US Airlines Won't Let You Fly Without a Mask
US airlines have given travelers the option to wear a mask or be turned away from their flight, according to CNBC.
The federal government has recommended face coverings where social distancing is difficult. Last month, most US airlines announced that passengers traveling on planes will be required to wear face coverings. The only exceptions for masks are if an individual has medical issues or if passengers are eating or drinking.
“We take the requirement to wear a mask very seriously,” Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian said in a staff note Thursday. “Customers who choose not to comply with this or any other safety requirement risk losing their future flight privileges with Delta. So far, there have thankfully only been a handful of cases, but we have already banned some passengers from future travel on Delta for refusing to wear masks on board.”
Last week, American Airlines prohibited a traveler from flying after he refused to wear a mask.
Southwest Airlines has stated that it won't let travelers on if they don't wear a face covering. “Our policy of denying boarding prior to travel is designed to ensure anyone uncomfortable with wearing a face covering or mask does not board a Southwest aircraft,” it said.
Airlines were decimated by the novel coronavirus outbreak and are trying to ensure that passengers are safe while flying. Airlines have also left seats open on flights, offered flight changes once plans fill up, and asked health-related questions at check-in.
The Allied Pilots Associations proposed that the government buy seats in flights that would go empty “so that no passenger would have to sit next to a stranger.”
Delta CEO Ed Bastian stated that even though demand has increased recently “we expect our overall demand this summer to be only 25 percent of last summer’s revenue, and we likely remain at least two years away from a return to normal.”
The Department of Transportation hasn’t mandated masks for flying. “Of course, across the transportation system every mode is different,” the DOT said. “But when it comes to air travel, the DOT and the [Federal Aviation Administration] expect the traveling public to follow airline crew directions and policies, which are in place for passenger protection and the health of air crews, and to take very seriously the precautions recommended by the CDC and the International Civil Aviation Organization.”
However, some want a federal mandate to ensure that all preventative measures must be followed. “The federal government is not backing us up and that’s really what we need here,” Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants, which represents United, Spirit and more than a dozen other airlines. “It is very important to send a clear message to the traveling public that this is the expectation and there will be consequences if people don’t follow these instructions.”