United Airlines, together with other Airlines for
America (A4A) members, has said it will strengthen its mandatory
mask policies to further mitigate against the spread of COVID19.
Starting from 18 June, any passenger who does not
wear a mask when onboard an United flight will
be placed on an internal travel restriction list.
the list will lose their travel privileges on United for a
duration of time to be determined pending a comprehensive incident
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
Customers are expected to wear a mask for the duration
of the flight, except when eating or drinking.
reputable heath institution says wearing a mask is one of the most
effective things people can do to protect others from contracting
COVID19, especially in places like an aircraft where social
distancing is a challenge," said United's Chief Customer Officer,
Toby Enqvist. "We have been requiring our customers to wear masks
onboard United aircraft since May 4 and we have been pleased that
the overwhelming majority of passengers readily comply with our
policy. Today's announcement is an unmistakable signal that we're
prepared to take serious steps, if necessary, to protect our
customers and crew."
Under this new policy, if a flight
attendant notices or is informed of a customer onboard who is not
wearing a face covering and that passenger does not fall within an
exception, the flight attendant will proactively inform the
customer that for the health and safety of everyone, face
coverings are mandatory for all customers and crew on board. They
will also offer to provide the customer with a mask if needed. If
the customer continues to be non-compliant, flight attendants will
do their best to de-escalate the situation, again inform the
customer of United's policy, and provide the passenger with an
In-Flight Mask policy reminder card. If a customer continues to
not comply, the flight attendant will file a report of the
incident, which will initiate a formal review process. Any final
decision or actions regarding a customer's future flight benefits
will not occur onboard but instead take place after the flight has
reached its destination and the security team has investigated the
"U.S. airlines are very serious about requiring
face coverings on their flights. Carriers are stepping up
enforcement of face coverings and implementing substantial
consequences for those who do not comply with the rules," said A4A
President and CEO Nicholas E. Calio. "Face coverings are one of
several public health measures recommended by the CDC as an
important layer of protection for passengers and customer-facing
In April, United became the first major
U.S.-based airline to require flight attendants to wear a face
mask while on duty, and beginning in May, expanded that mandate to
include all employees and customers on board. This includes
front-line workers like pilots, customer service agents and ramp
workers when on board an aircraft, along with any other United
employees traveling using their flight benefits.
mask is a critical part of helping make air travel safer," said
Dr. James Merlino, Chief Clinical Transformation Officer at
Cleveland Clinic. "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."
Other airlines taking similar action include
American Airlines, Delta, Hawaiian, JetBlue and Southwest.