air travel

MIA, FLL Prepare for Passengers as South Florida Reopens

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South Florida's airports are ghost towns for now. But as businesses start to open next week, that may soon begin to change.  

At Miami International Airport on Thursday, there’s enough space to have your own terminal. Passenger Diana Trias likes it that way.

“Luckily on my flight, everyone was social distancing,” Trias said.

MIA is seeing passengers drop from a bustling 115,000 a day to about 7,500. But the airport says it's using this time wisely. The Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau is running a promo campaign showing the sunshine and tourist spots.  

As South Florida begins to reopen Monday, tourist leaders are hoping those hunkered down in their homes across the U.S. will chose to break out of the COVID-19 blues and visit.

“We're certain that the traffic will come back,” said Lester Sola, the Miami-Dade County Aviation Director. “We have taken aggressive measures to get the airport ready and the flying public ready.“

That involves doing all they can to keep people separated. American Airlines, the largest carrier at MIA, put up a plexiglass wall around one checkpoint. It's marked off every six feet for social distancing. Plexiglass panels are also set up to separate travelers from the airline’s employees. At the kiosk, the floor is also marked away from the person at the front of the line.  

“We believe that we have enough capacity throughout the airport to maintain that social distance at least for the immediate future,” Sola said.

The airport is also getting a thorough, intense scrub down, and the cleaning goes on around the clock.

“There are stations for hand sanitizer, and signs going up everywhere telling you to keep you distance and wear a mask,” Sola said.

Trias, who was on her way back to New Jersey, was happy to see what they are doing.

“I’m glad they are taking the precautions. I want them to take the precautions because there are some people who are not. I would rather be safe than sorry,” she said.

Those flying Frontier and Air Canada beginning June 1 will get a temperature check at check-in. The airlines are requiring facial coverings. American Airlines also said they are doing their best to keep passengers separated on board.  

At the airport in Fort Lauderdale, there are similar steps underway with glass panels going up and markings reminding everyone to be six feet apart.

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