Alaska Airlines adds ‘touch-free travel’ options

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Alaska Airlines is making it easier for passengers to travel touch-free as the coronavirus pandemic has kept many would-be travelers home.

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The airline said on Tuesday that it’s rolling out new features to its mobile app that will allow passengers to perform various tasks from their phones and limiting contact with public surfaces or employees.

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Alaska Airlines is adding the ability to pre-order food and beverages, print bag tags without touching kiosks and allow airline agents to scan boarding passes from 6 feet away.

The airline’s app already lets travelers check in for a flight, generate a boarding pass, change seats and prepay for bags, according to the airline.

Alaska Airlines announced it’s adding more options for touch-free travel. (Alaska Airlines)

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“These advancements help make the travel experience easy and almost entirely touch-free for our guests and are just part of the many ways we’re keeping our guests and employees safe during this time,” Charu Jain, Alaska Airlines’ senior vice president of merchandising and innovation, said in a written statement.

Travelers can also use the Alaska Airlines app to check flight status, gate changes and boarding notifications, according to the airline.

A Boeing 737-990 operated by Alaska Airlines takes off from JFK Airport. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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The airline said it has recently added close to 100 new safety precautions to keep its passengers and employees safe amid the pandemic.

Alaska Airlines passengers must wear a cloth mask at airports and on board flights. The airline is providing hand-sanitizing stations at airports and sanitizing wipes on its flights and had added hospital-grade air filters and enhanced cleaning procedures between flights. Onboard service is also limited in order to reduce the number of interactions between passengers and crew members.

The coronavirus pandemic has drastically cut the number of travelers flying. On Aug. 24, 2019, more than 2.3 million travelers passed through TSA checkpoints. On Aug. 24, 2020, the TSA counted fewer than 730,000 passengers.

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