PS Airport operates under CDC guidelines


Photo courtesy of Getty Images. A Delta airplane getting ready for takeoff at Palm Springs International Airpot.

Trisha Valdez, Staff Reporter

During the early stages of COVID-19, most airline flights were canceled or only allowed for essential travel.

According to Vox, “By the second week of April, the number of scheduled flights in the U.S. was down by 58 percent compared to the same week last year, and flight capacity is expected to decrease as fewer people travel.”

Non-essential travel was discouraged by airlines, which meant fewer people came to the airport, which meant certain staff members laid off jobs.

Samuel Estrada, a Sierra Aviation Group representative, was one of the few laid-off people. “I was laid off due to COVID-19, and it had an effect on me economically above anything else. Social interactions for everyday life also took a hit, but economically is what affected me the most,” Estrada said.

Travel has now begun to open, which also brought back jobs for airline workers. Although jobs have been brought back, there have been changes made according to American Airlines.

“There are no more change fees for first, business economy and main cabin tickets for all long-haul international flights originating in North or South America for tickets issued on or after Nov. 19, 2020. They will also be eliminating change fees for all domestic and short-haul international tickets issued on or after Aug 31, 2020,” said American Airlines.

The Palm Springs International Airport is committed to making sure their guests and staff are safe during operations. Christopher del Rosario is the operations manager at the airport. He said, “With the type of service we provide, I would say that our employees are our most important resource. Because of this, we depend on their best well-being. We provide a constant supply of cleaning agents such as hand sanitizers, gloves and disinfectant sprays. We also adhere to CDC guidelines as much as possible on social distancing and mask-wearing.”

Operations are, of course, going to be different during COVID-19 because of the many restrictions. According to the operations manager, things are still able to run smoothly despite the restrictions.

Rosario said, “Because of the reduced volume of passengers choosing to travel by air, our workload has also been affected proportionately. There are challenges when it comes to human resource and administrative matters as it relates to the pandemic. If there is a silver lining in what the pandemic has brought, it is the awareness of having a sanitized working environment along with one’s own personal cleanliness.”

The Palm Springs Airport wants everyone to be safe during this time, “All we can do is do our part to stay safe and respect and lookout for people’s safety. It is all about properly using your masks, sanitizing, maintaining social distance, and being safe,” said Estrada.

Twelve airlines fly to and from our Palm Springs airport, Air Canada, Alaska, Allegiant, American, Boutique Air, Delta, Frontier, JetBlue, Sun Country, United and WestJet. On Nov. 15, Southwest airlines joined the Palm Springs airport.

The Palm Springs Airport offers much assistance even during this time of a pandemic. Such as wheelchair services, TSA security checkpoint assistance. This program offers travel assistance for persons with disabilities or medical conditions.

Section 504 of the American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA) states that persons with disabilities or their representative may request reasonable accommodations in an alternative format. The United Service Organizations (USO) service center works every day to assist American military personnel and their families. These are the different services that the Palm Springs airport continues to over even during COVID-19.

A few things Rosario wants the public to know is, “While people have the right and reason to be concerned to travel by air, I would say that through my observations, all stakeholders are doing their part to follow CDC guidelines and local government recommendations.”

Although it is a great thing that traveling is an option again, please do not take it for gradated we are still in a pandemic, and the staff would like everyone to travel only for a necessary reason, to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Follow CDC guidelines and try your best to minimize travel.