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U.S. Airlines Endorse Fever Checks as Covid-19 Safety Measure

May 9, 2020, 11:49 PM

Airlines for America, the trade group representing large airlines, said it would support fever checks for passengers and employees carried out by the Transportation Security Administration.

The TSA and airlines have been in talks about starting fever checks, though no decision has been announced by the agency.

Airport Screeners May Check for Fever Under Plan Being Discussed

In a statement Saturday, the airline group, whose members have been hard-hit by declining ticket sales, said the checks would “add an extra layer of of protection for passengers as well as airline and airport employees.”

The group said it would back checking for fevers “as long as necessary during the Covid-19 public-health crisis.”

Temperature checks raise the ante for airlines trying to assure customers that it’s safe to fly. They’ve already stepped up cleaning procedures, adopted policies to ensure physical distance between passengers and announced requirements for masks or other face coverings on flights.

Airline passenger levels have fallen to unprecedented lows as much of the nation is under stay-at-home directives. The TSA screened 215,444 passengers on Friday, the most for one day since March 25. A year earlier, the TSA checked 2.6 million passengers.

The U.S. death toll from Covid-19 has passed 78,000.

Frontier Airlines said last week it will check passengers for fevers starting June 1. Fliers with a body temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) or higher will be denied boarding, the airline said Thursday. Employees will also be screened.

Temperature checks won’t be foolproof because people with the virus can be contagious without showing symptoms.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Hailey Waller in New York at hwaller@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
James Ludden at jludden@bloomberg.net

Ian Fisher, Steve Geimann

© 2020 Bloomberg L.P. All rights reserved. Used with permission.