[Update: Matched By JetBlue And Now With Venn Diagram] AA, Southwest, And United Remove Medical Exemptions, Will Require Masks For Everyone 2 Or Older

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Update, 8/5: Effective on 8/10,  JetBlue will eliminate medical exemptions for wearing airline masks and require everyone 2 and older to wear a mask.

That leaves Delta and Hawaiian as the only US airlines that will allow young children and medically exempt passengers onboard without a mask.

Here’s how that mashes up with the airlines that are offering empty middle seats on their planes:


Update, 7/23: United has removed their medical exemption policy as well. The only mask exception on American, Southwest, and United will be for infants under 24 months.

Delta still allows medical exemptions, but requires those seeking it to show up early at the airport to allow time for a consultation with a healthcare professional who will decide if an exemption is warranted. Delta says that is has places more than 100 passengers on a no-fly list due to not wearing a mask.

For now, Delta still exempts young children from needing to wear a mask.

Update, 7/23: Both American and Southwest have announced that they are eliminating medical exemptions for wearing airline masks. Even if you have a bona fide exemption to not wear a mask, you will not be allowed to fly on American or Southwest. The only remaining exception on those airlines will be for infants under 24 months.

Update, 7/23: Southwest announced that effective 7/27, they too will require everyone 2 and older to wear a mask at the airport and onboard.

Update, 7/22: American has announced that effective 7/29, they too will require everyone 2 and older to wear a mask at the airport and onboard, or else customers will be banned from flying American until the mask requirements are lifted.

United announced today that they will require face masks to be worn throughout the airport starting on 7/24. Previously they were only required on the plane.

Passengers that don’t comply anywhere in the airport will be banned from flying on United until the mask requirements are lifted.

United will also require that all children 2 and older wear masks in the airport and on the plane starting on 7/24. Previously young children were exempt.

Now I’m not sure if the people making these decisions actually have young kids, but most 2 and 3 year olds don’t actually care about logic or what adults say they need to keep on their face.

Good luck enforcing that one, United! Are you going to throw my family off a flight because my 2 year old daughter won’t keep a mask on her face?

Airlines are also cracking down on people claiming medical exemptions.

In the meantime, American and United will happily sell every seat on a flight. If you want an empty middle seat, stick with Delta, JetBlue, or Southwest.

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61 Comments On "[Update: Matched By JetBlue And Now With Venn Diagram] AA, Southwest, And United Remove Medical Exemptions, Will Require Masks For Everyone 2 Or Older"

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You were on point by “Now I’m not sure if the people making these decisions actually have young kids”. Which 2-6 year old can actually keep a mask on his face the entire time? Not possible!


Impossible to get a 2/3 year old to wear a mask


How can they say that that in the airport (e.g. LHR) that you have to wear a mask? On the plane I get it, but at any airport worldwide? And how on earth will they be able to enforce airport mask wearing?


My kid’s school is requiring 3 year olds to wear masks next year. Not sure how they’ll manage to enforce that


they won’t and if they try find a different school because it is run by idiots.


I just flew with my 2 yr old to Cleveland and back and we didn’t even bother giving her a mask… no one said a word to us


I have I hard enough time getting my 2 year old to keep his pants on!




Funny how they care so much about their customers safety, until or unless it effects their bottom line.


What will happen if a 2 yo takes off the mask? I’m flying in 2 weeks.


just keep a water bottle and a bag of chips on the tray table. You can take off your mask when you are eating


מאד חכם


Just saw this on Matzav.com “Masks can only be removed to eat or drink, and Southwest’s new policy states these instances should be “very brief.”
I did not see this in the links for Southwest’s policy. Can anyone confirm this?


flights departing Israel also?


so now that they changed the rules after i already purchased my ticket, can i get my money back?


FINALLY. I guess, it’s better late than never? … (the dead may feel differently. they think it’s too late). What I mean is, what has taken SO long for the average person to understand the simple science behind virus transmission through droplets? Oh, yeah, wait, I forget that half the population doesn’t believe in science… ugh.


While on the subject of saving lives, far more people can be saved with early intervention for the most vulnerable with the Zelenko Protocol.
See doctor Zelenko’s interview with Dr. Drew. If only he was listened to months ago.

