However, once the passengers are onboard, flight attendants might not be able to enforce the policy if passengers remove their masks.
Airlines with this policy include Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines.
They will inform passengers about their policies before flying and onboard, and each carrier will have their own consequences for anyone who fails to comply. The measures are expected to remain in place during the Covid-19 crisis.
United has said that passengers who do not comply with the policy will be placed on an internal travel restriction list for ‘a duration of time to be determined pending a comprehensive incident review’. Delta said it was ‘doubling efforts to ensure customers are aware of, acknowledge and comply with its mask requirement’, which it said is one of the most important ways to ‘stay safe while flying’.
Sarah Nelsen, President of the Association of Flight Attendant-CWA, said: “The federal government has completely abdicated its responsibility to keep the flying public and aviation workers safe during Covid-19. The industry alone cannot fix this.”
On Twitter, Senator Ed Markey praised the airline’s tough enforcement policies, saying: “But we still need federal action immediately.”