Delta has backtracked on its previous comments regarding mask-wearing. On Tuesday, Simple Flying reported that Delta’s CEO said that passengers would not be removed from flights for not observing the rules on wearing a mask. However, this itself was a backtrack from a previous statement made by the airline.
It has become a standard policy among US airlines to require masks onboard aircraft. Indeed, Delta has already banned passengers for refusing to comply. This is despite the wearing of face coverings not being mandated by the US Government, unlike some other countries.
American Airlines has already had an incident involving a gentleman who didn’t want to wear a mask on board. Another passenger on WestJet recently got in trouble for removing his mask. However, prosecutors were more upset at the fact that he had done so to start smoking.
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Delta’s latest policy
Delta’s latest policy on wearing masks was revealed in an internal memo by the airline’s CEO Ed Bastian today. In the note seen by Simple Flying, Bastian said,
“We take the requirement to wear a mask very seriously. Customers who choose not to comply with this or any other safety requirement risk losing their future flight privileges with Delta. So far, there have thankfully only been a handful of cases, but we have already banned some passengers from future travel on Delta for refusing to wear masks on board.”
In line with other carriers
This policy on banning passengers for refusing to wear masks has brought Delta Air Lines in line with all of the other major United States carriers. As early as April, the aviation body IATA was advocating for mandatory masks onboard flights. The group highlighted that this would mean social distancing could be scrapped onboard flights.
While the Airlines for America group has now followed IATA in making the nose and mouth coverings essential, it hasn’t taken the same approach with social distancing. Many US airlines are still implementing the practice and will continue to do so until October. Simple Flying earlier questioned whether US air passengers should be told to pay if they want a middle seat free.
The most effective measure
In his memo, Bastian identified wearing masks as one of the most effective measures in combatting the current pandemic on aircraft. He added that numerous studies have shown that they can slow the spread of the virus.
Showing how serious he is about the policy, Bastian previously likened refusing to wear a mask on an aircraft to refusing to wear a seatbelt during take-off in terms of seriousness. Finally, he added that the current guidelines implemented onboard Delta are intended to keep crew and passengers safe.
What do you make of Delta’s latest mask policy clarification? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.