LOS ANGELES – Nowadays, Los Angeles International Airport does not look much like the third busiest airport in the world, but if you’re planning to pass through the Tom Bradley International Terminal, you may notice some signs referring to a wellness checkpoint.
In June, the airport deployed thermal cameras at two locations to scan arriving and departing passengers. One of the locations screens departing passengers for elevated body temperatures using green, yellow, and red colors—looking for temperatures of 100.4 degrees or higher—the current guideline set by the CDC.
Within the first four weeks, airport officials said they scanned more than 10,000 people. Of those, less than one percent flagged the system and the first 30 all consented to have their temperatures taken.
Adnan Khan thinks more businesses should do this kind of screening.
"People don’t tell anyone that they are sick. They hide it, you know? They don’t want to show that they are sick," Khan said.
Most travelers didn’t seem to mind, but one woman felt it was overkill.
"The media is exaggerating this whole thing and people are going crazy and that’s really sad," said Caro Foellmer, who was traveling to Germany with two children. "I feel like I’m in my grandfather’s Nazi time with all this."
Participation is voluntary.
If the camera detects a possible fever, a medical professional will ask if they can take the traveler's temperature using a non-contact thermometer. If their fever is confirmed, they are advised not to travel.
Arriving passengers who are flagged as potentially ill may be referred to a CDC staff member on site.
LAX officials said the cameras do not store, transmit, or share any data or images taken, and travelers who do not want to participate can ask to walk around.
While COVID-19 can be spread asymptomatically, airport officials hope people understand the main message: If you feel sick, don’t fly.