Low-Cost Frontier Becomes The Latest Carrier To Mandate Masks

Frontier Airlines has announced that passengers must wear face-coverings from next week to protect against the coronavirus. The airline’s flight attendants have been wearing protective facial equipment for a few weeks, but now passengers will also need to wear masks. Frontier becomes the second airline in the US to mandate face masks.

Frontier Airlines A319
Frontier makes wearing face masks compulsory. Photo: Tomas del Coro via Flickr

Passengers must wear face masks

Today (30th April), Frontier Airlines has requested that all its passengers wear masks before and during their flights. From next Friday 8th May, passengers flying with the low-cost airline will need to wear a covering that protects their nose and mouth. They will be required to do so at ticket counters, boarding gates as well as throughout the flight.

This new development comes after Frontier changed some of its operations in light of COVID-19. Frontier cabin crew have been wearing face coverings since 13th April, but to maximize the effectiveness of this regulation, it makes sense that passengers also wear masks too.

This latest instruction is based on the latest Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advice. It says:

“CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. CDC also advises the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.”

Man sits alone with face mask
Passengers on Frontier Airlines will need to wear masks. Photo: Getty Images

However, that’s not the only reason Frontier is introducing passenger face coverings. Speaking in a press release, the CEO of Frontier Airlines, Barry Biffle, said:

“We want our passengers to feel comfortable when flying with us by protecting themselves and their fellow travelers as we all navigate the Covid-19 pandemic.” 

So, will face masks make passengers feel more comfortable?

Frontier’s other measures

While wearing a face mask is beneficial, this method will not prevent coronavirus in isolation. As such, Frontier is using a variety of approaches to ensure the safety of its aircraft.

On 8th April, Frontier introduced a fogging disinfectant to sterilize its aircraft. The procedure cleans nearly every surface within the cabin and kills viruses for up to 10 days. It is thought that this could help to eradicate the coronavirus and make airplanes a safe place for uninfected passengers and staff.

Frontier Airlines cabin
Frontier is also making the cabin safe. Photo: Aykleinman via Wikimedia Commons

In addition, Frontier Airlines also requires that passengers sign what it calls a health acknowledgment form. Signing this document means that a passenger agrees that they do not have a raised temperature or fever, have washed their hands before boarding, and have not been in a household with someone infected with COVID-19 in the past 14 days.

Social distancing will also come into effect

Frontier also aims to enforce social distancing on its flights from the first week of May. Every other row on a Frontier Airlines flight will be vacated to support this plan.

Frontier’s latest measures see it join a whole host of airlines that have ramped up their protection efforts against the virus. JetBlue became the first airline to make face coverings necessary. United Airlines and American Airlines are also handing out free face masks, even though wearing them is not mandatory. United is also enhancing its cabin sterilization and air circulation. Across the pond, Lufthansa is also instructing passengers to wear facemasks.

As the airline industry prepares for a reopening of select routes, face masks will likely become standard practice to ensure customer comfort. Take a look at our analysis about whether face masks should be mandatory.

Would you feel more comfortable with a face mask? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.