Las Vegas McCarran International Airport (LAS) says it believes it is the first airport in the United States to offer vending machines that sell personal protective Equipment (PPE) like face masks, disposable gloves and hand sanitizer. The machines popped up in the airport in the last few days and McCarran airport took to Twitter on Thursday to promote the new service.
“I do believe we are the first in the nation to have these vending machines,” said airport spokesperson Christine Crews. “The whole world is going through behavioral modification and learning new habits, so it’s not unthinkable that someone could show up at the airport and not have the new necessities that are part of travel,” she explained.
There are three PPE vending machines currently installed in the airport and all are located ‘landside’ so passengers, and anyone else visiting the airport for that matter, get hold of essential supplies because passing through the TSA security checkpoints.
Along with hand sanitizer gel and wipes, passengers can pick up a reusable cloth face covering for $14.50 (available in both adult and child sizes), while a disposable KN95 mask is just $8.25.
Nevada’s ‘phase one’ reopening plan in response to the COVID-19 pandemic recommends the use of face-covering whenever someone is in a public space. While McCarran airport has not made the wearing of masks or face coverings mandatory, many of the airlines that operate from the airport do require passengers to wear PPE.
Some of those airlines, including the likes of United, will give passengers a complimentary face mask if they forget their own, along with hand sanitizing wipes and gel. Other airlines, however, have introduced BYO face covering requirements and passengers are subject to being denied boarding if they turn up at the gate without a mask or other acceptable face covering.
Las Vegas might believe that its the first airport in the United States to introduce PPE vending machines but it certainly isn’t the first in the world. Dubai International Airport (DXB) introduced similar vending machines last month, while passengers at Brussels Airport can also stock up on essential PPE supplies at onsite vending machine.
In South Korea, face mask vending machines are widespread and a common sight across the country.
Earlier this week, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) threw its weight behind making the wearing of face masks mandatory for passengers on all flights and the measure has been adopted by an ever increasing number of airlines.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.