March 13, 2020 | Kendall Creighton FlyersRights.org Calls For Increased Protection Of Air Travelers Against Spread Of COVID-19 RELEASE DATE: March 11, 2020 For more information contact Paul Hudson, 800-662-1859, Paul@flyersrights.org WASHINGTON – Today, FlyerRights.org is urging the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to step up protection of airport travelers against the spread of COVID-19. Many US air travelers want every effort made to slow the spread of the virus through our airports. A recent poll by FlyersRights.org found majority support for tighter airport screening measures, with 81 percent of respondents saying they want checks of passengers on arrival and departure of all international flights. FlyersRights.org members also voted 46.5% on banning visitors from countries with many COVID-19 cases, while 25.5% said no and 17.3% were undecided. Paul Hudson, president of FlyersRights.org today released the following statement: “Customs and Border Control (CBP), part of DHS, is in charge of entry points at international airports. It has said that persons entering the US from restricted areas or ill will be denied entry, referred, tested and/or quarantined at 11 airports But there is presently no systematic testing at airports, inadequate test kits, reports of complete lack of screening of passengers from Asia. It is too late for international travel restrictions to do more than mitigate the pandemic. Air travel has already spread the coronavirus globally. Now it is spreading communally. In Florida, there were 14 cases on March 10th, in widely disbursed counties with none having known recent international travel. In Italy, with over 10,000 cases and 600 deaths, all travel has been banned except for work, medical or emergency reasons until April 3rd. In the Northeast, private schools and colleges are closing and elderly warned not to travel on subways. Hot spots in the US, which now has 1000 cases, include Seattle and New Rochelle NY. Elderly and infirm persons are urged to avoid airline and cruise travel, large crowds, and to stay home as much as possible. The executive director of the agency in charge of the New York City airports has tested positive for the coronavirus. Airlines are opposing emergency regulations to trace the travel activity of their passengers. The FAA, ostensibly in charge of air travel safety with its unit devoted to air travel medical risks, have been omitted from the coronavirus task force. In sum, much more will need to be done than just restrict international air travel.” The International Air Transport Association (IATA), lists up-to-date restrictions of worldwide airports: Currently, China and Iran flights are the only countries that require screening at US airports. FlyersRights.org calls for all international flights to have better coordinated efforts to detect COVID-19 infection. Established in 2007, FlyersRights.org is the largest airline passenger organization. It publishes a newsletter, operates a free hotline for airline passengers 877- FLYERS6, advocates for passenger rights and interests, represents passengers on the FAA Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee dealing with air safety, and maintains a staffed office in Washington, D.C. Donate: https://flyersrights.org/donate/ FlyersRights.org’s survey on COVID-19 can be found here.