Pre-Flight Announcements Now Remind Passengers That Face Masks Are Legally Mandated

An American Airlines Boeing 737-800 taking off

By Anna Breuer on 4 February 2021
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Flights have been delayed and diverted.  Thousands of individuals have been placed on airline no-fly lists.  Videos surfaced on social media showing people applauding after a someone not following the rules was taken away.

Until this week, while airline rules required air passengers to wear masks, the rules were by and large toothless, an issue flight attendant unions repeatedly brought up to the Trump Administration.

Now, refusing to wear a don a mask on a plane (or on a train) is a violation of federal law and an individual who refuses to wear a mask could face criminal charges.

Once at the airport and on the aircraft, travelers will be reminded that wearing a mask is now federal law and not just an airline or airport police – multiple times.  Gate agents and flight attendants at airlines in the United States will be making statements such as this in their pre-boarding and pre-departure announcements: “As a reminder, federal law requires each person to wear a mask at all times throughout the flight, including during boarding and deplaning.”

More importantly, passengers will be told that “refusing to wear a mask is a violation of federal law and may result in removal from the aircraft and/or penalties under federal law.”

Safety briefings previously adjusted to the new normal of mask-wearing as passengers clearly have to take off their face masks to put on oxygen masks in order for the latter to be effective, but it’s one more avenue through which airlines could and should reinforce the fact that wearing a mask on board is a federal law.

Meanwhile, Transportation and Safety Administration agents will be charged with enforcing mask-wearing as passengers enter security checkpoints.

“Passengers who refuse to wear a mask will not be permitted to enter the airport’s secure area, which includes the terminal and gate area,” the agency said in a news release.

The TSA said that failure to wear a proper mask could constitute one or more offenses, including “attempting to circumvent screening requirements or interfering with screening personnel.”

Travelers are required to don masks that conform to the requirements set forth by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  These rules require a mask that fits over the nose and mouth and fit snugly against the sides without a gap.  That mask cannot have any slits or exhalation valves.Face shields or goggles are not acceptable substitutes for a face mask under the rules, which apply to anyone over two years of age.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

Accura News

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