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The future is here.
Technology previously seen only on drawing boards is now being used in airports to help slow the spread of the coronavirus for a public desperate to begin traveling again by air.
Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) has introduced a pilot program by installing thermal screening cameras designed to detect fevers in the facility. The cameras are designed to detect body temperatures of 100.4 degrees or more, the current standard definition for a fever established by the Centers for Disease Control.
Officials will use the results of the thermal screenings to evaluate whether the cameras are effective at detecting passengers who might have one of the symptoms of COVID-19.
"This is a voluntary program with signage alerting passengers where the pilot will take place," Mayor Eric Garcetti told NBC Los Angeles. "To be clear, these thermal camera temperature checks will not replace other safety measures. We're not saying that you only can rely on this. This is an additional layer of safety."
The thermal imaging camera tests will be at two locations in the Tom Bradley International Terminal - the main entrance and near select international arrival gates. If a high temperature is detected, the traveler will be asked to undergo a secondary screening by a medical professional.
Thermal screening is just the tip of the iceberg, however, as Travel Weekly reported. United Airlines
Needed less than two months, for example, to develop a software upgrade to allow a touchless baggage check at its check-in kiosks. It started in four airports on May 10; United is now about to feature a touchless baggage check at all 219 domestic airports where it owns kiosks.
"We knew we needed to act fast and to deliver on some of these things that will be more appealing to people in this new world," Maria Walter, the carrier's managing director of insights and innovation, told Travel Weekly.
Facial recognition has become a big part of the metric as well. U.S. Customs and Border Protection has set a target of using facial recognition power to confirm the identities of 97 percent of departing international travelers by 2023.
And, of course, cleaning and sanitizing is being upgraded, according to CNBC. Singapore's Changi Airport, for example, is doubling terminal cleanings and coating high-touch points - such as handrails, lift buttons and cart handles - with a disinfectant that reduces viral and bacterial transmission for up to six months.
Rich Thomaselli has written for TravelPulse since 2014 and has been a professional journalist for nearly 40 years. His work has...
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