Airport prepares for busiest months of travel during pandemic

BOZEMAN-With the Fourth of July weekend coming up, families are deciding on whether to fly or drive to their holiday destinations during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport is taking measures to make sure flying will be as safe as possible for those worried about traveling through the air this summer during a pandemic.

“It will be an enjoyable experience, it’s a fairly empty terminal right now,” Scott Humphrey, the airport’s deputy director said. “It’ll be less stressful as in previous years as people come through here, through the airport, and get on the aircraft.”

The busiest times for the airport come during the July and August summer months.

“In the peak of summer, we generally have 5,000 to 6,000 in and out, we’re looking at about 2,000 to 2,500 folks right now in and out on a busy afternoon,” Humphrey said.

The plan is to condense flight times to eliminate crowding around the airport.

“It is a little strange seeing how empty we are, but the surprising fact is in the next couple of months between the hours of 11 to 1 we’ll be as busy as we were last year,” Humphrey said. “The flights are just condensed so during that time period it will feel like summer of last year but only during that time period.”

Sanitizing stations are placed throughout the airport and airlines have stickers on the ground to remind passengers waiting in lines to keep their distance throughout the airport.

“We’re asking folks when they come here to have their masks ready, they don’t need to have it when they’re going through the checkpoint, but they’ll need to have it inside the terminal and when they ready to board,” Humphrey added.

Delta Air Lines, Alaska Airlines, and United Airlines all have similar but different mask policies along with touchless check-in.

Alaska Airlines announced in a tweet that their flight attendants will issue a “yellow card” to any passenger who refuses to wear a mask. Once issued, the next steps would be to file a report that may result in a passenger being suspended from future flights with the airline.

Humphrey also mentioned that seasonal flight destinations will start to come back later in the summer.

“In August we’ll have about 17 of the 19 destinations that we had last summer, but we won’t have the frequency that we had last year,” Humphrey explained.

The Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport announced on July 1, 2020 that a first ever non-stop flight from Boston to Montana will be operated by JetBlue on Wednesdays and Saturdays in the summer and winter seasons.

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