Travelling anywhere during the coronavirus pandemic poses a certain level of risk, but getting on a plane especially is cause for taking as many precautions as possible. Many airlines have begun implementing mandatory health and safety procedures such as social distancing markers within all airports, requiring facial coverings at all times, and removing middle seat options from being purchased.
For the most part, major airlines throughout the US are taking these procedures seriously and mandating them within all locations. Delta, specifically, wants their customers to understand how important these policies are, and have gone so far as to place people on the no-fly list for refusing to wear a mask while on board.
Delta CEO Ed Bastian recently spoke with the media about the company’s mask policy, claiming that while some consumers may think being added to the no-fly list is “excessive,” they believe health and safety is number one priority always.
“We’ve been… steadily and rather aggressively stepping up our enforcement of the mask policy. If you board the plane and you insist on not wearing your mask, we will insist that you don’t fly Delta into the future.”
The airline has had this policy implemented since the beginning of this pandemic, however, they only recently began seriously enforcing it as a part of their “Clearance-to-Fly” program. This program requires all passengers who claim to have medical conditions that exempt them from wearing a mask to go through a lengthy process to get pre-approval, however, the airline more so suggests that if you are one of these individuals, to stay home and not get on any sort of plane.
Delta began blocking out middle seat ticket listings to restrict airplane capacity in May, and is planning on continuing this until at least the end of September, however, it’s more dependent on how much worse the pandemic gets within the next two months. Bastian claims that all planes are also consistently sanitized between flights and layovers.
“I know there’s a lot of anxiety in the general public — and even for road warriors who have been out flying for years — their first time back, there’s a level of angst that they need almost be walked through the process.”
Bastian claims that while he’s ready for traditional airline travel to resume, he knows that a vaccine is the only thing that will make everyone feel comfortable getting on a plane again, as he feels the same way. “We need some medical confidence back in consumers and continue to restore confidence in air travel.”
Southwest Airlines is one of the more recent companies to require all passengers wear a mask with no exceptions; regardless of any medical conditions that may prevent someone from wearing one. They claim if you have an illness severe enough to hinder your ability to wear a mask, you shouldn’t be getting on a plane in the middle of a global health crisis in general.
American and United airlines also claimed that they would temporarily ban passengers from flying on their planes if they refuse to wear a mask on board like Delta.