Delta Air Lines will require passengers to wear a face mask or covering during every point in their journey from May 4, while American Airlines today announced it too would make mask-wearing mandatory for passengers starting May 11. The decision by two of the biggest airlines in the United States brings them in line with policies already implemented by jetBlue and Frontier.
Both Delta and American cited advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for bringing in the requirement to make passengers wear masks. While passengers are encouraged to bring their own mask or cloth face coverings fashioned from household items, Delta and American will also make masks available to customers.
The CDC has advised the American people to wear a face mask or covering whenever they are in a public environment where maintaining adequate social distancing isn’t possible. A face mask can “help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others” and is most effective when everyone is wearing a mask.
“We ask customers to bring their own masks or face coverings they’re comfortable with when they travel,” explained American’s SVP for customer experience Kurt Stache but he said the airline was “working to procure face masks and hand sanitizer as a supplement.”
Delta’s chief customer experience officer Bill Lentsch, meanwhile, said its decision to enforce mandatory face covering was because “nothing is more important than the health and safety of our people and our customers.”
Passengers flying with Delta will be expected to wear a mask at all touchpoints in their journey – starting at check-in and continuing through to Delta Sky Clubs, boarding gates, jetties and onboard its planes. Passengers will only be allowed to remove their mask for meal services and children are exempt from the rules.
Delta said it was a “temporary requirement” but did not detail when the policy might be rescinded. The Atlanta-based airline’s flight attendants are already expected to wear face masks and American’s crew members will need to start wearing a face mask from May 1.
American will start producing reusable face masks for its flights attendants out of the same material used for its new-look uniform which was launched in March.
United has decided not to make passengers wear face masks for now but the airline says it will strongly encourage customers to cover up.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.