Airlines have issued orders regarding social distancing and wearing face coverings. Now it’s getting serious.
The Airlines Mean Business
Over the past week, at least two airlines have ramped up passenger compliance with rules for face covering. Alaska and Delta have announced that passengers who refuse to comply will be banned from flying on these airlines. These airline policy violations come from two causes:
- Passengers who disregard instructions to wear a mask and
- Passengers who fail to wear an acceptable form of face covering.
In late June, Alaska empowered its flight attendants to issue a final notice to any guest – in the form of a yellow card handed to them – who repeatedly disregards the requirement to wear a mask while onboard. Going forward, if a guest chooses not to comply after receiving the yellow card, his or her travel with Alaska will be suspended immediately upon landing. Any remaining portion of the guest’s itinerary will be canceled – including connecting or return flights – along with any future trips the guest has booked. The guest will be provided with a full refund for any unused travel and will be responsible for making their own travel arrangements from that point.
Dozens of people have been barred from flying on Delta airplanes for refusing to comply with the airline industry’s mask policies, Delta CEO Ed Bastian said last Friday.
ALASKA AIRLINES POLICY
Effective Aug. 7, all Alaska guests age 2 and older will be required to wear a cloth mask or face covering over their nose and mouth – with no exceptions. If a guest is unwilling or unable to wear a mask for any reason while at the airport, they will not be permitted to travel. If a guest refuses to wear a mask after boarding their flight, they will be suspended from future travel.
DELTA AIR LINES POLICY
Delta customers and employees are required to wear a face mask, or appropriate cloth face covering over their nose and mouth throughout their travel, aligning with best practice guidelines from the CDC, opens in a new window. Plastic face shields may be used in addition to a mask but are not approved mask replacements. Any mask with an exhaust valve is not approved as an acceptable face mask for customers traveling on any Delta operated flight.
Face coverings will be required across all Delta touchpoints:
- Lobby Check-in
- Delta Sky Clubs
- Boarding Gate Areas
- Jet Bridges
- On board the aircraft for the duration of the flight – except limited time while eating or drinking
Usage is strongly encouraged in high-traffic areas, including security lines and restrooms.
We’re In This Together
Ladies and gentlemen, we are all in this together. Until a proven vaccine is available, this is the “new norm”. I hear people say that wearing masks in inhibiting their freedom. You have the right to make yourself sick but you don’t have the right to make me sick. Here is what airline management is saying:
“We all need to look out for each other during this health emergency, and the best way we can do that – and prevent the spread of the virus – is to simply wear a mask or face covering when we’re around each other,” said Max Tidwell, Alaska Airlines’ vice president of safety and security. “Safety remains priority number one for Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air. Our tougher policy shows how important this issue is to us and our guests. If you don’t wear a mask, you won’t be flying with us.”
“You can’t get on the plane without wearing your mask. But we do have some customers that don’t want to keep their mask on during flight,” Bastian said Friday. “We remind them several times over the course of getting ready to take off to please keep that mask on. But if they insist upon not wearing it — we insist that they’re not going to travel on Delta today.”
Acceptable Face Coverings
Here is a list of acceptable face coverings. This is a disturbing new trend where vented face masks are being sold under the pretense of being more comfortable. To be clear, vented face masks do not comply with the face-covering requirements.
Acceptable face coverings:
- Face coverings must be made from a cloth or other barrier material that prevents the discharge and release of respiratory droplets from a person’s nose or mouth.
Unacceptable face coverings:
- Face coverings with direct exhaust valves. (These are the vented face masks.)
- Face coverings that do not cover a guest’s nose and mouth.
- Face shields without masks.
We are all in this together. If we all work together, we will get through this together. This “new norm” will be with us through the foreseeable future. Whether you are flying or not, please consider others who do not want to get sick. We will all be better off if we all work together. Thank you for wearing a mask.