Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport (LAS) has installed vending machines that sell personal protective equipment (PPE). In a tweet sent out on Thursday, the publicly-owned airport said that it was installing these machines to help protect passengers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The airport was already known for its slot machines and eye-catching vending machines from which you could buy just about anything. Now proudly touting itself as the first airport in the country to offer the sale of PPE to the flying public, airport spokeswoman Christine Crews told the Las Vegas Review-Journal:
“A lot has changed for all of us recently, and we’re all trying to learn new behaviors, and that certainly applies in the airport environment and travel now,” adding “It’s not unthinkable that someone will show up at the airport and has left behind one of these items that’s almost essential now to air travel.”
Las Vegas is the first airport in America to sell PPE from a vending machine
The new PPE vending machines are located in Terminal 1 near the ticketing area and Terminal 3 next to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoint. In the vending machines, passengers will find surgical gloves, face masks, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant wipes, as well as a few other items related to coronavirus protection.
A new option to help protect yourself and others while traveling. LAS was the first airport to install PPE vending machines from which travelers can purchase items like gloves and hand sanitizer. These machines can be found in T1 ticketing and near the T3 TSA checkpoint. pic.twitter.com/1suaVel412
— McCarran Airport (@LASairport) May 14, 2020
The price of hand sanitizer varies from $4.25 to $6.50, while a pack of three disposable face masks costs $7.50. A disposable N95 mask sells for $8.50, and a reusable cloth mask retails for $14.50.
When asked about the pricing, Crews said that they are subject to change depending on supply and demand.
Passenger numbers in Las Vegas have plummeted
In addition to the new vending machines, McCarran International has closed off parts of the airport and consolidated parking as the nation’s 10th-busiest airport sees passenger numbers plummet. Compared to a year earlier, passenger numbers were down by two million in March due to the coronavirus crisis.
When the passenger numbers for April are released later this month, they are expected to be down. Figures could be even lower than March. The reason for the assumption is that Las Vegas casinos and hotels did not shut their doors until March 18th.
Vending machines never close
Despite so few passengers arriving in “Sin City,” Crews thinks that the machines will prove popular. This is because unlike airport shops, the machines are always open.
“A vending machine is always open,” she said, as per Las Vegas Review-Journal.
“If you look at the fact that we have reduced flight schedules here and we have a lot of people who may be delayed, or canceled based on availability, that the vending machine option is always there and always open to them.”.
According to medical predictions obtained by the BBC, a vaccine for the coronavirus is likely to become available by mid-2021. If this is the case, we will likely see more PPE vending machines popping up in airports across the globe.
What do you think about PPE machines in airports? Please let us know your thoughts in the comments.