JetBlue Joins Chorus Asking TSA to Add Temperature Checks

The Transportation Security Administration, not the airlines, should be checking passengers’ temperatures as they are screened at the airport, JetBlue Airways says.

JetBlue has joined Southwest and Delta with that request.

Frontier Airlines has already said it will implement its own temperature screenings.

Joanna Geraghty, JetBlue’s president and chief operating officer, said that while temperature checks might not be effective for asymptomatic people, they could still alert authorities to someone who should not be flying.

“Our perspective is there needs to be a global industry solution for this,” Geraghty said in an interview. “Different standards for different airlines is going to be challenging for the traveling public. If you show up in an airport and one airline does temperature checks one way and another does it another way, that’s just hard for consumers. Our recommendation is for the government to step in and handle that service.”

Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly said earlier this week he, too, wanted the TSA to take over the process of checking temperatures. And, despite instituting its own checks, Frontier also urged the government to take over the process.

Airlines for America, the main lobby group for the majority of domestic carriers, said it is in talks with TSA, Congress, the Trump administration and public health experts about several different options to ensure the safety of travelers.

Even the White House is pushing to restart airport fever screenings for COVID-19 despite an earlier failed attempt and against the advice from the Centers For Disease Control, according to USA Today.

The White House directive to check travelers in 20 U.S. airports for fever comes after earlier efforts by the CDC to screen travelers returning from China failed to stop the global pandemic from reaching the United States.

“Thermal scanning as proposed is a poorly designed control and detection strategy as we have learned very clearly,” Dr. Martin Cetron, the CDC’s director of global mitigation and quarantine, wrote in an email to Department of Homeland Security officials on Thursday.

But Geraghty said she hopes it is still implemented.

“I think a lot will be changing in the next few weeks around what the industry is going to do and, more importantly, what that nationwide standard should be and whether the government will be stepping in and setting some of those nationwide requirements,” she said.

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