Major Safety Measures At Anchorage International: Country Journal Report

We went to the airport a week ago, to see what they're doing about safety measures. And to take photos, so you wouldn't have to wait...

We went to the airport a week ago, to see what they're doing about safety measures. And to take photos, so you wouldn't have to wait until you go there yourself.


There are three ways to get to Alaska from somewhere else -- land, sea and air. This Bearfoot Report addresses some of the advancements happening in safer air travel, both in Alaska and in other parts of the world.

Air travel is the key to reinstating some degree of normalcy to regular life, and to bringing in Outside tourism to Alaska.

Anchorage International Steps Up Sanitizing & Cleaning To Make Air Travel Safer 

Ted Stevens International has gone all-out in addressing the issues of coronavirus. The airport is using commercial grade disinfectants on high-touch surfaces. Its restrooms are disinfected by special crews every shift -- crews that  are solely dedicated to that task. Each part of the terminal is sanitized regularly, including all "high touch" areas floors, vertical surfaces and drinking fountains.

When you go into the airport you'll notice the following:

Self-Cleaning Elevator Buttons 
The buttons have special disinfecting covers. Eland Conway, Airport Communications Manager, told Bearfoot Alaska on October 21st:

"We've done a couple of things with the elevators. All our main elevators were outfitted a month ago with ionizing air purification systems. In addition to our high-touch cleaning teams continuously making rounds wiping things down, our primary elevators in high traffic areas have self-cleaning button covers. The nano-septic button covers use the chemical process of oxidation."

Self-Cleaning Escalator Rails 
The eight escalators that sweep down to baggage claim and lead to the parking rental car garages employ another form of cleaning technology: light. Eland Conway told the Bearfoot:

"At your feet underneath all of the inspection plates and protective covers there are some high intensity LED lights that emit UV-C light. You wouldn't want to look at them. The UV light is not good for your eyes. The handrail is continuously moving, just like the escalator steps. As the handrails continuously revolve they pass through that light where they’re sterilized."

Floors at the airport are cleaned with high capacity cleaners and HEPA filters.

Social Distancing & Customer Protection

Additionally, all employees who come in contact with customers must maintain a social distance of at least six feet. If that's not possible, they must use physical barriers and masks. Restaurants and bars must follow all state mandates for seating arrangements and face masks. Dining surfaces must be sanitized between customers, and all shops at the airport must offer touch less payment.

Travel Tips From The Airport 
The airport says all passengers must wear cloth face covering, wash their hands before and after security screening, carry hand sanitizing liquid (under 12 ounces), arrive at least two hours early to avoid crowding, expect longer security lines, and are urged to use the Cellphone lot.

The airport staff has been working on safety measures for months, said Eland. "We wanted to put the travelers' minds at ease." 

Good News!
United Airlines Has Hopeful Results In
Keeping COVID Out Of Their Planes 
Here's some surprising news. If corroborated by other studies, it looks like air travel might be safer than you think. Which is good to hear as we plan for next summer's tourism season.

In general, people have been worried about the safety of airplanes. To address this issue, United Airlines has been vigorously conducting tests on Boeing planes, simulating flights for as long as 12 hours. The studies use mannequins that "cough." The mannequins throw out traceable aerosols that can be tracked throughout a cabin.

Consistent Mask-Wearing Keeps
Contamination "Low" 
The study was conducted by the Department of Defense. The study said that mask wearing over the entire period of time kept contamination "low." The DOD says that air is changed more frequently on the jets than in a hospital operating room. They said the study showed it took 6 minutes for 99.99% of virus-type particles to be removed from the cabin. The highest risk is to people sitting in the same row as a sick person.

United is elated by the results so far.

Hawaii Opens Air Flights To Thousands 
On October 16th, the first day the "Traveler Testing Program" in Hawaii kicked off, There were thirty incoming flights. The state has waived its 14-day travel quarantine, for Covid-19 tests instead.

Thousands of Hawaii visitors are expected to take advantage of the new program. The state says that around 80% of inbound trans-Pacific passengers are using the test instead of quarantine. The state says it'll start a surveillance program that would randomly again test 10% of the travelers four days after they came onto the islands, to make sure they are still virus-free.

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