The industry trade organization, which represents leading US airlines, including Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines, stated in its news release that passengers and customer-facing employees must "wear facial coverings over their nose and mouth" to "mitigate risk and protect passengers and crew" from COVID-19.
“US 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,” A4A President and CEO Nicholas E. Calio said. “Face coverings are one of several public health measures recommended by the CDC [US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] as an important layer of protection for passengers and customer-facing employees.”
The release also noted that each airline will explain its own face-covering policy to passengers, who will also be required to acknowledge "the specific rules during the check-in progress." Once passengers are onboard the aircraft, crew members will outline "specific details" regarding the airline's face covering policy and what consequences passengers who violate the policy will face.
"Each carrier will determine the appropriate consequences for passengers who are found to be in noncompliance of the airline’s face covering policy up to and including suspension of flying privileges on that airline," the release notes.
Last month, A4A revealed a new public awareness campaign called “Fly Healthy. Fly Smart.” to educate the flying public on how they can help protect themselves and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
With all US states having relaxed lockdown measures in some way or another, flying will likely become more popular in the weeks to come. The US still tops the rest of the world with more than 2 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 118,000 deaths as a result.