Airlines are increasingly requiring health checks before flying. Alaska is the latest

Jun 12, 2020

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Alaska Airlines has become the latest U.S. carrier to require that passengers verify their health before going on a flight.

Starting June 30, passengers will be required to complete a health checklist during check-in that asks them to verify that they have not exhibited any COVID-19 symptoms in the 72 hours prior to flying. They’ll also have to confirm that they’ve not come into contact with a symptomatic individual during that same time frame.

The Seattle-based airline announced this move this week as part its “Next-Level Care” program, which includes about 100 different measures that the carrier says provides “layers of safety” for both customers and employees.

Sign up for the free daily TPG newsletter for more airline news

Customers who are not able to comply with the requirements can reschedule their trip as long as their tickets was purchased before June 30 and rebooked travel occurs within a year of the original itinerary. Customers may have to pay the difference in fare between the original ticket and the new one.

The new “health agreement” being added by Alaska puts it on par with that of United and Frontier in requiring such declarations. Going one step further, Frontier has started screening flyers’ temperatures before boarding.

More broadly, the moves come as U.S. airlines begin to add flights back to their normally busy summer schedules. While passenger numbers at airports are increasing, they remain well below 2019 numbers as many are still reluctant to fly. Even with a recent summer uptick, the number of people being screened at Transportation Security Administration checkpoints in early June are still 80% below the totals from the same time a year ago.

Underscoring coronavirus-related health concerns, a May TPG report found nearly 40% of travelers surveyed said they’d feel safe flying again only after a vaccination for COVID becomes available. Against that sentiment, carriers have had to toe a fine line in convincing customers to return. They’re been instituting new policies — like the one rolled out by Alaska — to help assuage safety concerns and regain their confidence about getting on  plane again. Delta even launched its “Global Cleanliness” division to dedicate more resources into upending cleanliness standards in the sky.

More: How far can airborne COVID germs really spread on a plane?

“Caring for our guests and employees and ensuring their safety has always been our number one priority,” Alaska Airlines CEO Brad Tilden said in a statement announcing its new health agreement. “COVID-19 has touched all of us in some way and it prompted us to fundamentally change the entire travel experience.”

He said the company’s Next-Level Care initiative “has been informed by medical experts, employees and guests, to ensure our customers are safe whenever they’re ready to fly.”

Alaska has also announced that personal hand sanitizing wipes will be available onboard starting in July.

These new policies come as the airline had already made several safety measures, such as blocking middle seats and capping flights at 65% capacity to allow physical distancing onboard until July 31. The airline has also mandated face masks for customers and employees alike, offering face coverings to anyone that may forget about it. Hand sanitizers are offered throughout the airport as well, including the lobby and gate areas.

More: With over 90% of flyers still grounded, what it’s like flying in the U.S. right now

Featured photo by Alex Tai/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® after you apply through any Authorized Enrollment Provider. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
17.24%-26.24% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.