Plans to bring back flights are picking up at San Francisco International Airport.
But just because flights to Europe and Japan will resume next month, it doesn’t mean the passenger experience will be anything like it was.
“We are about 96% below what we would normally be this time of year,” said Doug Yakel from SFO.
That will change a bit next month, now that Lufthansa, Swiss and All Nippon Airways say they’ll resume flying to Europe and Japan.
If you haven’t been out here lately, be prepared for major changes like making sure your travel is considered essential, per San Francisco and San Mateo County guidelines.
“Our airport hasn't really opened up to tourism, if you will, and it remains to be seen what the next iteration of health orders brings,” said Yakel.
The airport is not enforcing that rule but face masks and social distancing are required.
Hand sanitizer and plexiglass dividers are everywhere and big changes are expected on board the aircraft too.
“It’s quite scary actually,” said Atonia Sreedar, Air India passenger. “If you touch anything, we need to put on hand sanitizer, wear masks all the time and maintain distance.”
Physical distance is not a problem on nearly empty flights now, but Yakel says summer is coming and fairly crowded flights will return.
Many of these changes are expected to be with us for a while. Industry analysts say it will take three years for travel to return to the way it was pre-pandemic.