US Airlines are done playing games with self-absorbed passengers refusing to wear facial coverings on flights. The airline industry is desperately trying to reassure travelers that it’s safe to fly during COVID-19 and patience for fliers not willing to adhere to preventative guidelines are being met with bans.
Airlines Banning Passengers
Multiple airlines have confirmed banning entitled fliers that have interrupted or delayed flights by refusing to simply wear a face mask. “So far, there have thankfully only been a handful of cases, but we have already banned some passengers from future travel on Delta for refusing to wear masks on board,” CEO Ed Bastian noted in a memo to Delta employees.
“Parts of the country have seen a resurgence of Covid-19, and this week new cases nationwide grew at their highest level since April,” he continued. “That’s why it is more important than ever to adhere to the safety and health guidelines we have put in place to keep you safe. One of the most effective measures we have is wearing a mask, which numerous studies have shown can slow the spread of the virus. We take the requirement to wear a mask very seriously.”
Alaska, American, and United Airlines are also banning passengers who put their egos before the safety of other travelers, flight attendants, ticketing agents, and pilots. All major US airlines require passengers on their planes (“their” being the operative word) to wear face masks that they are only allowed to remove while eating.
Passengers Behaving Badly
While every violation and the subsequent ban have not been made public, at least two incidents involving passengers violating the mandate have made national news. Trump supporter Brandon Straka was traveling from New York’s La Guardia Airport to Dallas when he was removed for refusing to wear a face mask. Straka complained once back in the terminal that no one asked if he had a medical condition, despite never providing proof of he had a condition easily exacerbated by wearing a face mask. That prompted American Airlines to temporarily ban him from future flights.
And in Los Angeles, another traveler had to be removed from an aircraft by police officers for refusing to follow guidelines.
Eric has revolved in and out of passport controls for over 20 years. From his first archaeological field school in Belize to rural villages in Ethiopia and Buddhist temples in Laos, Eric has come smile to smile with all walks of life. A writer, photographer and entrepreneur, the LA native believes the power of connectivity and community is enriched through travel.