Newly inaugurated President Joe Biden just signed an executive order to mandate masks when flying travellers but it’s clear that airlines haven’t been waiting on the government for guidance.
New data from the country’s largest airlines reveal that more than 2,500 passengers have been banned since the spring for violating onboard mask policies, and the list grows larger every day.
Airlines have been turning to mask enforcement as a way to regain confidence in air travel by eliminating fears of the onboard spread of COVID-19. A handful of banned passengers, in their eyes, outweighs the loss of thousands of travelers due to an in-flight outbreak, especially as daily passenger numbers are still more than 50% less than 2019’s, according to the Transportation Security Administration.
Passengers banned by these airlines will typically be welcomed back once the pandemic ends and masks are no longer required. Until then, the thousands of passengers banned by a particular airline will have to find a new one to frequent.
Here’s how US airlines are stacking up when it comes to enforcing mask policies:
- Allegiant Air 15 passengers
- Hawaiian Airlines 56 passengers
- JetBlue Airways 115 passengers
- Alaska Airlines 328 passengers
- Spirit Airlines 400 passengers
- Frontier Airlines 500 passengers
- United Airlines 613 passengers
- Delta Air Lines 880 passengers