Delta Bans Hundreds Of People For Not Wearing Masks

In an internal memo to employees on Thursday, Delta Air Lines’ CEO confirmed that the airline has added around 550 people to its no-fly list. The list has been steadily increasing over recent months because of new mask rules. Delta has required all passengers to wear a mask onboard since May 1st.

Delta Air Lines
Delta has added almost 550 people to its no-fly list for refusing to wear a facemask. Photo: Getty Images

Continually adding to the list

US airlines are, in general, becoming much stricter when it comes to enforcing mask policies. At first, the lack of federal support made it difficult to force passengers to wear a mask while flying. But a solution was found quickly. Usually, the threat of a lifetime ban or joining the no-fly list is enough to persuade reluctant passengers to mask up. Importantly, airlines are allowed to ban passengers for not following regulations without any federal backup.

For any passenger still refusing, their name is added to the no-fly list. Delta Air Lines is taking this seriously, and as of Thursday this week, almost 550 names have been added to the list in under six months. According to, in a memo to employees’ CEO, Ed Bastian confirmed that,

We’ve now added a total of nearly 550 people to our no-fly list for refusing to comply with Delta’s mask requirement onboard. Fortunately, that number represents a tiny fraction of our overall customers, the vast majority of whom follow our guidelines and appreciate the steps we are taking to keep them safe and healthy.

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Delta employees
All passengers on Delta flights must wear a mask. It is not clear if passengers will be banned for life or for the duration of the policy. Photo: Delta Air Lines

No-fly lists

When it comes to wearing a mask, choosing to put people on a no-fly list is currently the airline’s choice. However, there is also a national no-fly list compiled by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Being added to this list bans you from all commercial airlines which operate in the US.

To be added to the national no-fly list, passengers have to do more than just refuse to wear a mask. Acts of terrorism, physical violence, and assault, as well as disturbing the peace, can all result in your name being added. Unlike airline no-fly lists, the national no-fly list can be added to without the incident occurring on a plane. For example, violent criminals or terrorists can be banned from flying even if they have no record of causing a scene at an airport or in the air. It is a precautionary measure.

TSA coronavirus covid
The TSA also compiles a no-fly list, which applies to all airlines operating within the US. Photo: Getty Images

Temporary or for life?

The national no-fly also differs from airline lists because the national list is usually for life. There are almost no cases where someone who has been banned is allowed to fly again. There are, of course, cases of mistaken identity. Passengers with the same name as someone on the list are temporarily prevented from flying, but generally, this is resolved quickly.

On the other hand, airlines are free to add and remove names at will. So far, the major US airlines haven’t commented on whether the recent additions to their lists will be permanent. The face-mask bans could only last as long as the airline has a face mask policy.

Do you think passengers traveling without a mask should be banned for life, or just while the policy is in place? Please get in touch and let us know what you think.