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JetBlue requires passengers wear face masks while CDC leaves it as a choice

JetBlue coronavirus face mask
JetBlue coronavirus face mask rule responding to real world flying concerns.
JetBlue coronavirus face mask
JetBlue coronavirus face mask rule responding to real world flying concerns.

JetBlue coronavirus face mask rule requires passengers wear protection gear while CDC leaves it as a choice as other US airlines follow own policy. 

Welcome to the new flying etiquette…

JetBlue has become the first US airline mandating passengers wear face coverings on flights to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The new policy goes into effect May 4 and comes after the airline began to require all crew members wear face masks on flights.

‘Wearing a face covering isn’t about protecting yourself it’s about protecting those around you,’ said Joanna Geraghty, president and chief operating officer, JetBlue in a release.

‘This is the new flying etiquette. Onboard, cabin air is well circulated and cleaned through filters every few minutes but this is a shared space where we have to be considerate of others.’

Monday’s announcement comes amid increasing calls from airline union leaders, consumer groups and elected officials about the need for face coverings to help slow the spread of the virus and, eventually, reassure travelers it is safe to fly.

Costumers must wear face coverings over their nose and mouth –- during check-in, boarding, while in flight and deplaning. