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Major US airlines endorse requiring passengers to undergo temperature checks and wear masks

The TSA could require mandatory temperature checks as early as next week

MARTIN BERNETTI/AFP via Getty Images

Airlines for America, an industry trade group representing major airlines, announced on Saturday that its members support the government to perform temperature checks of passengers during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

A4A, which represents the largest U.S. airlines, including American Airlines, United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and Southwest Airlines, endorsed the Transportation Security Administration to begin checking the temperature of air travelers.

"Temperature checks are one of several public health measures recommended by the CDC amid the COVID-19 pandemic and will add an extra layer of protection for passengers as well as airline and airport employees," Airlines for America said in a statement. "Temperature checks also will provide additional public confidence that is critical to relaunching air travel and our nation's economy."

Airlines for America noted that "having temperature checks performed by the TSA will ensure that procedures are standardized, providing consistency across airports so that travelers can plan appropriately."

No decision on requiring air passengers to undergo temperature checks has been made by government officials as of yet. But a decision could be made as early as next week, according to Reuters.

On April 30, A4A announced that carriers are "requiring customer-facing employees and passengers wear a cloth face covering over their nose and mouth throughout the journey — during check-in, boarding, in-flight and deplaning."

On May 7, Frontier Airlines announced it would implement temperature screenings for all passengers and team members prior to boarding flights, effective June 1, 2020. The new policy states that anyone with a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher will be denied entry to the plane.

Customers will be screened via touchless thermometers prior to boarding. If a customer's temperature reading is 100.4 degrees or higher, they will be given time to rest, if the flight departure time allows, before receiving a second check. If the second check is 100.4 degrees or higher, a Frontier gate agent will explain to the customer that they will not be flying that day for the health and safety of others. Frontier will work with that customer to rebook travel on a later date or otherwise accommodate the traveler's preferences with respect to their reservation.

Frontier had already required passengers to wear face coverings on all flights.

"The health and safety of everyone flying Frontier is paramount and temperature screenings add an additional layer of protection for everyone onboard," Frontier Airlines CEO Barry Biffle said. "This new step during the boarding process, coupled with face coverings and elevated disinfection procedures, will serve to provide Frontier customers an assurance that their well-being is our foremost priority and we are taking every measure to help them travel comfortably and safely."

Frontier will also begin using a fogging disinfectant to sanitize its planes. In addition, planes will be wiped down every night with additional disinfectant.

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