Delta has banned a 100 people from flying with the carrier over non-compliance with its mask requirements. The airline has a strict policy requiring everyone to wear that mask in all Delta facilities, from lounges to on the flight. Unlike some carriers, it seems Delta is enforcing this policy too, with CEO Ed Bastian saying, “If you board the plane and you insist on not wearing your mask, we will insist that you don’t fly Delta into the future.”
Nearly every major US airline has now announced policies requiring masks to be worn on board. However, in reality, airlines have hesitated in enforcing these policies in the past, risking passenger safety in the process. It’s clear that airlines need to go further in implementing these policies.
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Delta is stepping up its commitment to masks. After a period of inaction, the airline has begun strictly enforcing that masks be worn before and during the flight. According to the official policy, Delta requires that passengers wear masks at all points of contact, including the check-in desks, Sky Clubs, boarding area, and on the plane.
For those who do not wish to wear a mask while flying the airline, Delta is taking action. The airline holds the right to refuse boarding and may ban those who violate the policy from flying Delta again. According to CEO Ed Bastion, the airline has already banned 100 people from flying the airline again for violating the mask mandate.
Passenger confidence remains important
Delta’s push to mandate face masks is a part of a broader effort to bolster consumer confidence in flying. Delta and JetBlue are the few airlines still blocking middle seats to promote social distancing onboard. While there is a debate about the health benefits of blocking the middle seat, it’s clear that it helps passenger confidence.
Other airlines have been quick to ditch their social distancing policies as demand grows, with both United and American now selling their flights to capacity. However, Delta has continued to block the middle seat through September, banking on traveler confidence, and good PR.
With the airline now banning people for mask non-compliance, could the confidence outweigh the economics?
More airlines to follow
As passenger levels begin to plateau, airlines are desperately looking for more ways to bring passengers back. It seems that face mask rules have become an essential part of the safety strategy. It’s also clear that airlines are now willing to ban passengers who refuse to wear a mask in order to calm other travelers, after months of hesitation.
United recently announced that it would require passengers to also wear a mask in the airport or risk being banned. In the coming weeks, we will likely see more airlines double down on their current policies as they try to attract people to fly during the pandemic.