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Missoula fliers noticing coronavirus precautions, no changes here yet

Missoula International Airport
Posted at 9:49 PM, Mar 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-05 23:49:18-05

MISSOULA — While airline passengers going through the big hub in Seattle are seeing all kinds of coronavirus precautions, those impacts haven't expanded yet to travelers at Western Montana airports. But with direct flights between Missoula and Seattle, it could only be a matter of time.

At Sea-Tac, carriers like Alaska Airlines imposed new practices this week.

"We put some steps into place to focus on high touch point areas where guests are sitting at seats so, you're tray table, your seatbelt, your seatbelt buckle, the armrest at your seat, the overhead air vents and including the flight attendant call button," said Alaska Airlines' Celley Buchanan.

The Port of Seattle will add up to 100 new hand sanitizer stations. Janitors are using hospital-grade disinfectants, focusing on "high touch" areas like handrails and elevators, and being trained to handle bio-hazards.

However, even with Alaska flying regular service into Missoula, there's no change here yet. Missoula International Airport Director Cris Jensen said Alaska, nor any of the other carriers, have informed the airport of additional measures during the Missoula stop.

He said it's "too soon to know" whether the viral outbreak could impact previously announced plans to expand direct flights from Missoula to Seattle in May.

A representative with Alaska Airlines told MTN News in an emailed statement that they have implemented an "enhanced cleaning policy for our planes."

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include information from Alaska Airlines in regards to the cleaning of airplanes.