Of course, wear a mask as well.

Which half?

Of course, its the other half!

For a large part of either “half” of the country the president’s opinion is the most important thing. For one half he’s always right, for the other half is always wrong. Science be dammed either way.


Requiring young children to wear masks is absolutely nuts!!! And it just shows that this is all politics no science or data support it! Ridiculous! Trying to imagine my 2 year old wearing a mask for a full 30 seconds!!! I can’t!!


Just a heads up that Frontier has empty middle seats on a few rows of premium seats on each flight.


Dan is there anyway you can fight this ridiculous rule through social media means? we are flying in a couple of weeks with 2 kids and this will just be beyond unrealistic


I just flew united to Israel and they required everyone to wear a face mask and they did not allow any congregating, but when I entered the kitchen in middle of the flight all the flight attendants were standing and shmoozing without any face covering.


the masks req will not be lifted till prob at least 4th quarter 2021. even if they come up with a viable vaccine i still think the questions surrounding if it will work or not and for how long will be enough for everyone to still say “in an abundance of caution the CDC is still recommending the use of face masks”. it’ll never end.


There have been lots of comments about how it is “impossible” for a 2 or 3 year old to wear a mask.
Every child is different and this is only my experience but since we started requiring our kids to wear masks at all times when in public our son (2y 9months) has figured it out. Of course the mask slips below his nose but a simple reminder to pull it over his nose and he listens and pulls it up himself.
Of course if going to the airport is the first time you have your kid wear a mask it might be “impossible” but would you tolerate your 3 year old taking off his kippah? Of course not, you would continue to instruct he put the kippah back and in short order this task would no longer be “impossible”
Of course our country is full of 3 year olds who find it “impossible” to wear a mask. If we take our responsibility of pikud hanefesh seriously, understand a mask is not for your own protection but for protecting others and the perniciousness of the virus is that anyone can be an unknowing asymptomatic carrier, we can save lives.


Seriously!!! You really think that forcing 2 year old’s to wear masks is going to stop the spread of Covid-19 ????

The Science and data out of many countries show that children rarely get the virus and if they do, they rarely spread it to others, not to mention the almost 0% death rate among children.

Forcing children to wear masks is cruelty plain and simple.

Julie Kusnetz

A nine year old child died in Florida this week of Covid 19. When it’s your child, that “death rate” is 100%.


Ok, with that logic you should never get on a plane, it could crash and the death rate is 100%


I think that, if everyone wears masks whenever in proximity to those outside their own household, especially indoors, the outbreaks that much of the U.S. are currently suffering through will come to an end within a matter of weeks. The countries that have gotten this disease under control have done so by taking it seriously – universal mask wearing, ample testing, etc. – not by whining that wearing masks is “cruelty.”

Nobody is forcing you to fly anywhere. If you or any of your travel companions (of any age) are not willing to wear a mask, please stay home. You have no right to endanger others because you’re not willing to take even the slightest precaution to avoid infecting others.

Sometimes we have to take small sacrifices in the public interest. All things considered, this one’s pretty tiny.

common sense

UM for a family that flew somewhere before the policy changed and now needs to get back (or any other essential travel) to not fly when they clearly NEED to because an individual in the family cannot or will not wear a mask because they are a toddler or have a legitimate medical condition is NOT! a small or tiny sacrifice and that’s really part of the problem here: you have people saying “well why don’t you just…” and that anyone who doesn’t take this “small” step is basically just a selfish killer . But these comment are absurd because these people are simply assuming that things are small for other people because they may be small for them and they don’t actually consider how major of a difficulty it actually is for other people and truthfully that probably results in those individuals just being even less cautious because once they see one person attacking them in an unjustifiable way they lump any other advocacy for precautions as similarly being unreasonable and unfair.


Small children might not become sick, but they can and do catch and spread the virus. My daughter works in a daycare center. She is now recovering from Covid-19, after one of the 2 year olds in her group came down with it, infecting 3 additional toddlers toddlers, and the entire family of one of the children. This was less than a week after the daycare reopened, with all caregivers required to provide proof of a negative covid test result in order to resume work.

common sense

that may be true but not particularly conclusive it is very difficult to definitively prove where they caught it from. Also very big difference between prolonged close exposure day after day in a daycare center vs. short term not close (child would presumably be sitting next to family members) contact in an airplane which has a hospital-grade HEPA filter

CAROL Martorana

Very true!!!!! YES!!!


