MIAMI – Major US airline executives met Friday with Vice President Mike Pence, but the meeting did not end with commitments from the administration to mandate temperature checks for passengers.
In the meeting, executives with United Airlines (UA), American Airlines (AA), JetBlue Airways (B6), Delta Air Lines (DL), Southwest Airlines (WN) President Tom Nealon, along with government officials including Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, CDC director Mark Redfield, and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.
Demands from US Airlines
The aforementioned airlines would like all passengers temperatures to be checked sometime during security, and Donald Trump has been open to this. While this seems like a good idea to most, there are many logistical concerns to address.
These concerns include where screening would take place, and what would happen to passengers who tested with a fever and were denied boarding. Airlines said Thursday they would be willing to refund passengers who were not allowed to fly due to having high-temperature readings.
Airlines are urging the government to mandate this as soon as possible. As demand dropped to unprecedented lows, airlines are eager to see passenger numbers go up.
However, before that happens, passengers are going to need to trust that flying is safe again, and airlines say mandating temperature checks and the wearing of face masks are the way to build trust with passengers.
Uncertainty Within the Trump Administration
Even though Donald Trump has said he is open to mandating temperature checks, we are yet to see him act on his words -Trump has a history of not acting on his proposed regulations.
Representative Bennie Thompson, Chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, said the administration should not mandate temperature checks without any formal regulation.
Airlines urge this to be mandated, as it will increase public trust in flying again, according to their logic. We will have to wait and see if they get the chance to see if their theory makes sense in practice.