Recent news about Ebola and travel safety has raised lots of questions and caused confusion for travelers. The White house announced yesterday that additional screening procedures for Ebola exposure will now be mandatory for any passenger arriving from one of the three West African countries most affected by the recent outbreak.

 

The New Airport Screenings for Ebola: What Travelers Need to Know

It seemed perfect timing for us to share a “Need to Know” list for people who are going to be traveling in the next few weeks:

1. What is changing at the airport?
For the vast majority of travelers, not all that much. At the five major airports where international passengers arrive from Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea TSA agents will screen travelers entering the United States for fevers using no-touch thermometers. They will also interview/survey those passengers who may have been in the countries with a serious Ebola outbreak. For now, the five airports adding the enhanced screenings process 95% of the riskiest international arrivals and include New York (JFK) Newark’s Liberty (EWR), Washington Dulles (IAD), Chicago O’Hare (ORD) and Hartsfield-Jackson in Atlanta (ATL). If you’re traveling domestically, this does not impact you. Flights into New York start screening on Saturday with the other airports following early next week.

2. Should I arrive earlier for my departing flight?
No. Your experience departing the airport, for now, will be the same. Allow yourself the usual amount of time to check bags and to get through security. For domestic flights we still recommend arriving at least 60 minutes before your departure, and 2 hours before departure for international flights.

3. What if I did not travel to these countries but am on a flight with someone who has been? Am I going to be detained?
As of right now, there are no plans to detain any passengers unless they have been in Sierra Leone, Guinea or Liberia.

4. How will the screeners know which passengers to check on incoming flights?
The Homeland Security Deputy Secretary assures U.S. citizens that passengers are tracked back to the origin of their travel. So even if a passenger has made several stops on an itinerary, they will be identified and screened based on their potential Ebola risk upon arrival into the States.

To give you a little further perspective, there are presently about 150 people a day entering the U.S. total who fall into the high risk category.

Travelers on CheapAir with additional questions about Ebola can refer to the Center for Disease Control’s website which has the most comprehensive and up-to-date Ebola information or follow the CDC (@CDCgov) and TSA (@TSA) on Twitter for real-time updates.

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