Delta Air Lines is now doing temperature checks of passengers at LAX. Anyone departing from their terminal 2 (but not those making a domestic connection) will have their temperature scanned via thermal imaging camera.
This is a test program expected to last for two to three weeks and could continue and expand across airports Delta serves (at least in terminals that Delta controls). Their effort dovetails a test of taking passenger temperatures rolled out by LAX airport in June. The airport’s efforts were voluntary because mandatory checks by the airport would be legally questionable (though the FAA has provided airports with assurances that they won’t violate federal grant rules by doing them).
Airlines have asked TSA to do temperature checks that would clearly be illegal, and dangerous with the government denying travel to people even when poorly-maintained machines register incorrect readings.
In Delta’s version no one gets their individual temperature taken. Anyone with a temperature over 100.4 degrees via scanner will not be permitted to travel. Instead they’ll be offered a reschedule of their flight or a refund. Airlines requiring sick people to show up at the airport for a refund is a problem and carriers need to stop effectively pressuring passengers to fly while sick.
Delta could join Frontier as the only airlines performing temperature checks on passengers broadly if this test gets rolled out further.
Ultimately temperature checks are of limited use because they do nothing to stop pre-symptomatic spread (it’s believed people with COVID-19 are most infectious before they have a fever) and because many people choosing to travel with a fever would consciously choose to take over the counter medication to bring down the fever. Arguably a smell test would be a better approach because loss of smell happens earlier and more frequently in Covid patients.