Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

Sea-Tac Airport plans passenger temperature checks

The aviation industry, government agencies, and technology companies are scrambling to find a way to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic so that travelers will be safe in airports and in the sky.

Already, masks, hand sanitizing stations, and hyper-vigilant cleaning protocols have become standard.

And now temperature checks are being added to the list.

Airports, airlines and industry organizations are discussing how to make this happen on a national level.

But the Port of Seattle Commission doesn’t want to wait.

On Wednesday the commission told its staff to work up a plan, by June 9, for rolling out temperature screenings at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA).

The priority will be on screening arriving international passengers. And with this directive, SEA believes it is the first large U.S. airport to begin working on a formal plan for temperature checks and health screening.

Port of Seattle commissioners acknowledge that with temperature screening will come questions. Mostly about passenger privacy and the fact that temperature checks won’t catch even a majority of virus carriers.

“No single measure is sufficient to slow the spread of coronavirus, and each comes with additional costs and inconvenience. However, given the gravity of the virus, and the impact it has had on our region’s well-being, the benefits of these measures outweigh the costs,” Port of Seattle commissioners said in a statement.

Airports upping their safety act with helmets and more

What are airports up to now?

If you’re heading to an airport now or sometime in the future, the new normal is going to be, well, different.

Masks for everyone, please.

As more and more airlines now require each employee and passenger to cover their mouth and nose with a mask or cloth, airports from Seattle to Singapore are adding that requirement to anyone entering the terminals.

Temperature checks may become the new normal.

Airports in Asia have been scanning travelers’ temperatures for quite some time.

Now Fiumicino Airport in Rome is using ‘smart helmets’ to check the temperature of passengers.

The device is worn by airport workers and allows them to check and measure the body temperature of passengers at a distance.

Frontier Airlines, which stepped back from charging an extra fee to keep middle seats free, will begin pre-boarding temperature screenings for passengers on June 1.

Customers will be screened via touchless thermometers prior to boarding.

If the temperature reading is 100.4 degrees or higher, they will be given time to rest and, if the flight departure time allows, get another temperature check.

“If the second check is 100.4 degrees or higher, a Frontier gate agent will explain to the customer that they will not be flying that day for the health and safety of others,” the airline said in its statement. Any passenger with a 100.4 degrees or higher fever will be offered the option to rebook travel on a later date or make other arrangements.

And don’t be surprised if in the not-too-distant future TSA officers scan you for a fever at the same time they’re looking through your stuff.

What do you think of these moves? Will it make you feel safer when you fly?

Airports: “We’re open”

Restaurants, shops, bars, schools and offices in many communities are closed.

But airports? For now, they’re open.

Although activities in and around the terminals are different, with far fewer passengers and flights than normal.

Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) has opened its garages to free parking. And posting a list of which dining, shopping and service locations are open.

Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) has shifted its dining options to take-out and in-terminal delivery service from At Your Gate.

At San Francisco International Airport (SFO), all restaurants are open for now, but many with reduced hours. Bars are closed. And, as with restaurants in many cities, service is take-out only.

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) is sharing a list of which restaurants remain open for grab-n-go food options.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) have closed the North and South terminal checkpoints.

Here are recent messages from other airports.

As with everything else in the world right now, situations are changing. So if you’re headed to an airport, check ahead.

And, on Wednesday morning, not long after an earthquake was reported near Salt Lake City, the airport tweeted this:

Nintendo’s pop-up airport lounges

Nintendo pop-up lounge at Dallas Love Field

Calling all Nintendo fans. Or anyone wanting some entertainment while they’re stuck at the airport.

Nintendo has rolled out a cluster of pop-up game lounges at four airports just in time for the spring break travel season,

The Nintendo Switch On The Go pop-up airport lounges are at Washington Dulles (IAD), Seattle-Tacoma International (SEA), O’Hare International (ORD) and Dallas Love Field (DAL) airports.

Each lounge gives travelers hands-on time with game demos using Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch Lite.

According to Nintendo, anyone who visits one of these Switch On The Go lounges can order Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch Lite systems and receive a free carrying case with their order.

Another promised bonus for anyone who stops by is a free Nintendo Switch branded luggage handle wrap and a $10 coupon from Target to use on any Nintendo purchase of $75 or more – “available while supplies last.”

Nintendo pop-up lounge at SEA airport

But: We stopped by the SEA pop-up lounge on Monday, the first day Nintendo’s pop-up lounge was opened. Although the attendants were friendly and chatty and offered to take our photo, no luggage handle wraps or coupons were offered. So, if you’re interested in that, be sure to speak up.  

Look for the pop-up lounges through March 29, 2020 at these airports:

While you were sleeping big things were moving at SEA airport

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) is building a new International Arrivals Facility (the IAF) which has a 708-foot-long aerial walkway as one of its features.

When in place, the walkway will look like this and be the longest structure over an active airport taxiway.

Pretty impressive, right?

But as impressive is what it takes to make the project happen.

For example, overnight on Thursday, the center span of that elevated pedestrian walkway was – very carefully – moved down the closed center runway to its new home.

Here are some of the tweets SEA shared as the process unfolded.

And here is the aerial walkway in place!