Southwest And American Airlines Tighten Their Mask Requirements By Ending Exemptions

A person carrying a masks prepares to board a Southwest Airlines flight at Kansas City International airport in Kansas City, Mo. Southwest and American Airlines are tightening their masks necessities on the finish of July by taking away exemptions for vacationers over the age of two. Charlie Riedel/AP conceal caption

toggle caption

Charlie Riedel/AP

A person carrying a masks prepares to board a Southwest Airlines flight at Kansas City International airport in Kansas City, Mo. Southwest and American Airlines are tightening their masks necessities on the finish of July by taking away exemptions for vacationers over the age of two.

Charlie Riedel/AP

The face masking necessities on two main U.S. airways simply received stricter, with Southwest and American Airlines saying this week they may finish exemptions and step up enforcement.

“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention one of the best ways we can slow the spread of COVID-19 is to wear a face covering,” mentioned Alison Taylor, the chief buyer officer of American Airlines. “Customers and team members have been clear that they feel more safe when everyone is wearing a face covering.”

Effective July 29, American Airlines would require all clients over the age of two to put on face coverings on board and at airports, citing the danger of asymptomatic COVID-19 transmission.

The firm mentioned in a press release that people should preserve their masks on from the time they enter their departure airport to the time they exit their arrival airport, apart from whereas consuming or ingesting.

“Those unwilling to comply with this face covering requirement at any time during their journey with American may be barred from future travel for the duration of this face covering requirement,” it added.

Southwest Airlines is implementing a similar policy on July 27, requiring all clients over the age of two to masks up at each stage of the journey course of from check-in to baggage declare, apart from “very brief” cases when consuming and ingesting.

The firm is encouraging clients to carry their very own face coverings, however mentioned it should have masks out there at airports upon request.

“If a Customer is unable to wear a face covering for any reason (even a verifiable medical condition), we regret that we are unable to transport the Customer at this time,” Southwest wrote on its website.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends folks put on face coverings in public to assist forestall the unfold of COVID-19. It acknowledges some exceptions, similar to for youngsters below the age of two and anybody who “has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.”

According to the CDC, face coverings might not be possible for everybody and will even exacerbate sure bodily or psychological well being situations. For occasion, masks might current a problem for folks with mental and developmental disabilities or people who find themselves onerous of listening to and depend on lipreading to speak.

Still, privacy regulations imply that passengers might theoretically declare {that a} medical situation prevented them from masking up, with out having to supply proof.

Southwest President Tom Nealon mentioned on a name with reporters and business analysts on Thursday that there have been points with face masking compliance up to now.

“The reason we’re doing this is we’re simply seeing too many exceptions to the policy and it has put our flight crews in a really tough spot,” he mentioned. “It also made our customers pretty uncomfortable, so this is something that goes into effect next week.”

Delta Airlines additionally introduced current adjustments to its face masking requirement, particularly relating to the method of granting medical exceptions.

As of July 20, clients who report having underlying situations that forestall them from carrying masks should full a radical Clearance-To-Fly course of for every journey. The course of includes a digital session with a third-party medical skilled, facilitated by a Delta agent, and may take as much as an hour.

In a press launch, Delta inspired clients who can not put on masks as a consequence of a well being situation to rethink journey altogether.

CEO Ed Bastian repeated this message in a Today Show appearance on Wednesday, and spoke of how the airline has “steadily and rather aggressively” elevated enforcement of its masks requirement.

“You cannot board a Delta plane unless you have a mask on,” Bastian mentioned. “If you board the plane and you insist on not wearing your mask, we will insist that you don’t fly Delta, into the future. We already have over 100 people we put on that list.”

Most main airways within the U.S. started requiring passengers to put on face coverings whereas flying in April, and ramped up enforcement in mid-June amid rising calls from flight attendant unions, shopper teams and congressional Democrats for a federal requirement.

Federal COVID-19 tips encourage folks to put on masks whereas flying and urge airways to depart some seats empty for security causes, however the Trump administration has not made these actions obligatory.

Southwest CEO Gary Kelly mentioned on Thursday that he doesn’t need such a requirement.

“I don’t agree with mandating masks for airline travel and singling it out,” he mentioned. “I think if we’re going to mandate masks, let’s mandate masks everywhere.”

David Schaper contributed to this report.

Leave a Comment

Item added to cart.
0 items - $0.00