The initiative will roll out in automated screening lanes at select hubs in Atlanta, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Los Angeles, and both New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and LaGuardia Airport.

By Alison Fox
September 14, 2020
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Delta Air Lines' hubs will now feature new antimicrobial bins at TSA checkpoints in a further effort to assure passengers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The initiative will roll out in automated screening lanes at select hubs in Atlanta, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Los Angeles, and both New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and LaGuardia Airport, Delta announced.

The bins, made of antimicrobial material, “prevent the growth of a broad spectrum of bacteria,” the airline explained. "Travelers can rest assured that their belongings will remain clean and safe as they pass through security."

“We are always looking for opportunities to make the travel experience safer and cleaner,” Mike Medeiros, Delta’s vice president of global cleanliness, told Travel + Leisure on Monday. “Our continued partnership with TSA allows us to innovate current processes and elevate our standards so that every customer feels confident throughout their journey.”

The airline will evaluate whether to expand to other airports in the future.

COVID-19 has fundamentally changed the way people think about both safety and travel and this isn’t the first innovative method to be deployed at TSA checkpoints as a result.

Passengers are now required to scan their own boarding passes at security checkpoints, keep their small personal belongings like phones and keys inside their bags, and can bring larger, 12 oz bottles of hand sanitizer. The agency has also started installing acrylic barriers at checkpoints and is testing self-service facial recognition technology at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

Courtesy of Delta Air Lines

Delta has also doubled down on safety and cleaning efforts by committing to blocking the middle seat until at least 2021 and instituting a strict mask-wearing policy that even bans masks with exhaust valves. The carrier also increased the number of cleaning staff working to disinfect planes between flights and started installing hand sanitizer stations on board, placing them outside bathrooms and by the boarding door.

To protect its staff, Delta partnered with CVS Health to test employees with rapid-response nasal swabs at certain hub crew lounges.

Flying as we once knew it may be radically different, but people are starting to take to the skies once again. The TSA screened more than 900,000 passengers on the Friday before Labor Day, marking the first time the agency saw that many travelers since mid-March.

Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she’s not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.