Alaska Airlines Removes All Exceptions To Mask Policy

Alaska Airlines today updated its policy on mandatory mask-wearing. The changes mean that passengers will be denied permission to travel on the airline if they can’t or won’t, wear a mask. The new blanket policy has no exceptions.

Alaska Airlines, Mask Exceptions, Middle Seat
Alaska Airlines has removed all exceptions to its mask policy. Photo: Getty Images

Masks have become a hot issue on the west side of the Atlantic. Most airlines do not have a pretty robust policy on the subject. However, the government and its agencies are yet to require masks on all flights formally. Many aren’t happy with the rules, with Delta Air Lines’ no-fly list ballooning in recent weeks.

Alaska Airlines brings in new rules

To make it clearer to Alaska Airlines’ passengers where they stand on the issue of masks onboard, the American carrier has updated its policy. The headline change to the policy sees the airline banning any passenger without a mask from flying. The airline is allowing no exceptions to this rule whatsoever.

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Any person above the age of two needs to wear a mask while traveling with the airline. Alaska says that if a passenger refuses to wear a mask in the airport, they will be denied boarding.

Alaska Airlines, Mask Exceptions, Middle Seat
Passengers who don’t comply with the rules will be issued with a yellow card. Photo: Alaska Airlines

Meanwhile, if they successfully board the aircraft, then refuse to wear their mask, they will be suspended from flying with Alaska going forward. In this case, passengers will be given a final warning in the form of a yellow card. If they refuse to comply, upon landing, they will lose flying privileges. This means that connecting and return flights, as well as unrelated future bookings, will be canceled.

Certain masks banned

Like Delta Air Lines, Alaska Airlines has also gone ahead and banned specific types of masks. According to the airline, masks with valves, masks that don’t cover the nose and mouth, and face shields not accompanied by a mask will be banned. The Telegraph recently reported concern that face shields are not sufficient to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Mandatory mask policies are not something unique to US Airlines. Indeed, many airlines across the globe have implemented such policies for passengers. Simple Flying recently reported that unlike airlines across the pond, Lufthansa had seen no resistance to its mask policy. The German flag carrier first made masks mandatory on April 29th.

Alaska Airlines, Capacity, Flights Cut
Alaska Airlines will also block middle seats until at least November. Photo: Getty Images

Alongside masks, Alaska Airlines has made almost 100 changes to ensure the safety of passengers and crew. Another notable alteration sees the airlines blocked middle seat policy extended. As a result, middle seats on all of the airline’s flights will be blocked, with exceptions made for families and groups.

Blocking the middle seat is primarily constrained to US airlines as they look to restore passenger confidence in flying. Many European airlines have only been relying on masks, and still selling middle seats. Examples include Ryanair, British Airways, and Lufthansa.

What do you make of Alaska Airlines’ new mask policy changes? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!