I am very happy for you that you have been able to train your young child to wear a mask- Kol HaKavod. I think it may be a bit presumptuous to assume that ALL kids can do this if only they were parented correctly- as you yourself mentioned, all kids are different and what worked for you may not work for another. For all you know, all the people who commented before really did try the way you did, and found it simply didn’t work- so let’s give people the benefit of the doubt, if they’re saying so. (It’s also true that the data on the transmission of this virus in very young children is questionable at best. People can agree to disagree in interpreting the data but we should do so respectfully.)
With regards to the Kippa comparison- something that sits on top of the head is nowhere near as disruptive as something that sits right on your face, I think most adults even would agree on that one so especially for kids. Also, to your point, many parents actually do not force 3 year olds to wear a Kippah, for both practical and educational reasons. There are pros and cons on each side of that one too, we should definitely be respectful if someone else decides something different.

common sense

Your point is valid, to a point. Yes if you always tell your child to wear a mask and always do so yourself it’s far more likely (i.e. a slight possibility) that you could get them to wear it on a plane too. But realistically speaking for most people and most kids itd basically impossible (more so the younger they are)

CAROL Martorana

very true!! all kids are different!!


I think only DL’s policy is legal. I suspect the other airlines will eventually move to it: you need to have a way to PROVE you have a medical condition. You just can’t ban everyone who medically can’t wear a mask. BTW, at the end of the day, I suspect this is all mostly COVID hysteria. It will NEVER be proven that cloth masks do anything on an airplane. N95s with goggles, maybe. But if people like masks, and more people will fly if there are masks rules, the airlines are happy to have masks. When the public eventually changes its mind, mask rules will change.


this whole thing started with the AA bad press when they were plastered in the news a few months back. an AA agent told a scared passenger who was worried about people not wearing masks that if they dont like take another flight “this is business”.


This is really, REALLY strange. Anybody who has ever had kids knows that it’s completely impossible to force a 3 year old to wear a mask for an entire flight, no matter what anyone tells them. How are they going to enforce this?! Really curious to see how this one plays out… Is there a Dr. Dao repeat on the horizon? I can see it now- “Family dragged off United plane when 3-year-old takes off mask” Lol.

common sense

kind of ironic that the actual stories of families get getting kicked off happened not with United which is infamous for kicking people off but rather with southwest and JetBlue which are generally known for having good customer service


Now that the market is flooded with masks somebody’s gotta use it. When there were no masks, we were told NOT to use it. It does not help prevent transmission. Leave it for the doctors and nurses. Now there is an overabundance. Look how cheap you can get them. So they are forcing us to use it to prevent transmission. Hello, it’s too late. Everyone was exposed or got it already

common sense

In NY jewish community. Elsewhere ther have been relatively low rates of infection

George Orwell



yes.. sad most have no idea what you are talking about


Delta now also requires mask from 2 years and up


Seems to me if you have a medical condition that prevents you from wearing a mask – you shouldn’t probably be traveling during this period


I wouldn’t want to fly unless everyone has a mask on. It’s too risky a proposition. This is more about all these “medical exemptions” more than 2 year olds. How many people use handicap placards when they aren’t handicapped? This is all about entitlement. For the sake of a calm and less anxious travel experience people should simply think of someone other than themself. Probably a good idea in life as a general rule.


Every two year old is different. I can assure you mine would not tolerate a face mask for two seconds. He won’t even wear a hat. Last time we flew was in May right before he turned two. and it was fine. He sat in the seat next to me and didn’t touch anyone and no one said anything to us or asked his age. If a child can understand the word “pandemic” then I think they should be required to wear a mask. I really think this is strange and not practical at all. I guess family vacations will have to wait a year… hopefully not more.

CAROL Martorana

leaving in November to disney, so we are flying to orlando on united from ny. Trying to get my 2 1/2 year old to wear a mask is so hard. She dosen’t understand. What do we do when we get to airport. We will be so upset!! It’s 4 families going on this trip.