American & United Require Passengers To Wear Masks Or Do-Not-Fly List Awaits

10 Comments

Airlines in the United States have requested and strongly suggested that passengers should use masks on flights, but there has been effectively no enforcement, and flight attendants have been mostly asked to look away.

Airlines for America, industry lobbying group, announced on Monday that their member airlines would begin “vigorously” enforcing the face-covering requirements. United and American announced that they would put non-complying passengers on their internal do-not-fly lists.

You can access United’s page for enhanced processes here and American’s here.

Here’s the announcement from Airlines for America:

WASHINGTON, June 15, 2020 – Today, Airlines for America (A4A), the industry trade organization representing the leading U.S. airlines, announced that its member carriers will be vigorously enforcing face covering policies, putting rigor around rules requiring passengers and customer-facing employees to wear facial coverings over their nose and mouth. This is one critical element of the multiple layers that A4A carriers are implementing to mitigate risk and protect passengers and crew.

Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines will be implementing the following policy updates regarding face coverings:

  1. Preflight Communications: Each airline will clearly articulate its individual face covering policy in communications with customers, which may require passengers to acknowledge the specific rules during the check-in process.
  2. Onboard Announcements: Onboard the aircraft, crew members will announce specific details regarding the carrier’s face covering policy including the consequences passengers could face for violating the policy.
  3. Consequences for Noncompliance: Each carrier will determine the appropriate consequences for passengers who are found to be in noncompliance of the airline’s face covering policy up to and including suspension of flying privileges on that airline.

“U.S. airlines are very serious about requiring face coverings on their flights. Carriers are stepping up enforcement of face coverings and implementing substantial consequences for those who do not comply with the rules,” said A4A President and CEO Nicholas E. Calio. “Face coverings are one of several public health measures recommended by the CDC as an important layer of protection for passengers and customer-facing employees.”

The new measures are expected to remain in place throughout the COVID-19 public health crisis.

Here’s the announcement from United:

CHICAGO, June 15, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — United Airlines announced today that, along with other Airlines for America (A4A) members, it will strengthen mandatory mask policies to further mitigate against the spread of COVID-19 and help continue to keep passengers and crew safe. While the overwhelming majority of passengers are complying with United’s mandatory policy, starting on June 18, any passenger that does not comply when onboard a United flight will be placed on an internal travel restriction list. Customers on this list will lose their travel privileges on United for a duration of time to be determined pending a comprehensive incident review.

United currently requires all passengers to wear a face covering onboard its flights and expects that policy to remain in place for at least the next 60 days. The only exceptions to this policy are individuals who have a medical condition or a disability that prevents them from wearing a face covering, those who cannot put on or remove a face covering themselves and small children. Customers are expected to wear a mask for the duration of the flight, except when eating or drinking.

“Every reputable heath institution says wearing a mask is one of the most effective things people can do to protect others from contracting COVID-19, especially in places like an aircraft where social distancing is a challenge,” said United’s Chief Customer Officer, Toby Enqvist. “We have been requiring our customers to wear masks onboard United aircraft since May 4 and we have been pleased that the overwhelming majority of passengers readily comply with our policy. Today’s announcement is an unmistakable signal that we’re prepared to take serious steps, if necessary, to protect our customers and crew.”

Under this new policy, if a flight attendant notices or is informed of a customer onboard who is not wearing a face covering and that passenger does not fall within an exception, the flight attendant will proactively inform the customer that for the health and safety of everyone, face coverings are mandatory for all customers and crew on board. They will also offer to provide the customer with a mask if needed. If the customer continues to be non-compliant, flight attendants will do their best to de-escalate the situation, again inform the customer of United’s policy, and provide the passenger with an In-Flight Mask policy reminder card. If a customer continues to not comply, the flight attendant will file a report of the incident, which will initiate a formal review process. Any final decision or actions regarding a customer’s future flight benefits will not occur onboard but instead take place after the flight has reached its destination and the security team has investigated the incident.

“U.S. airlines are very serious about requiring face coverings on their flights. Carriers are stepping up enforcement of face coverings and implementing substantial consequences for those who do not comply with the rules,” said A4A President and CEO Nicholas E. Calio. “Face coverings are one of several public health measures recommended by the CDC as an important layer of protection for passengers and customer-facing employees.”

In April, United became the first major U.S.-based airline to require flight attendants to wear a face mask while on duty, and beginning in May, expanded that mandate to include all employees and customers on board. This includes front-line workers like pilots, customer service agents and ramp workers when on board an aircraft, along with any other United employees traveling using their flight benefits.

“Wearing a mask is a critical part of helping make air travel safer,” said Dr. James Merlino, Chief Clinical Transformation Officer at Cleveland Clinic. “The more people in a given space wearing masks, the fewer viral particles are making it into the space around them, decreasing exposure and risk.”

Here’s the announcement from American:

American Airlines announced a stronger policy for customer face coverings today as part of its commitment to the safety and well-being of customers and team members.

American, like other U.S. airlines, already requires customers to wear a face covering while on board aircraft. American already enforces this policy at the gate and will deny boarding to customers who don’t comply. American now may also deny future travel for customers who refuse to wear a face covering. American made this change after working in conjunction with Airlines for America on an industrywide response.

We believe the face covering requirement is important, so customers will notice more reminders of our policy as they travel with us, both at the airport and in flight.

Some passengers are exempt from the face covering requirement, such as young children and those with a disability or medical reason for why they cannot wear a face covering. The policy also does not apply while eating or drinking.

Details of the updated policy for face coverings will be communicated to American Airlines team members this week, and the policy will go into effect June 16. American also requires team members to wear face coverings while at work.

Conclusion

There have been widespread issues with passengers not using face masks on flights with US carriers, as these “requirements,” for now, have merely been suggestions and flight attendants instructed not to engage.

You have to give United and American credit for doing the right thing and what is within their control. An airline cannot force you to wear one, but they can decide whether you can fly with them in the future. If a passenger feels that they do not want to wear a face mask, they can always choose to fly private.

I just checked, and there were no releases by either Southwest or Delta about this. Perhaps they didn’t get the memo?

If you enjoyed this article, get our blog updates for free!

Previous articleChoice Canada Hotels 35% – 40% Off Through September 30, 2020 (Book By June 21)
Next articleMarriott Bonvoy Germany, Austria & Switzerland Luxury Offer Through September 30, 2020

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE