Fewer than 30 passengers have been banned from United Airlines flights for refusing to wear a mask while on its planes, the airline said Wednesday.
United and other major US airlines rolled out policies in mid-June threatening a ban for any passenger who refuses to wear a mask onboard their planes. United’s policy calls for airline officials to conduct an investigation and consider a ban when the passenger does not comply with crew member instructions.
United announced this morning its mask requirement will soon expand to include airports – from check-in through baggage claim. Until now, it has only required passengers wear masks when boarding and while aboard planes. Some airports already require the wearing of masks under local rules for public facilities. It is also requiring passengers who want to claim an “extraordinary circumstances” exemption from the mask requirement receive permission from United.
United executives said on a call with reporters that most passengers are complying with the requirements, and that the bans will be lifted when the mask requirement is rescinded.
The officials also said fewer than 1% of customers are changing their flight plans when informed their plane will be more than 70% full. United, at times, sells flights until they are filled up, but says it informs passengers when it happens so they are able to rebook. Other carriers have limited the number of passengers on a given flight.
There is no federal requirement that passengers wear masks aboard planes.