staff after every other use.
     
  • Mobile Passport Control via MIA’s mobile app MIA Airport Official is a touchless passport screening option available to valid passport holders.

Concessions: 

  • Some shops and restaurants have modified their hours of operation or have temporarily closed, but concession services remain available for all scheduled flights.  

  • Dining locations and airline lounges are restricted to 50 percent capacity, and social distancing measures have been implemented. 

  • Standalone bars have been closed until further notice.  

  • For a directory of shops and restaurants, hours of operation and closures, visit www.shopmiamiairport.com or follow @ShopsatMIA on Twitter. 

Ground Transportation: 

  • As of March 18, Super Shuttle is no longer operating at MIA.
  • The following ground transportation options remain available to passengers:
    • Ride app pickup zones are located on the Arrivals Level (1) at the middle median outside of doors 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 11, 15, 20 and 23.
    • Taxicabs and Hotel shuttle bus pick-up zones are also located on the Arrivals Level outside of the baggage claim areas.
    • For car rental service or public transportation, follow the purple signs to the MIA Mover, for a two-minute people mover ride.
  • Valet parking service at MIA’s Dolphin and Flamingo garages is suspended indefinitely.
  • All companies at MIA’s Rental Car Center are open, but some are now closed between 11 pm and 5 am. Customers should contact their rental car company directly to confirm hours of operation.

Services and Amenities: 

  • MIA’s Multi-Sensory Room (Concourse D), Plane Fun Children’s Area (Concourse E), Non-denominational Chapel (North Terminal), Military Hospitality Lounge (Concourse E) and Yoga Room (South Terminal) are temporarily closed. 

  • CBP’s Global Entry office (Concourse J) is temporarily closed. 

  • MIA’s Volunteer Ambassador Program has been suspended indefinitely. 

Lounges:

Delta Air Lines and American Airlines have recently reopened their lounges, and with new features to help keep passengers and employees safe.  

The Delta Sky Club at MIA’s South Terminal, located near gate H3 and accessible from concourses H and J, re-opened on July 22. Passengers can expect a “touchless” experience from the moment they step through the doors. American Express Card Members and existing Sky Club members can check-in using the MyWallet in the Fly Delta App.  

Plexiglass partitions have been installed at check-in, in the bar area, and between café tables – making it clear to see the steps they have taken to help stop the spread of germs. Hand sanitizer dispensers can be found throughout the lounge in high-traffic areas and food style buffets now offer grab-and-go options.   

The Sky Club has limited capacity and blocked seats to ensure passengers can practice safe social distancing. Families even have their own seating area, so they can stay together. Floor decal markings can also be found in common areas to remind guests about maintaining extra space.   

The lounge’s high touchpoint areas are constantly being cleaned throughout the day, and all glassware is sanitized using high-temperature industrial dishwashers. In addition, the lounge is cleaned nightly with a high-grade electrostatic spray that seeks out and clings to all surfaces.  

In June, American Airlines also reopened its Admirals Club lounge near gate D30 in MIA’s North Terminal. Before opening its door, the lounge received several to reinforce the well-being of customers and employees.  

Health and well-being improvements can be seen throughout the lounge. Plexiglass shields now welcome passengers at reception and service desks. Signage and floor decals remind customers to practice safe social distancing. Passengers can enjoy pre-packaged snacks and a full-service bar with complementary and premium beverages. AA has even added foot-operated door openers to enable touchless operation of restroom doors. Customers can also find hand sanitizer stations at the lounge. 

With additional airlines scheduling their return to MIA in the coming months, more lounge re-openings may be on the horizon as well. 

Preventive Measures: 

  • All MIA employees are now required to wear facial coverings, as directed by Miami-Dade County executive order 23-2

  • Updated signage to promote the use of masks, social distancing and handwashing has been installed airport-wide at high-traffic areas such as airline ticket counters, elevator doors and TSA checkpoint queue lines.
     
  • Plexiglass shields have been installed at all active TSA checkpoints and airline check-in counters, including plexiglass wall panels surrounding MIA’s busiest checkpoint.
     
  • All TSA security checkpoints have been deep-cleaned and sanitized with hospital-grade cleaning agents, and frequently touched areas are being cleaned and sanitized on an increased schedule.
  • Additional hand sanitizer dispensers have been deployed throughout the airport, and the routine replenishment of hand-sanitizing solution has been increased.  

  • MDAD staff is assisting the airlines and federal agencies with urging passengers to practice social distancing (at least six feet) if they are waiting in a queue line. 

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