Airlines for America announced on behalf of Alaska, American, Delta, Hawaiian, JetBlue, Southwest, and United, that they will start enforcing mask requirements at all times in-flight, except when eating or drinking.
Airlines will make pre-flight and onboard announcements about mask requirements and will set policies for passengers that refuse to comply, up to the loss of future flight privileges.
United says that they will start strict enforcement starting on June 18th. Passengers that refuse to comply after being told to wear a mask “will lose their travel privileges on United for a duration of time to be determined pending a comprehensive incident review.”
“United currently requires all passengers to wear a face covering onboard its flights and expects that policy to remain in place for at least the next 60 days. The only exceptions to this policy are individuals who have a medical condition or a disability that prevents them from wearing a face covering, those who cannot put on or remove a face covering themselves and small children. Customers are expected to wear a mask for the duration of the flight, except when eating or drinking.”
United quotes Dr. James Merlino, Chief Clinical Transformation Officer at Cleveland Clinic as saying “Wearing a mask is a critical part of helping make air travel safer. The more people in a given space wearing masks, the fewer viral particles are making it into the space around them, decreasing exposure and risk.”
United flight attendants won’t determine the punishment, they will just file a report on non-compliant passengers. Final decisions will take place after the flight after an investigation.