United's policy went into effect this week, and Alaska implements the check-in rule on June 30.

By Alison Fox
June 11, 2020
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Both Alaska Airlines and United Airlines will now require passengers to verify they don’t have any symptoms of COVID-19 before checking in for a flight.

Those flying on Alaska will have to complete a health agreement during check-in beginning June 30, verifying they haven’t had any symptoms of the virus in the past 72 hours or come into contact with someone who did. Passengers will also have to agree to bring and wear a face mask with them, according to the airline.

Credit: Courtesy of United Airlines

"Caring for our guests and employees and ensuring their safety has always been our number one priority. COVID-19 has touched all of us in some way and it prompted us to fundamentally change the entire travel experience," Alaska Airlines CEO Brad Tilden said in a statement on Wednesday. "Next-Level Care has been informed by medical experts, employees, and guests, to ensure our customers are safe, whenever they're ready to fly."

United customers will have to also acknowledge they are symptom-free as part of their check-in process and agree to follow policies, including requiring people to wear a mask on board. As part of the process, which went into effect this week, customers are asked to verify they haven’t had any symptoms in the past 14 days, been diagnosed with the virus in the past 21 days, or had any close contact with someone who contracted the virus in the past 14 days, USA Today reported.

Frontier Airlines already requires passengers to verify that they — as well as members of their household — haven’t had any COVID-19 symptoms for 14 days after the airline updated its policies in April. Frontier also takes passengers' temperatures during boarding.

These latest efforts are just some of the measures the airlines are taking to encourage people to fly again. United teamed up with Clorox as part of its program, United CleanPlus, pledging to use Clorox products at the gate and in terminal areas at the airline’s hub airports. The airline will hand out sanitizer wipes during the boarding process, disinfect high-touch surfaces, and is now offering an “‘all in one’ economy snack bag,” rather than a typical drink and snack service.

United has also said it will notify customers if their flight is likely to be full and offer alternative options like rebooking a different flight or receiving a travel credit.

For its part, Alaska has blocked middle seats and capped flight capacity at 65 percent through July 31 to promote physical distancing.