Management explains what to expect at the Bismarck Airport during the pandemic

Published: May. 18, 2020 at 7:58 PM CDT
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Travel continues during the pandemic.

The massive drop in oil demand was mostly due to people not driving or flying with stay-at-home orders in place.

But now closures are lifted.

Management at the Bismarck Airport tells us what to expect if you're planning to fly in a COVID-19 world.

Management at the Bismarck Airport says traffic has decreased significantly since the pandemic. However, that's not stopping them from enforcing policies to keep those that do fly safe.

Social distancing markers speckle the floor of a nearly empty Bismarck Airport.

Frequent fliers say inside the aircraft is more of the same.

"A lot more going on sanitization wise," said United Airlines flier John Heath.

The stickers are part of new protocol the airport is implementing to keep people safe.

"We have increased sanitizing and we've placed social distancing stickers throughout the terminal to just help remind individuals to social distance while they're standing in line," said Bismarck Airport Marketing operations Manager Matthew Remynse.

However, the safety measures aren't bringing many customers back.

"Due to the pandemic, we are currently operating in between 90 and 95% down from where we were last year," Remynse said.

While the Bismarck Airport is enforcing standard protocol for each customer to follow, every airline is enforcing different guidelines.

"You have to wear a mask the entire flight," Heath said of his United flight.

"They're strategically placing everyone to get them as far apart as possible," said American Airlines flier Shannon Stout.

"The deplane by rows instead of a massive walkout," Heath said.

Shannon Stout flew American Airlines in April.

"Airports were completely quiet. There was no travelers there," Stout said.

But, Heath had a slightly different experience in May.

"Both legs of the flight were pretty busy," Heath said.

Matthew Remynse says the Bismarck Airport saw a slight increase after high-contact businesses reopened. However, he says sales are still nowhere near meeting last year's numbers.

Remynse says The American Association of Airport Executives is working with Congress to pass a standardized policy for masks in airports and on airlines. The policy protocol would likely last beyond the pandemic.