Airlines threaten to ban passengers from rejecting masks

What previously could have been interpreted as a suggestion is now becoming a reality for many airline travelers.

a woman sitting on a bus: face masks are largely mandatory on board flights in the midst of COVID-19.

© iStock / Getty Images Plus / Viktor_Gladkov
Facial masks are largely mandatory on board flights in the midst of COVID-19.

American carriers are cracking down on passengers who don’t wear face masks on board flights and have begun to ban some travelers who refuse. Airlines had been lax in enforcing the rule, leading many ticket holders to believe that wearing a mask was a personal choice.

Delta Air Lines is the last airline to shoot down the hammer, according to CNN.

“So far, fortunately there have only been a handful of cases, but we have already banned some passengers from traveling in Delta in the future for refusing to wear masks on board,” CEO Ed Bastian wrote in a memo to Delta employees on Thursday. .

American Airlines has already banned a passenger, Brandon Straka, who was removed from a flight from New York to Dallas for refusing to wear a mask. Straka will be allowed to fly back into the United States only when the policy requiring masks is lifted.

United, which last week announced a policy to ban passengers on future flights that do not meet the mask requirement, confirmed Thursday that it had also taken that step.

Therefore, airlines are working harder on the issue, but they are not working together.

CNN noted that carriers are not sharing information with each other, so a passenger who is prohibited from Delta can make a reservation at American, and a passenger prohibited from American could make a reservation at United, and so on.

“Parts of the country have seen a resurgence of Covid-19, and this week new cases across the country grew to their highest level since April,” Bastian wrote. “This is why it is more important than ever to adhere to the safety and health guidelines we have established to keep you safe. One of the most effective measures we have is to wear a mask, which numerous studies have shown can delay the spread of the virus. We take a mask requirement very seriously. “