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Major U.S. airlines are cracking down on passengers who refuse to wear masks as domestic travel picks up amid the ongoing pandemic, with Delta, United and American all explaining Wednesday they won’t hesitate to put violators on their ‘no-fly’ lists.
Delta CEO Ed Bastian told NBC on Wednesday morning that the airline has already put over 100 people on its no-fly list for refusing to wear masks.
Bastian, whose airline has required face-coverings on flights since May 1, said: “If you board the plane and you insist on not wearing your mask, we will insist that you don’t fly Delta in the future.”
United Airlines expanded its own policy on Wednesday, announcing that passengers will be required to wear face-coverings while in the more than 360 airports where it operates—including at kiosks and customer service counters—as well as on flights.
United noted that customers will be offered a free mask if they aren’t wearing one and if they fail to comply: “may be refused travel and banned from flying United at least while the mask requirement is in place.”
American Airlines was the first known airline to block a passenger in June, telling Forbes that it has since added more customers to its “no-fly” list, though it refused to specify how many.
“The most important thing any of us can do to slow the spread of the coronavirus is simply wear a mask when we’re around other people,” said United Airlines Chief Executive Scott Kirby.
As air travel began to pick back up over the past month, airlines have scrambled to develop policies keeping coronavirus-fearing customers safe. Though all major airlines have required customers to wear masks on board since May 1, numerous viral social media posts and reports show the rules are sometimes ignored. Airlines have also diverged in their approaches to filling planes, with some blocking strategic seats to offer more space while others fill the cabins to capacity.
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