Today, Airlines for America (A4A), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines, announced that its member carriers will voluntarily pledge to refund tickets for any passenger who is found to have an elevated temperature — as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines — during a screening process conducted by federal authorities prior to travel.
Last month, A4A and its member carriers announced they are supporting the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to begin conducting temperature screenings of the traveling public and customer-facing employees as long as necessary during the COVID-19 public health crisis.
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. Temperature checks also will provide additional public confidence that is critical to relaunching air travel and our nation’s economy. As all screening processes for the traveling public are the responsibility of the U.S. government, having temperature checks performed by the TSA will ensure that procedures are standardized, providing consistency across airports so that travelers can plan appropriately.
Face Covering Requirement
Since the onset of COVID-19, U.S. airlines have been working to protect passengers and employees. In April, A4A’s carrier members voluntarily announced that they are requiring customer-facing employees and passengers to wear facial coverings over their nose and mouth throughout the journey — during check-in, boarding, in flight and deplaning. Last week, major U.S. carriers announced they are actively enforcing their face covering policies.
Layered Approach to Risk Mitigation
Temperature checks and face coverings are part of the multi-layered approach that airlines are implementing to mitigate risk of exposure and infection and to protect the health and wellbeing of passengers and employees.
A4A’s member carriers all meet or exceed CDC guidance and have implemented intensive cleaning protocols, in some cases to include electrostatic cleaning and fogging procedures. Carriers are working around the clock to sanitize cockpits, cabins and key touchpoints — like tray tables, arm rests, seatbelts, buttons, vents, handles and lavatories — with CDC-approved disinfectants. Additionally, A4A carriers have aircraft equipped with HEPA filters and have implemented a range of policies — such as back-to-front boarding and adjusting food and beverage services to reduce interaction.
All travelers — passengers and employees — are encouraged to follow CDC guidance, including frequent hand-washing and staying home when ill.
The safety and wellbeing of passengers and employees is the top priority of U.S. airlines. As we look toward a relaunch of our industry and a reopening of the economy, U.S. carriers remain in close contact with federal agencies, the Administration, Congress and public health experts about a range of options that would provide additional layers of protection for the public and instill greater confidence in passengers and employees as they travel.
For more on how U.S. airlines are responding to COVID-19, visit www.AirlinesTakeAction.com.