U.S. Airline Face Mask Policies Have Become Stricter since JetBlue first required face masks for all passengers, back in May. While there's still no federal mask mandate, airlines, as private companies, are able to set their own requirements for passengers wishing to fly. And while airline middle seat policies differ–United and American Airlines aren't blocking middle seats, while Delta and JetBlue still are–face mask policies are in greater alignment. Here are the current policies by airline:
American Airlines' face mask policy requires all passengers over 2 years old to wear a face mask at the airport and while on board the aircraft. No exemptions are permitted for passengers over 2 years old. As with other airline policies, the only time a passenger may remove the face covering is while eating or drinking. Those who don't comply may be barred from flying AA while the mandatory face mask policy remains in place.
United Airlines requires all passengers age 2 and older to wear a mask or face covering that covers the passenger's nose and mouth. Masks with exhaust valves are not permitted. If a passenger does not have a suitable mask, s/he will be given a disposable mask to wear.
Masks must be worn not only on the flight, but also in the airport, including during check-in, at customer service counters, at gates, baggage claim, and in United Club lounges.
United may ban passengers who refuse to wear face masks from future United flights, while the face mask mandate remains in place.
Delta Airlines requires all passengers age 2 and older to wear a mask or face covering that covers the nose and mouth. Masks with exhaust valves are not permitted. Passengers that for medical reasons are unable to wear a mask are encourage to reconsider flying, and if they must fly, they must arrive at the airport at least an hour earlier to undergo a Clearance to Fly process (see Delta: For Face Mask Exemption Must Have Pre-Flight Medical Evaluation).
Delta requires face masks not only on the flight itself, but also during airport check-in, in Delta Sky Clubs, at the boarding gate, and while boarding in the jet bridge.
At time of writing, Delta has banned over 120 passengers from flying Delta, for non-compliance with Delta's face mask policy.
Effective August 10, 2020, all JetBlue passengers (with the exception of children age 2 and younger) must correctly wear a face covering that covers his/her nose and mouth. The airline will not allow a face mask with a vent or exhaust valve.
If a flight crew members identifies a face covering or mask that does not appear sufficient based on its features or potential lack of protection, the crew will provide a mask for the passenger to use instead.
Any passenger who doesn't wear a suitable face covering will not be allowed to board, and any passenger who doesn't follow crew member requests to wear a face covering will be reviewed and may not be permitted to fly on future JetBlue flights. No exemptions will be permitted for any passengers except for those age 2 and younger.
Alaska Airlines as of August 7 requires all passengers age 2 and older to wear a face mask or cloth mask that covers the mouth and nose at all times during the flight and at the airport. Passengers who do not comply will not be permitted to board, and those who refuse to wear a mask after boarding will be suspended from future travel, including their return flight on Alaska, if this occurs on their outbound flight.
While uncooperative passengers will receive a refund for their unused Alaska flight(s), it will be their responsibility to make and pay for alternative travel arrangements.
As with JetBlue and other airlines, Alaska does not permit face masks that have direct exhaust valves, or face shields that are worn without masks. All masks must cover the passenger's nose and mouth.
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