Update: Passengers Must Wear Face Coverings or Masks With These Airlines Based in the United States

Steve Cohen — who is a Democratic member of the House of Representatives of the United States serving the ninth district of Tennessee and a senior member of the Aviation Subcommittee of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure — is one of the lawmakers who wrote a letter urging that passengers should be required to use face masks while aboard airplanes to mitigate the spread of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus in air travel to key people who head four departments of the federal government of the United States…

Passengers Must Wear Face Coverings or Masks With These Airlines Based in the United States

…but action as a result of that letter may not be necessary, as several airlines which are based in the United States have already enacted their own policies of requiring passengers to wear face coverings or masks that cover their mouths and noses while aboard their airplanes.

At the time this article was written, the airlines which have announced these requirements include:

Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines

Photograph ©2013 by Brian Cohen.

Alaska Airlines will require that all customers wear a face covering or mask while on board the aircraft while traveling effective as of Monday, May 11, 2020. Although customers will be expected to bring their own masks and will be required to wear them throughout the airport and flight experience, additional supplies will be available for those passengers who forget their face masks. Exempt from the requirement of this new policy are very young passengers — including children — and those passengers with conditions which prevent them from wearing a face covering or mask.

American Airlines

American Airlines

Photograph ©2019 by Brian Cohen.

American Airlines will require that all customers wear a face covering or mask while on board the aircraft while traveling effective as of Monday, May 11, 2020. Exempt from the requirement of this new policy are:

  • Very young passengers — including children
  • Those passengers with conditions which prevent them from wearing a face covering
  • Masks will not be required at other points along the journey — including
    • When checking in for the flight
    • During boarding

Delta Air Lines

Delta Air Lines bankruptcy emergence Salt Lake City

Photograph ©2007 by Brian Cohen.

Delta Air Lines will require that all customers wear a face covering or mask — which will be provided to passengers who do not bring their own face covering or mask — effective as of Monday, May 4, 2020:

  • During the process of checking in for the flight
  • During the boarding process
  • While on board the aircraft
  • While at baggage claim
  • In Delta Sky Club airport lounges
  • Exempt from the requirement of this new policy are:
    • Very young passengers — including children
    • Those passengers with conditions which prevent them from wearing a face covering
    • Masks will not be required during meal service

Frontier Airlines

Frontier Airlines

Photograph ©2018 by Brian Cohen.

Frontier Airlines will require that all customers wear a face covering or mask effective as of Friday, May 8, 2020:

  • At all ticket counters
  • At all gate areas
  • While on board the aircraft
  • Exempt from the requirement of this new policy are very young passengers — including children — who are unable to maintain a face covering or mask

JetBlue Airways

JetBlue Airways Airbus A320-232 aircraft

Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

As first reported in this article here at The Gate on Thursday, April 28, 2020, JetBlue Airways will require that all customers wear a face covering or mask effective while on board the aircraft as of Monday, May 4, 2020:

  • During the process of checking in for the flight
  • During the boarding process
  • While on board the aircraft
  • Leaving the aircraft
  • Exempt from the requirement of this new policy are very young passengers — including children — who are unable to maintain a face covering or mask

United Airlines

United Airlines

Photograph ©2016 by Brian Cohen.

United Airlines will require that all customers wear a face covering or mask — which will be provided to passengers who do not bring their own face covering or mask — effective as of Monday, May 4, 2020. Exempt from the requirement of this new policy are very young passengers — including children — and those passengers with conditions which prevent them from wearing a face covering or mask.

Summary

Both the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention initially advised against wearing face masks in response to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic, as they were deemed not necessary in order to stay healthy…

…but then on Friday, April 3, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an advisory with the recommendation of covering your face with a simple cloth face covering — such as a scarf as one of many examples — in order to slow the spread of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus in the United States.

That the six aforementioned airlines followed suit by implementing their own requirements was not unexpected — do not be surprised if the remaining airlines follow suit with their own policies — but as the official press releases of some of the airlines seem to indicate that wearing facial coverings and masks is considered part of the etiquette of flying as passengers aboard the airplanes of commercial airlines, does this mean that the new policies are now permanent?

All photographs ©2007, ©2013, ©2014, ©2016, ©2018, and ©2019 by Brian Cohen. Graphic ©2016 by Brian Cohen.

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