Low-cost giant Frontier Airlines will screen every boarding passenger with a temperature thermometer in a step to prevent any biosecurity hazards. The announcement yesterday makes it the first airline in the USA to do this for all flights.
How does this test work?
Passengers and crew boarding the next Frontier Airlines flight might find themselves getting checked for more than just loose change in their pockets. Frontier will be rolling out a new screening process to check the temperature of every passenger boarding to ensure that those who have a high temperature (a sign of the body combating a virus) are refused to board.
Anyone that triggers the sensor will have a temperature of over 100.4 degrees (38 degrees Celsius), which is higher than average body temperature. They will be moved aside and checked again after ten minutes. If they fail the second test, they will be refused to board.
Frontier has made it clear that this test applies to everyone entering their aircraft, from passengers to pilots and cabin crew. Even those at the destination airport who may need to check the plane will be tested as well.
This test intends to make passengers feel more comfortable and prevent further spread of the virus.
“The health and safety of everyone flying Frontier is paramount and temperature screenings add an additional layer of protection for everyone on board,” said Frontier Airlines CEO Barry Biffle in a press release.
“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.”
If a passenger does fail the test, they will not be penalized. They may miss the flight, but Frontier will work with them to rebook on a later flight (and be tested again) or refund the ticket. No record of temperatures of passengers or crew will be kept by the airline.
Is this the only step that the airline is taking?
Frontier has been at the forefront of the aircraft health debate and been the first to roll out increasingly safe biosecurity measures on its aircraft. The carrier has a face-covering policy (that all onboard need to keep faces covered), and uses a unique antiseptic ‘fog’ in-between flights to sterilize the entire interior surface.
It did receive some flack recently by instituting a ‘fee’ for passengers to be socially isolated onboard. The carrier has since removed that fee, but the jury is still out if social distancing works onboard aircraft. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has said that airlines don’t need to distance passengers on board (as long as they have masks) and that the air recycling filters onboard aircraft are more than capable of scrubbing the virus from the air.
The airline has argued that not enough is being done by airports to prevent the spread of the virus and that temperature checks should be mandatory for all airlines. Frontier believes that this step today is a temporary solution until the FAA mandates them throughout the USA at airport entrances.
Overall this is an excellent step in the right direction, but it must be in part with other methods such as disinfectant, hand washing, and face masks. As the virus can only show symptoms like a high temperature well after it has become contagious, and thus temperature checks are only for a worst-case scenario.
What do you think? Do you want your temperature checked before boarding a plane? Let us know in the comments.