Hot or not? This U.S. airport testing for fevers.

Courtesy Paine Field Airport

What will air travel be like once the ‘stay home’ advisories are lifted?

Here’s a preview:

The passenger terminal at Paine Field (PAE) in Everett, WA, north of Seattle, just installed a fever detection system. The system is non-invasive, non-contact and scans passengers in the security checkpoint area to see if they’re running a fever.

Systems like this are in use in many Asian airports and in other parts of the world. But this seems to be the first time a fever detection system has been installed at a U.S. airport.

How does the Elevated Body Temperature Detection system work?

How does the Elevated Body Temperature Detection system work? Here’s how Athena Security describes it:

“The system identifies the face of the subject, ignores hot spots like hot lights above and other hot objects on the person like a cell phone or hot coffee. The person looks at the camera and the system finds the hottest point on the face near the eyes, called the inner canthus. Near the eyes is the area that most closely correlates with basal body temperature, so the subject needs to remove glasses and look at the camera.”

Athena Security also notes that the fever detection system only identifies elevated temperature. It does not diagnose any disease or virus, such as COVID-19.

The Paine Field passenger terminal is operated by Propeller Airports, which says the system is installed and operating in the area before the TSA checkpoint, which the airport, not TSA, controls.

Any passenger flagged as having a temperature will be offered secondary screening. If a fever is confirmed, “the passenger and the airline will determine their ability to travel,” Propeller Airports said in a statement.

While the fever detection system it is not a TSA-sponsored initiative, “the agency supports efforts by airports and airlines that help reduce the spread of the virus and allow a prudent return to normal operations,” TSA spokesman Lorie Dankers told Stuck at The Airport via email.

The fever detection is not the only innovative safety technology at Paine Field Airport. Last month the airport began using an innovative and proprietary UV technology to disinfect the terminal.  

The small Paine Field passenger terminal in Everett, WA opened in March 2019. Before schedule reductions due to COVID-19, Alaska Airlines and United Airlines were operating about 24 flights a day from PAE

What do you think? Are you willing to have your temperature taken at the airport?

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