Thermal-imaging cameras and swab tests for coronavirus are not “clinically valuable” in airports, according to a panel of aviation health experts.
About one in every three infectious people would be missed, they say.
Air systems and low humidity on planes already reduces virus spread through the cabin, their guidance says.
But passengers should wear face coverings at all times, board and disembark one row at a time and be seated apart from others if possible.
And those seated at the back should be the first on and last off.
It comes as the UK introduces a two-week quarantine period for anyone arriving from abroad by plane, train or ferry, although there are some exceptions.
However, more than 200 travel companies have asked for the new rules to be scrapped and some MPs have voiced concerns.
The guidance says thermal screening detects anyone with a high temperature, and so has “substantial high false positive rate” for coronavirus, causing hold-ups for many passengers.
Throat swab tests of potentially infected passengers have “a false negative rate of up to 30%”.
Prof Ashley Woodcock, from the University of Manchester, who led the panel, said air filtration systems in planes were very efficient and filtered out 99.8% of small particles.
“The air in planes is about as clean as an operating theatre,” he said.
In the guidance, sent to the UK aviation industry and the Department for Transport, passengers are advised to:
- use alcohol hand sanitisers frequently
- wear face masks or coverings at all times
- stay 2m (6ft) away from other people and their baggage, where possible
On board, there should also be ‘sequencing’ of toilet visits and a spare supply of face coverings, it adds.
In airports, shops and restaurants should be opened but managed carefully to avoid overcrowding.
Passengers with a long-standing cough caused by asthma, COPD or other respiratory disorders should consider wearing a coloured mask to highlight their underlying condition.