Frontier Airlines has become the first major US airline to announce plans for temperature screenings for all passengers. I suspect this is something we’ll soon find on a widespread basis.
Frontier Airlines’ temperature screenings
Frontier Airlines will implement temperature screenings for all passengers and employees prior to boarding flights as of June 1, 2020. Anyone with a temperature of over 100.4 Fahrenheit will be denied boarding.
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 timing permits, the passenger can receive a second temperature check as well
- 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
Employees who have a temperature of at least 100.4 degrees won’t be able to travel either. Records won’t be kept of any of the temperatures taken.
The airline hopes that the TSA will eventually screen passengers as they enter the airports (since you’d ideally want to identify sick people when they enter the airport, rather than only as they board the plane), but in the meantime they’ll be introducing this initiative.
This complements Frontier’s other initiatives
Frontier has been for the most part doing a great job trying to reassure people during this pandemic:
- Frontier was the first US airline to require passengers to complete a health acknowledgment form prior to travel
- Frontier was the second US airline to make face masks mandatory
- Frontier was going to start selling empty middle seats, but unfortunately there was backlash
- Frontier has updated their boarding process, boarding people from back to front
- Like most US airlines, Frontier is putting effort into cleaning planes much more thoroughly than in the past
As Frontier Airlines CEO Barry Biffle describes these initiatives:
“The health and safety of everyone flying Frontier is paramount and temperature screenings add an additional layer of protection for everyone onboard. 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.”
While none of these initiatives will independently make flying “safe,” they’re all moves in the right direction that should help to increase confidence among passengers. Only time will tell if these are temporary initiatives, or if this is the start of a new normal.