Air Canada to begin taking passengers' temperatures before boarding

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Air Canada will become the first airline in the Americas to mandate temperatures checks for all passengers before boarding, in a policy that takes effect next week.

Canada's flag-carrying carrier is taking the extra step to keep customers and crew safe with the new CleanCare+ initiative, to reduce the risk of exposure to the novel coronavirus amid the global pandemic.

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Starting May 15, all Air Canada passengers must undergo a non-invasive, infrared temperature check at all airports before boarding, the carrier announced earlier this week. Per existing government mandates, travelers must also submit a health questionnaire determining their fitness to fly. If a passenger is deemed unfit to travel, Air Canada will rebook them at no cost, but the customer must receive medical clearance before they can fly again.

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"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,” Calin Rovinescu, president and CEO of Air Canada, said of the news.

“Coupled with other new safety practices we implemented earlier in response to COVID-19, Air Canada CleanCare+ will provide travelers with the confidence that they can book and fly safely with Air Canada as they consider their travel plans in the current environment.”

Canada's flag carrying carrier is going the extra mile to keep customers and crew safe with the new CleanCare+ initiative.

Canada's flag carrying carrier is going the extra mile to keep customers and crew safe with the new CleanCare+ initiative. (iStock)

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Through the CleanCare+ effort, the largest airline in Canada is also blocking seats to create more personal space in its economy class until at least June 30 and distributing personal health and safety kits containing hand sanitizer and other items to all passengers.

The carrier has also stepped up its cabin sanitization standards and will begin using electrostatic sprayers with hospital-grade disinfectant to keep planes clean.

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In addition to the new measures, Air Canada previously required passengers to wear face masks during travel, issued protocol for employee use of personal protective equipment (PPE) like face shields and gloves, promoted the use of technology for check-in procedures to encourage increased physical distancing, and revised in-flight service to minimize contact between customers and crew. These policies remain in effect for the foreseeable future.

As the pandemic continues, increasing numbers of commercial airlines have similarly begun blocking middle seats to promote social distancing and requiring passenger to wear face masks during flights.