SEATAC, Wash. — Alaska Airlines will soon ask passengers a series of pre-flight health questions as part of a new set of protocols meant to ensure health and safety during the coronavirus pandemic.
Starting at the end of the month, a “wellness agreement” will become part of the check-in process at airport kiosks, on Alaska’s app, and on the carrier’s website.
The questionnaire will ask travelers if they're experiencing flu-like symptoms and whether they've been in close contact with anyone with respiratory illness. If they have, they would be subject to additional screening and could be required to book another flight, the carrier said.
“We’re excited for our passengers to fly again and we’re giving them every bit of information possible, so they know that we’ve taken every possible precaution and safety measure to make them feel confident in flying,” said Sangita Woerner, Alaska Airlines senior vice president of marketing.
Alaska, like the rest of the airline and travel industry, took a big hit as the coronavirus pandemic spread globally.
Passenger traffic is still nowhere near to what it normally is this time of year, but a Sea-Tac International Airport spokesperson said this coming weekend should be the busiest since the start of the pandemic in Washington, with a projected 11,000 departing passengers per day Thursday through Monday.
In the passenger cabin, there are new, more robust cleaning procedures, flyers must wear masks during their journeys, and Alaska is blocking off middle seats through July.
The carrier said travelers can take additional steps to stay healthy, like opening overhead air vents and leaving those open for the entire flight.
Hospital-grade HEPA air filters can remove airborne contaminants like COVID-19, the airline said.
Some customers who've had to cancel trips are still uncomfortable re-booking. Alaska, like other airlines, is letting them cancel without any fees and offering credits for future flights. The credits can be used through May 31st, 2022, Woerner said.
Alaska said if a passenger or crew member tests positive for COVID-19 after their trip, the CDC or local health departments will use the airline's passenger list to notify others on the flight.