Delta Air Lines has become the latest U.S. carrier to confirm that it will allow passengers previously banned for refusing to comply with face mask rules to return to the skies following the removal of the CDC’s face mask mandate. Around 2,000 anti-masker passengers were banned by Delta throughout the course of the pandemic but flight privileges will only be restored on a case-by-case basis.
A spokesperson for Delta said passengers currently on the anti-masker no-fly list would be cleared to fly “only after each case is reviewed and each customer demonstrates an understanding of their expected behavior when flying with us.”
“Any further disregard for the policies that keep us all safe will result in placement on Delta’s permanent no-fly list,” the statement continued. A second no-fly list of around 1,000 passengers who “demonstrated egregious behavior” has been made permanent and those passengers will never be allowed to fly with Delta again.
On Tuesday, United Airlines also said it was reviewing its no-fly list of anti-maskers on a “case-by-case” basis. United banned around 1,000 passengers for mask compliance issues but the airline set the bar higher when it issued a ban so the number of passengers who have flight privileges restored is expected to be comparatively less than at Delta.
Passengers will only be removed from the ‘no-fly’ list “after ensuring their commitment to follow all crew member instructions on board”.
Just hours after the face mask mandate was vacated, Alaska Airlines confirmed it would allow previously banned passengers to return to flying. The only exception will be for passengers who displaced the most “egregious behavior”.
The decision ties in with statements made by the likes of Delta and United that passengers who were banned for face mask non-compliance would only be banned while face mask rules were in existence. Airlines introduced face mask regulations long before the CDC’s federal face mask mandate but maintained their no-fly lists even when they started to oppose the mandate.
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.