As we slowly begin to reopen the states and small businesses, one question is going through everyone’s head…How do people do things together like ride in subways? Planes? Buses?
The Transportation Security Administration is planning to check the temperature of all travelers getting aboard planes. Details of the plan are under review by the White House and subject to change. The program involves about a dozen airports, though they haven’t initiated which airports will have the new scanning procedures. The plan is bargaining at about $20 million.
According to Wall Street Journal, airlines have been wanting to use this multidimensional approach for quite some time now to keep the sickies off board. Air travel has dropped more than 90% since the pandemic took heat but TSA has mostly raised concerns about taking responsibility for temperature scanning as it does not fall within the scope of its security mission. They don’t want to dabble in medicine and disease. Public-travel agencies haven’t made anything clear about this pursuit. “At this time, no decision has been made regarding specific health screening measures at airports.” TSA stated Friday May 15th.
Legislators have been concerned and hesitant with this idea. Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, chair of the House Committee on Homeland Security put it this way: “I cannot find any law that gives TSA the authority to perform temperature checks as reported.”Though it is putting the front-line workers at risk in order to provide passengers a potential false sense of safety, the airline business has to figure out ways to reassure the public if they want to stay in business.
The federal government has already turned over $50 billion (yes with a B) to help airlines during the veritable collapse of their industry. The companies are doing what they can to ensure social distancing on the planes, only operating at 50-60% occupancy. Delta Air Lines is blocking middle seats while other companies like Frontier Airlines are moving towards a more business-like approach. There is a “More Room” fee that is running until the end of August in which a passenger could pay from $39 each way to guarantee the middle seat stays open.
Just like with 9/11, the world (on the ground and in the air) will never be the same traveling-wise after this pandemic. More and more companies will have to incorporate healthy and safety guidelines into their policies for future disease prevention. Will taking passengers’ temperatures really help anything? I would think not as some people are asymptomatic and it just seems like it’s more for show really than anything else.
It’s a weird time and it just keeps getting weirder…