More airlines starting to require passengers to wear masks
With more people feeling comfortable enough to fly again, many airlines are making masks a requirement for everyone on board.
This new policy went into effect Tuesday for most U.S. carriers.
American Airlines is currently operating flights at up to 85 percent capacity.
Officials for the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) said it's important everyone on board wear a face covering.
Refusing to do so could land passengers on a future "no fly list."
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With more people starting to give airline travel another go, some flights are filling up, making social distancing difficult, if not impossible.
“We do support stricter guidelines when it comes to facial coverings on board the aircraft,” APFA spokesman Paul Hartshorn Jr. said.
The APFA represents American Airlines.
As of Tuesday, American said it will ban passengers who do not wear facial coverings on board its airplanes from future travel.
The APFA supports the move.
“CDC guidelines are clear that masks help to limit the spread of the virus. That is our goal,” Hartshorn said.
Dallas-based Southwest Airlines adopted a similar policy this week.
Passengers from both carriers will be informed of the new guidelines at either the ticket counter or boarding gate.
“We do have extra facial coverings for people who do need it on board the flight,” Hartshorn said.
In an effort to minimize contact with passengers, American has also discontinued cart service on domestic flights.
“Upon boarding, you'll receive a bag with bottle of water and an assortment of a couple of snacks, depending on the routes. Also some hand sanitizer wipes,” Hartshorn added.
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“Priority one for the travel industry is really to shrink that threshold that it actually takes to get us traveling again,” travel expert Gabe Saglie said.
Saglie isn't surprised by the new face mask mandate. He expects some push back from customers, but believes overall, it will be well received.
“Some folks will think it's infringing on their rights. They may not like the idea of wearing a mask,” Saglie said. “Every survey shows that the priority for travels, what's going to make us feel more comfortable flying again, is showcasing sanitation protocols, and wearing masks is on top of that list.”
Some passengers are exempt from the face covering requirement, such as young children and those with a disability or medical reason for why they cannot wear a face covering.
The policy also does not apply while eating or drinking.