Major US airlines announced they intend to more strictly enforce mask wearing aboard their planes, including potentially banning passengers who refuse to wear a mask.
The announcement comes in lieu of a federal regulation requiring all passengers to wear masks – the sort of enforceable measure that governs requirements to wear seatbelts and not smoke.
Seven major airlines – including American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines – pledged to roll out new policies requiring masks, enforced with a penalty as severe as a ban on flying with that particular airline.
“Each carrier will determine the appropriate consequences for passengers who are found to be in noncompliance of the airline’s face covering policy up to and including suspension of flying privileges on that airline,” said Airlines for America, the carriers’ industry group.
The lack of federal action has driven the airlines to act, according to a source familiar with the discussions. The airlines are expected to lay out specific policies as well as enforcement procedures for crewmembers to follow in the coming days, the source said.