Four US Airlines to Allow Face Mask Violators to Return to Skies as Mandates Lift
04:03 GMT 22.04.2022 (Updated: 04:04 GMT 22.04.2022)
© AP Photo / Wilfredo LeeAn American Airlines Boeing 737 flies past the moon as it heads to Orlando, Fla., after having taken off from Miami International Airport, Tuesday, April 19, 2022, in Miami. The major airlines and many of the busiest airports rushed to drop their requirements on Monday after a Florida judge struck down the CDC mandate and the Transportation Security Administration announced it wouldn't enforce its 2021 security directive.
© AP Photo / Wilfredo Lee
The US Department of Justice filed an appeal against a federal judge’s ruling on Monday that struck down the nationwide mask mandate for air travel and other mass transportation. With masking requirements now voided for flights, several airlines have abandoned their respective rules, despite the CDC warning against such a move.
Air travelers previously banned from airlines for failing to comply with masking requirements may have a shot at returning to the skies if they were barred from Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, American Airlines, or Alaska Airlines–all of which plan to reevaluate some passengers’ standing with their company.
“With masks now optional, Delta will restore flight privileges for customers on the mask non-compliance no-fly list only after each case is reviewed and each customer demonstrates an understanding of their expected behavior when flying with us,” Delta Air Lines said in a Wednesday statement.
However, “further disregard” for the airline’s policies may result in the passenger being added to Delta’s permanent no-fly list. Those placed on the permanent no-fly list during the mandate will remain barred.
United has also announced that it would be reevaluating mask noncompliance incidents on a “case-by-case basis,” and will restore the individuals’ permissions to fly, “after ensuring their commitment to follow all crewmember instructions on board.”
American Airlines Chief Government Affairs Officer Nate Gatten revealed in a Thursday earnings call that those barred for mask noncompliance and not “something more serious” will be able “to resume travel at some point in time.”
“In cases where an incident may have started with face mask noncompliance and escalated into anything involving something more serious, or certainly an assault on one of our key members or customers, those passengers are going to remain on our permanent internal refuse list and will never be allowed to travel with us again,” Gatten remarked.
© AP Photo / LM OteroA traveler makes their way through a security ID and ticket check at Love Filed in Dallas, Tuesday, April 19, 2022. The major airlines and many of the busiest airports dropex their requirements after a Florida judge struck down the CDC mandate and the Transportation Security Administration announced it wouldn't enforce its 2021 security directive.
A traveler makes their way through a security ID and ticket check at Love Filed in Dallas, Tuesday, April 19, 2022. The major airlines and many of the busiest airports dropex their requirements after a Florida judge struck down the CDC mandate and the Transportation Security Administration announced it wouldn't enforce its 2021 security directive.
© AP Photo / LM Otero
Alaska Airlines, which banned more than 1,700 passengers for violating pandemic-era mask regulations, is also moving to overturn the move for “guests who were banned solely for mask noncompliance will be allowed to purchase tickets on our flights.”
“However, some guests whose behavior was particularly egregious will remain banned,” said media relations manager Cailee Olson.
Bill Nolan, acting administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), made it clear in a Wednesday statement that those who acted in a dangerous matter will be held responsible.
“Unsafe behavior simply does not fly and keeping our Zero Tolerance policy will help us continue making progress to prevent and punish this behavior,” Nolan said.
The plan, implemented January 13, 2021, has led to multi-figure fines, including $81,950 and $77,272 fines leveled against passengers accused of hitting and biting crew members. The fines were the largest charges related to passenger misconduct in FAA history.
20 April 2022, 23:24 GMT
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has seemingly been placed in a losing situation as it backs the US DoJ’s appeal to overturn the federal judge’s ruling.
While the agency could lose authority if the mask mandate for mass transit is upheld, there could also be increased public scrutiny of the CDC by those who support the lifting of masking requirements.