US Airlines May Ban Passengers For Not Wearing Face Masks

U.S. airlines are stepping up enforcement of face covering policies, including banning passengers who do not wear face masks on flights amid the coronavirus pandemic.

American Airlines temporarily banned a passenger who was kicked off a flight in New York earlier this week after he refused to wear a face mask.

The airline’s crew reportedly asked Brandon Straka, a conservative activist, to get off the flight at New York’s LaGuardia Airport after he refused to put on a mask. Straka obliged their request to get off the flight.

“I was just removed from my flight for not wearing a mask. 1st time this has happened. Not a federal law,” Straka said on Twitter.

American Airlines said the ban on Straka will remain until face coverings are no longer required for customers, according to the airline.

In late April, American Airlines had said all passengers on its flights would be required to wear face masks during travel. Earlier this week, the airline announced a stronger policy for customer face masks, saying it will deny boarding to customers who do not comply. The airline added it may also deny future travel for customers who refuse to wear a face covering.

Some passengers are, however, exempt from the face covering requirement, such as young children and those with a disability or relevant medical condition.

United Airlines also said on Monday that it would suspend travel privileges of any passenger who refuses to wear a mask on its aircraft.

Airlines for America or A4A, an industry trade organization representing major U.S. airlines, said on Monday that its member carriers will vigorously enforce face covering policies. Each airline will clearly articulate its individual face covering policy in communications with customers and may require passengers to acknowledge the specific rules during the check-in process, A4A added.

Further, each carrier will decide what action to be taken against passengers who are found to be in noncompliance of the rules. This could include suspension of flying privileges on that airline.

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