With almost every airline requiring the wearing of masks on board, United Airlines is going a step further, requiring passengers to confirm they are free of the coronavirus.
The carrier, which uses Bush Intercontinental Airport as a major hub, is unrolling a "health self-assessment" and a "Ready-to-Fly" checklist during the check-in process. The airline is touting the questionnaire as a first among major U.S. carriers.
The airline said customers will be required to acknowledge 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, cough, shortness of breath/difficulty breathing, chills, 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 will need to be completed in order to receive a boarding pass, United said. The checklist appears either in person at the counter, or digitally through the airline's mobile app and website.
The company based its checklist on guidance from the Cleveland Clinic. The checklist also is part of United's larger "United Clean Plus" program, which also includes things like an "all-in-one" snack pack for passengers to limit contact between flight attendants and customers.
United's rollout comes in the midst of growth in passenger volume across the country, as well as states emerging from COVID-19 lockdowns, and carriers adding more domestic flights due to increased demand.
New statistics by TSA showed a steady rise of passengers screened. On Sunday, 441,255 passengers were screened, which was the highest number since March 22. In fact, it was a 65 percent rise from the day before Memorial Day.
Still, U.S. air travel is down about 83 percent compared to the same time last year, marking an expected long and sluggish recovery.