American, Delta, Frontier to require passengers to wear face masks

(CNN) — Today three major US airlines separately announced they were going to require their passengers to wear masks.

Two days after Jet Blue became the first major airline to announce this change, these three US airlines followed suit, releasing statements explaining their new policies.

Earlier this week Delta communicated that airline employees were now required to wear face masks and stated that passengers “were strongly encouraged” to cover their faces. Today, Delta released a new statement, pivoting from encouraging face masks to requiring them on all passenger flights starting May 4, the same date as Jet Blue.

Bill Lentsch, Delta’s Chief Customer Experience Officer said in the statement, “While we remain committed to our new standard of clean and to providing more space for our customers when they travel, we take seriously the CDC guidelines for adding this extra layer of protection. We believe this change will give customers and employees some additional comfort when traveling with us.”

American Airlines made similar announcements, earlier this week regarding flight attendants wearing masks, and today extending that requirement to passengers. “American Airlines will soon require all customers traveling to wear a face covering (or mask) while on board the aircraft starting May 11,” their statement read. “This new requirement is part of the airline’s ongoing commitment to prioritizing customer and team member well-being in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.”

American says they are building on their safety measures, including offering masks and sanitizing wipes to passengers on select flights. The airline goes on to add that it may take a few weeks to roll out these provisions across their operation, and in the interim, “customers should bring their own masks or face coverings.”

This morning Frontier Airlines, a smaller, Denver-based carrier, announced its increased protections. “Frontier Airlines will begin requiring that passengers wear a face covering over their nose and mouth at the airline’s ticket counters, gate areas and onboard Frontier aircraft, effective May 8, 2020. Face coverings have been required for Frontier flight crews since April 13.”

The airline is also blocking every other row and have implemented a program that requires passengers to agree to a “health acknowledgment” before checking in, to certify that they have not been exposed to Covid-19, that they do not have a temperature and promise to wash their hands before boarding.

These additional measures are welcome, particularly by at-risk flight attendants.

AFA President Sara Nelson, representing 50,000 flight attendants from 20 airlines, including United and Frontier added, “We’re happy to see airlines taking action to require masks or face coverings for passengers, crew and other frontline employees. We continue to call on the federal government — whether it be DOT, FAA, DHS, CDC — to require masks for crew, frontline employees and all passengers.”



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