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Both Alaska Airlines and JetBlue are taking harder lines on their facial covering policies, removing exemptions for passengers over the age of 2.
Alaska's new policy begins Friday, at which point passengers will not be allowed to travel if they will not or cannot wear a facial covering, and passengers who refuse to wear them after boarding will be suspended from future travel with the carrier. Alaska already had introduced a policy in which passengers not wearing facial coverings on board received a "yellow card" final warning. Alaska now will suspend flying privileges for any passenger who does not wear a facial covering after receiving a card immediately upon landing, including any connecting or return flights.
JetBlue's no-exemption policy begins Aug. 10, which the carrier said was based on information from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and its own medical experts. Passengers not wearing facial coverings will not be allowed to board, and those who refuse to wear them during flights "will be reviewed for future travel on JetBlue," according to the carrier.
The new policies put Alaska and JetBlue in line with Southwest Airlines and American Airlines, each of which last month announced no-exception rules to their facial covering requirements. United Airlines' policy allows exemptions only in "extraordinary circumstances" approved by the carrier, and Delta Air Lines is requiring any passenger claiming an exemption to go through a consulting process with a third-party medical consultant before all trips.
Both JetBlue and Alaska also now say masks with vents or exhalation valves are not acceptable. Both carriers are providing masks to those passengers whose facial coverings are not within their guidelines.
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