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Video: American Airlines Boots Passenger for Not Wearing Face Covering to Round of Applause

Video: American Airlines Boots Passenger for Not Wearing Face Covering to Round of Applause

Major U.S. airlines are trying to make their policies on the wearing of face masks or suitable coverings crystal clear – if you don’t wear one, don’t expect to fly. The problem, it seems, is that some passengers still haven’t got the memo and are still trying to get on an airplane while skirting the rules. The airlines have had enough and are increasingly eager to enforce the rules in lieu of a federal mandate.

And it appears that fellow travellers are in agreement with the likes of Delta and American Airlines. On Tuesday, one video posted on Twitter showed a female passenger being booted from an American Airlines flight shortly before departure simply because she refused to wear a face mask.

Other passengers clapped in applause at the airline’s tough stance as she gathered her belongings and was made to get off the plane. While American hasn’t commented on the specifics of this case it’s likely that she’ll be added to a ‘no-fly’ list of banned passengers. The ban will last for at least as long as the mandatory face-covering rules remain in force.

After introducing mandatory face mask rules in May for both passengers and crew, American initially took a hands-off approach to the policy, telling flight attendants not to enforce the rules once a passenger was onboard and being wary of upsetting passengers with possible medical exemptions.

But with passenger confidence in the safety of air travel still in a deep slump and a spike in COVID-19 cases across the United States putting renewed pressures on airlines, American has seemingly had enough.

In June, American joined several other major carriers in saying it would ban passengers who refused to wear a mask onboard its flight. Within days, several passengers had been added to the no-fly list. So far, Delta Air Lines claims more than 100 passengers have been indefinitely banned for their refusal to comply with the rules.

And on Wednesday, the Dallas Fort Worth-based airline said all passengers over the age of two would be required to wear a face mask. There are no exemptions for people with medical conditions who are now being encouraged to stay at home or find an alternative form of transport.

“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,” explained American’s chief customer officer, Alison Taylor. “Customers and team members have been clear that they feel more safe when everyone is wearing a face covering,” she continued.

Federal authorities have so far declined to mandate the wearing of face masks onboard aircraft or in airports at a national level so the level of enforcement action that an airline can take is limited. In contrast, airline face mask laws have been introduced in Canada, as well as a number of European countries including Italy, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

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