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Memphis International Airport offers holiday travel tips for passengers

MEM terminal Christmas lights

MEMPHIS, TENN. (December 21, 2020) – While December holiday travel at Memphis International Airport (MEM) is not expected to exceed last month’s Thanksgiving traffic levels, the peak days during the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Christmas travel period (December 23 – January 4) are projected to fall on December 23, December 27 and January 3.

Passenger volume is still expected to be down by more than 50% compared to Christmas 2019. Based on available airline seats for that period, as many as 40,000 passengers and employees could pass through the checkpoint during the 11-day travel period. Following are tips to assist holiday passengers:

Airline Operations

  • MEM recommends that travelers arrive at the airport at least 90 minutes before their departure time.
  • Passengers should check with their airlines to monitor schedules.
  • Each airline has different policies and fees for baggage.
  • Airlines rather than the airport are responsible for all aspects of ticketing, scheduling, gate operations and baggage handling. Check with your airline if you have questions about any of these aspects of air travel.
  • Each airline maintains its own COVID-19 policies and procedures.
  • Airlines require passengers to wear masks/facial coverings when boarding and throughout the duration of the flight.
  • Additional information about the effects of COVID on airport and airline operations can be found at www.flymemphis.com/covid-19.


  • TSA has implemented new procedures to increase social distancing, reduce contact between employees and passengers, and increase cleaning and sanitation at the checkpoint. More information: www.tsa.gov/coronavirus.
  • All screening continues to be performed at the B Checkpoint. The C Checkpoint is currently closed.
  • As a temporary exemption from its “3-1-1” rule (no liquids in excess of 3.4 oz. in carry-on bags), TSA is allowing one oversized liquid hand sanitizer container, up to 12 ounces per passenger, in carry-on bags.
  • In order to expedite security screening time, passengers should review the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA’s) list of prohibited items.
  • Firearms in carry-on bags are prohibited by federal law. Check your bags before you arrive at the airport.
  • Food items should be removed from carry-on bags and placed in bins for screening. (Does not apply to TSA PreCheck® members.)
  • TSA holiday travel tips can be found here.

Operational Updates/COVID-19 Measures

  • Masks are now required in public buildings per the City of Memphis Face Covering Ordinance 5751 
  • Complimentary masks are available at the ticketing counters and the TSA checkpoint, and additional masks are available for sale at retail shops.
  • Ridesharing companies Uber and Lyft now require both drivers & passengers to wear face masks during trips. More information can be found at ubr.to/2LHBfXI (Uber) or lft.to/36e0QAR (Lyft).
  • Floor markings are in place which illustrate the recommended 6′ distancing between passengers.
  • Businesses and airlines have installed Plexiglass at counters as an extra measure of protection.
  • MEM and its partners continue to maintain enhanced cleaning and sanitation of high contact areas, including the gate areas and the security checkpoint.
  • Sanitizer dispensers can be found throughout the terminal and in both the A and C concourses.
  • Torn Basil has reopened near gate A27. The restaurant will initially operate Thursday-Monday, from 11 am – 4 pm. Hours may vary based on traffic.
  • Due to the significant decrease in passenger traffic, HMS Host (food/beverage) and Paradies (retail stores) have reduced hours and closed some locations. Updates are listed at www.flymemphis.com/covid-19.
  • The Delta Air Lines SkyClub remains temporarily closed.

MEM COVID-19 Passenger Survey

  • In order to gain more insight on passenger opinions and expectations on traveling during the pandemic, MEM has created a survey at https://bit.ly/memcovidsurvey2020.

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