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Face Mask Non-Compliance Ban List Reaches 700 Flyers

Most flyers have no problem complying with the strict face covering rules put in place by all of the major domestic airlines. However, the small group who refuse are growing. Collecting data from all the U.S.-based carriers, the airlines have now banned over 700 people for not agreeing to wear a face mask when aboard aircraft.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, airlines have put forward mandatory face covering policies, requiring all flyers to keep their nose and mouth covered from when they enter their departure airport, to when they leave their departure airport. Despite this, there have been a very small-yet-vocal minority who refuse to wear any kind of face covering.

Now, the airlines say over 700 flyers have been placed on internal ban lists until the pandemic comes to an end, for their non-compliance over face mask policies. The data comes from a recent investigation by The Los Angeles Times.

Delta, United and Spirit Ban Most Flyers

According to data collected by the Southern California newspaper, Delta Air Lines has banned the most flyers, with 270 on the no-fly list. The airline has ardently defended their face covering policy and their “Clearance-to-Fly” protocol for those who claim they have an underlying condition and cannot wear a face covering when they fly.

United Airlines has banned 150 flyers, while ultra-low-cost-carrier Spirit Airlines has banned 128 people from flying until the pandemic comes to an end. Alaska Airlines, which has a “Yellow Card” warning policy for non-complying flyers, has 78 people on their internal ban list. Hawaiian Airlines says they have barred six passengers, while American Airlines, JetBlue and Southwest Airlines have not publicly stated how many people are on their restriction list.

As a matter of policy, the airlines are not sharing passenger information among themselves to create a master “no-fly” list for refusal to wear face coverings. This allows passengers who are banned from one carrier to fly with another – but the penalty for non-compliance remains the same. In addition, because airlines are not sharing information, it’s impossible to know how many of those 700 flyers are banned from multiple carriers.

All-Time High in Passenger Bans Come Despite Non-Action and Questions

Despite the number of flyers banned from each of the U.S.-based carriers, government officials continue to refuse to create a federal face covering mandate. Despite calls from the Centers for Disease Control for a national face mask policy when flying aboard airliners, the Federal Aviation Administration has stayed neutral on the topic. This leaves the airlines to make and enforce their own policies, while federal authorities refuse to warn or fine non-complying passengers.

The bans also come as flyers question how the polices are applied to flyers of different ages and different medical conditions. In August 2020, a family of an autistic child accused Southwest of being unfair, when they were removed from a flight when the child wouldn’t wear a face covering because of sensory processing disorders. Another family flying JetBlue accused the New York-based airline of a similar unfair stance, when a two-year-old toddler wouldn’t keep a face mask on.

Pookynubbers September 13, 2020

I’m so glad these businesses are making the right call banning non-compliant folks. It’s smart - most people don’t have any problem with wearing a mask and this makes them more like to fly.