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LAX Starts Passenger Temperature Scanning

Photo courtesy: Los Angeles World Airports
LAX Starts Passenger Temperature Scanning
Joe Cortez

Los Angeles International Airport will start using thermal cameras to screen passengers who may be showing symptoms of COVID-19. The trial will use three different technologies to screen passengers at two stations inside the international terminal.

Los Angeles World Airports is turning to technology to reduce the spread of COVID-19 among travelers. The airport authority announced thermal cameras will be deployed at two places inside the Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to screen passengers as part of their Terminal Wellness Project.

Voluntary Screening Process at Entrance and Gates

The trial started on Tuesday, June 23, 2020, with cameras at two locations: The main entrance of the departures level, and within the terminal near select international arrivals. The plan calls for three different types of cameras to be used, to determine which is the most accurate at potentially identifying travelers with an increased temperature.

“A world-class airport isn’t defined just by our historic investments in a reimagined LAX and an improved traveling experience –– it’s also about world-class safety,” Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti said in a press release. “This project reflects the best of this city’s innovative spirit, and it will help keep travelers healthy and set a new industry standard.”

The cameras are calibrated to identify passengers who may have a body temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) warns that those who have a temperature at or beyond that threshold may be positive for COVID-19.

Pilots walk through thermal cameras setup as part of the Terminal Wellness Project at Los Angeles International Airport. Photo courtesy: Los Angeles World Airports

Anyone who is identified with a temperature will be approached by a health official, who will request a secondary screening using a handheld, non-contact thermometer. Departing passengers who test at or above the temperature threshold will be advised not to travel, while arriving flyers with an elevated temperature may be referred to CDC staff at the airport.

The temperature screening is part of a larger response to the novel Coronavirus pandemic at LAX. In addition to deploying over 250 hand sanitizer situations, the airport is regularly cleaning high traffic areas, and asking everyone to wear a face covering while inside the terminals.

Airport Focuses on Privacy in Trial Phase

Los Angeles airport officials say they are working with multiple stakeholders to launch and evaluate the camera trial. Partners in the program include the Transportation Security Administration, the CDC, and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

Despite the large partnership, the airport says they are keeping traveler privacy in focus. The trial will be voluntary with marked signs, and those who do not wish to participate can take alternate paths through the terminal. In addition, the cameras will not “store transmit, or share any data or images taken.”

The increased measures come as airlines crack down on health policies. In a shared mission, multiple airlines announced they will force passengers to wear face masks while flying, with penalties for non-compliance include being barred from future travel with the carrier.

Featured photo courtesy: Los Angeles World Airports

View Comments (6)


  1. mvoight

    June 24, 2020 at 1:49 pm

    What is the margin of error for these? 98.6 (37 degrees C) is “normal”
    The difference between 98.6 (37 C) and 100.4 (38 C) is not much
    I also find it interesting we are still using Fahrenheit when the rest of the world uses Celsius

  2. KLBGO

    June 24, 2020 at 2:26 pm

    Better not run fast on LAX, you might be told you have a fever.

  3. PaulMSN

    June 25, 2020 at 7:55 am

    Well, Jimmy Carter tried to take the US metric, but it just made him more unpopular. Then Reagan killed the effort entirely.

    I have an average temperature of 97.6 F, so even when I’m sick I rarely crack 100. The temp check is unlikely to affect me.

  4. Dougg

    June 25, 2020 at 8:40 am

    This is silly. We know Covid-19 is most contagious and being spread 2-3 days before the person shows any sign of being ill or having a temperature. Why not take the temperature of passengers as they arrive?

  5. squiddy

    June 25, 2020 at 11:40 am

    Two stations? “Advised not to travel?”

    This is a PR stunt.

    Every departing passenger needs to be temperature screened – and barred from departure if they fail. Whether they have flu or Covid-19, why are we going to allow them on a plane?

    At minimum, do the Covid 15-minute test, and if positive, deny them boarding, refund their ticket, and send them home.

    Just knowing they’re going to 100% get screened will keep some with a fever from going to the airport.

    Any arriving international passenger should be screened at the departure airport, as well as upon arrival at the port of entry. Temp screens get CV tested; positive results denied entrysent to quarantine.

    Of course, we needed to do this in February. Too late to help us now – Americans won’t mask enough to prevent this from endless spreading.

    But may as well lay the groundwork now so when the next pandemic comes, we’ll be more ready.

  6. flyboy_88

    June 26, 2020 at 9:05 am

    Finally start this on June 23rd?

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