TORONTO — Canada’s largest airline will soon be taking the temperatures of would-be travellers boarding their planes, and will not allow adjacent seats to be occupied even among parties travelling together.
On Monday, Air Canada announced that beginning May 15, passengers will have to undergo non-contact infrared checks for fever, a symptom in many with COVID-19.
Anyone denied boarding due to a temperature of more than 37.5 C or some other red flag uncovered in a government-mandated health question, can rebook at no cost but will have to provide medical clearance to travel, says the airline.
Air Canada says it’s the first airline in the Americas to screen for temperature and promises to introduce other screening tools, such as blood oxygen level tests, as they become available.
It’s also spreading out seat assignments in economy class until June 30, even among those travelling together.
“Air Canada will automatically block the sale of adjacent seats and cap the total number of seats sold for each flight. As a result, no customer in economy class will be required to sit immediately adjacent to another, unless they are required to do so to assist another customer with whom they are travelling.”
Children under 14 would qualify as needing assistance, according to the airline.
The airline, which posted a $1.05-billion net loss for the first quarter Monday, also said that it will introduce electrostatic cabin spraying to its cleaning processes.
It’s all part of what it’s calling CleanCare+.
Air Canada has previously made face coverings mandatory for customers, along with face shields, masks, gloves and gowns for employees.
“While we are eager to see the reopening of economies and the restart of commercial aviation, the safety of our customers and employees is Air Canada’s core value and we aim to establish the highest standards of hygiene, cleanliness and attention to public health guidelines,” said the airline’s president and CEO Calin Rovinescu.
“Air Canada CleanCare+ will provide travellers with the confidence that they can book and fly safely with Air Canada as they consider their travel plans in the current environment.”