COVID-19: American Airlines now checks employees’ temperatures

CHARLOTTE — Employees with American Airlines are now having their temperature checked daily because of the pandemic, which is the first thing they do before they enter the terminal.

A spokesperson with American Airlines said if the employee’s temperature is high, they're immediately tested two more times to check for accuracy and then sent home with pay.

For weeks, concerned family members of employees and a local union have been pushing for temperature checks.

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A family member who didn't want to be identified said, "This is good news, and I hope they continue to do things that protect all of the workers."

The family member believes temperature checking, in addition to wearing masks and gloves, could have made a difference weeks ago. Their loved one contracted the virus while working as a gate agent for Piedmont Airlines. Their loved one is now recovering at home.

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“I hate to speculate, but those three things, maybe, could have kept my love one from contracting the disease,” the family member said.

Temperature checks come at a critical time, said Donielle Prophete, vice president of CWA Local 3645, which is the union that represents ramp and customer service agents at the airport.

“We’re glad because we have been wanting this for a couple of weeks, and especially with North Carolina opening up the first phase, this will be even more important for our employees,” Prophete said.

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CWA Local 3645 is asking American Airlines to put up shields at ticket counters to create a barrier between employees and travelers, Prophete said.

“When you are boarding an aircraft, it’s hard for somebody to socially distance when they have to come up and scan their boarding pass," Prophete said.

It said temperature checks were already happening at five other airports across the country. The company expanded this week to Charlotte Douglas and Los Angeles International Airport.

American Airlines said: “We are trialing Plexiglas shields at a several of our airports in various locations to ensure they meet team member’s needs while they are serving our customers.”