Last week, U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., championed a proposal to have air travelers take temperature tests before flying.
U.S. Sen. Maria Carwell, D-Wash., introduced the “Fly Safe and Healthy Act” which would have temperature checks as part of Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screenings.
“As our economy re-opens and Americans begin traveling more, we have to do everything we can to make sure travel is safe. We also have to ensure consumers are protected from unfair pricing tactics from airlines. Since the beginning of the pandemic, I’ve been calling for temperature checks for passengers of mass transit as a common-sense way to help keep Americans safe and healthy. This legislation will enable a temperature check pilot program while also ensuring airlines are flexible with customers who get sick following the purchase of a flight. If passengers are not allowed to fly due to a fever, airlines will have to work with the customer to reschedule or cancel the flight at no cost,” Scott said.
“Americans deserve all the available tools to fight COVID-19. For workers and the traveling public, a temperature check program provides important data. The legislation I introduced would require TSA to use innovative temperature screening technology to better protect passenger and worker health, and build public trust in the aviation system,” Cantwell said.
The bill has the support of Airlines for America.
“We are pleased to see Senator Scott and Ranking Member Cantwell’s attention to this issue. U.S. carriers have been supporting the introduction of temperature checks as an added layer of protection during this public health crisis since June. U.S. airlines have implemented multiple layers of measures to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, and we continue to believe that temperature checks are a key measure in assuring the traveling public and airline employees that the federal government is prioritizing their safety and well-being,” said Airlines for America President and CEO Nicholas Calio in support of the legislation.
The bill creates a four-month pilot program for TSA “to conduct temperature checks for domestic and international passengers, individuals accompanying those passengers, crew members, and other individuals who pass through airports and airport security screening locations” and which
“ensures airlines allow passengers who are prohibited from flying because they have a fever or as a result of a secondary medical screening to reschedule or cancel the flight at no cost.” Travelers with elevated body temperatures are exempted.
Cantwell’s bill was sent to the U.S. Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. So far there is no companion measure over in the U.S. House.
Reach Kevin Derby at email@example.com.