Avery Slusher, 18, from Cincinnati, returned to the US after three months in Southeast Asia on Wednesday — when she was shocked by lax airport safety measures.
When I was in Indonesia, workers wouldn’t let you on boats without taking your temperature. In Bali, hand-sanitizer stations were all over the airport.
Last week, I flew from Chiang Mai to Phuket — a domestic Thailand flight, but airport workers still did temperature checks. People stared at the few people not wearing a mask. You couldn’t miss the signs throughout the airport: “Are you sweating? Are you coughing? Is breathing difficult?”
In Bangkok, airport staff walked around distributing hand sanitizer.
During the 11-hour flight to Los Angeles, I was given a US health-declaration form to fill out, asking if I had a cough or fever and if I had traveled to affected countries. I was told screeners would collect the forms, check passengers’ temperatures and give an overall health evaluation.
But the forms were never collected, and I wasn’t screened. I was in shock.
I braced myself for a grilling by Customs that never happened. The agent asked where I’d been. When I told him I had traveled throughout Southeast Asia since December, he said, “Dope! Welcome home” and waved me on through.
I hopped on two more flights, to Denver International Airport and then Cincinnati. The crew didn’t wear masks.
Airports here aren’t taking basic measures. They should be distributing hand sanitizer at every corner, monitoring people, taking temperatures.
I felt safer everywhere in Asia than I do in the US.