Philadelphia airport sees rise in travelers as COVID-19 cases spike around the US

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Philadelphia International Airport expects to see about half of its typical passenger volume in the month of July.

"That is up remarkably from April when we only saw about 5% of our 2019 traffic," says Florence Brown, director of communications.

There is a noticeable emptiness inside, with barely any wait times at TSA checkpoints and quiet corridors as businesses are still shuttered.

"PHL Airport has about 160 food and shopping options. Currently, during the pandemic, we have about 30," said Brown.

If you are traveling, each terminal has at least shop and restaurant open for passengers.

Masks are required inside the building, which is cleaned every hour, and signs everywhere point to practice social distancing. Passengers say they also welcome the changes on board the plane.

"Southwest has been posting on their website that they are still keeping their middle row open for July," said Christine Haugh, who was flying to Tampa.

Because of a spike in COVID-19 cases, passengers arriving from Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Utah are advised to self-quarantine for 14 days when heading into the state of New Jersey.

Some feel that guideline is too restrictive.

"I'll quarantine but not the way they're talking about sitting in one room for 14 days, no. I'll wear a mask, go out when I need to and that's it," said Camden resident, Chad Despeignes, who was returning from Florida.

Amtrak is also disinfecting and telling passengers to social distance.

Customers are notified about quarantine guidelines while purchasing tickets.

"As quarantines are applied in different states we try and let passengers know through their booking process so they can understand what requirements may be awaiting them when they arrive at their destination," said Stephen Gardner, senior executive vice president with Amtrak.

Passengers at PHL said they actually enjoyed the travel experience with social distancing and less passengers on the plane. But, that trend will soon end as airlines struggle with loss in revenue.

American will book to capacity starting July 1, United does not block middle seats, and Delta and Southwest said they will block middle seats until the end of September. JetBlue will socially distance passengers until the end of July.
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