United Airlines will place any passenger who does not comply with its face mask requirement on an internal travel restriction list starting Thursday. It is one of the U.S. airlines making it clear: if you don't wear the mask, you don't get to fly.
Airlines for America, a trade association that represents several U.S. airlines, said this week that passengers will be reminded, before boarding and while on board, about the policy requiring face masks and the consequences for violating it. It said Alaska, American, Delta, Hawaiian, JetBlue, Southwest and United would be implementing similar policies.
The group also said airlines will determine for themselves the appropriate consequences, including the suspension of flying privileges.
"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," Dr. James Merlino, Chief Clinical Transformation Officer at Cleveland Clinic, said in a statement by United.
Southwest says it will deny boarding to anyone not agreeing to wear a mask.
U.S. airlines implemented the mask policies in early May with exemptions for small children and people with conditions that prohibit them from wearing a mask. In general, passengers are required to wear a face-covering at all times during the flight except when eating or drinking.
“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 Airlines for America President and CEO Nicholas E. Calio in a statement. “Face coverings are one of several public health measures recommended by the CDC as an important layer of protection for passengers and customer-facing employees.”