United Airlines has implemented new safety measures concerning passenger health and is now requiring a self declaration at the time of check-in.
According to the latest travel notice United now reserves the right to refuse any passenger for check-in who suffers from temperature over 38 C/100.4 F, cough, sore throat or muscle aches (among other symptoms).
This will however be entirely reliant on a self declaration and except for body temperature there is very little to no way for the airline to detect these symptoms otherwise.
You can find the most recent requirements of United Airlines from their news hub:
The checklist includes the following:
- You must wear a face covering while on board for the safety of everyone.
- Have not been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the last 21 days.Have not experienced any of the following symptoms in the past 14 days (excludes symptoms from a pre-existing condition)
- Temperature of 38 C/100.4 F or higher
- Shortness of breath/difficulty breathing
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- Recent loss of taste or smell
- Have not had close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 14 days.
- Have not been denied boarding by another airline due to a medical screening for a communicable disease in the last 14 days.
The checklist also affirms customers are willing to abide by the airline’s other safety protocols, including wearing a face covering, which is now mandatory for all employees and customers on board a United aircraft. Customers that are not able to confirm these requirements and choose not to travel will be able to reschedule their flight. Customers may also choose to check-in at the airport for further review. …
Basic complaints such as fever, cough, sore throat or muscle aches probably eliminates 10-15% of travelers on any given day, more so if you count even lesser cases of slight discomfort.
Some people have chronic cough, be it more or less severe so what about them? I can’t count the number of times I had to fly while not feeling well 100% for the one or other reason (I wouldn’t travel anymore when I feel really sick, did that once and it was just an awful experience).
Of course there is zero way for United to diagnose these things without the passenger disclosing it except for the fever checks everywhere for which the value of 38 C/100.4 F has been more or less set as fever marker (United actually allows a bit higher temperature than other airlines and control posts where the limit is usually 37.5 degree).
The same goes for having been near anyone who got diagnosed with Covid, let alone being diagnosed oneself.
This is just a measure by United and also other airlines to wash their hands just in case something happens so they can say “We did ask the passengers and they declared they’re alright” in order to shed themselves of liability.
I still believe this will actually be counterproductive because passengers are more likely to lie one the declaration if even the slightest symptoms would service as a reason to exclude them from the flight. Arbitrary things such as muscle pain, sore throat or a slight cough are everyday occurrences. Nobody is going to forego a flight over this by being honest on the declaration.