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man wearing mask to protect against covid-19 coronavirus sits in airport gate

The Rule TSA Is Changing Because of COVID-19

I’m sure you’ve all seen the insane immigration lines at the screening 13 airports where passengers waited hours in cattle-like lines, which definitely didn’t follow today’s protocol of social distancing. If I was scheduled to fly home, I would probably wait a few days until airports worked this chaos out.

If you’re considering canceling or still need to fly, here’s one rule TSA is changing, and another thing to consider:

1. If you have to fly, TSA has loosened liquid restrictions for hand sanitizer:

Per the TSA website, “TSA is allowing passengers to bring liquid hand sanitizer containers up to 12 ounces to be permitted in carry-on bags until further notice. Passengers can expect that these containers larger than the standard allowance of 3.4 ounces of liquids permitted through a checkpoint will need to be screened separately, which will add some time to their checkpoint screening experience. Please keep in mind that all other liquids, gels and aerosols brought to a checkpoint continue to be allowed at the limit of 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters carried in a one quart-size bag.”

2. If you’re trying to cancel a future flight, hold off:

More importantly (as hopefully most people aren’t flying unless they truly have to), if you’re trying to cancel a flight and it’s not in the next couple of days, don’t call the airlines. They’re swamped with people scrambling to get home from Europe. Instead, wait a few days if you can. Many airlines are even accepting cancelations online. American Airlines, for example, just posted this on its website:

“Our phones are busy. We understand it’s frustrating to wait, but if you’re not traveling in the next 72 hours, please wait until closer to your trip to call. You can cancel your flight online now and call any time before December 31, 2020 to rebook. Please contact your travel agent for help if you didn’t book directly with us.”

Hawaiian Airlines shared a similar message in an email and on its website: “Due to the high call volumes we’re experiencing, we ask that you please refrain from calling us unless you are traveling within the next 72 hours so that we may focus on guests with the most immediate travel needs. For guests who would like to only cancel their flights and are traveling between March 1 – April 30, 2020, you may do so by completing” a form online at”

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