United Gets Serious About Face Mask Policies While Other Airlines Hem and Haw

By Paul Riegler on 15 June 2020
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United Airlines check-in area at the new LaGuardia Central Terminal

Seven major U.S. airlines said  late Monday that they will strengthen their policies that require passengers to wear face masks while on board the aircraft, although only one airline said what the consequences of non-compliance would be.

Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, and United Airlines issued a joint statement that outlines the steps they would take to require compliance with previously announced mask policies. 

While the joint statement said there would be repercussions, only United Airlines has so far announced what the consequences for non-compliance will be.

“We’re prepared to take serious steps, if necessary, to protect our customers and crew,” said the airline’s chief customer officer, Toby Enqvist.

Effective Thursday, a United passenger who does not comply with the airline’s mask policy when onboard a flight will be placed on an internal travel restriction list that will result in the loss of travel privileges on United.  The duration of time for which the individual will be on the list will be individually determined following a review of the incident that led to the loss of privileges.

The steps outlined in the joint statement, which was issued on their behalf by Airlines for America, an industry trade group representing major U.S. carriers, were far less specific than what United said it would undertake.

Prior to the flight, an airline will inform each passenger of the policy in some manner, and the airline may, at its option, require the passenger to acknowledge these policies and rules during the check-in process.  Once a flight has boarded, cabin crew will restate the policy including any repercussions a passenger might face for violating it.

Finally, each airline is on its own for determining what if any consequences a passenger will face for non-compliance.  Only United has announced specific repercussions, however.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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