Airlines for America (A4A), the industry trade organization which represents the biggest airlines in the US, warned Monday that passengers need to comply with face mask requirements or they could face a flight ban.
Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines have all begun to implement new policies regarding the use of face masks, according to a statement from A4A.
“US 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,” A4A President and CEO Nicholas Calio said in the statement.
Airlines will begin to ask customers to acknowledge face mask rules during the check-in process, announce onboard the face mask rules, and will implement consequences for noncompliance.
All passengers are required to wear a face mask throughout the travel on the airlines, and are warned that they should stay home if they are ill and frequently wash their hands.
“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,” Calio added.
Face masks have been identified as a critical component in the ongoing fight against the coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed over 437,000 lives worldwide.
The advice on face mask use has not always been clear, however, with health authorities telling the public early on in the pandemic that wearing a face mask is generally unnecessary.
This position has since been reversed, with governments and international bodies asking everyone to wear fabric face masks in public places to prevent the spread of infection.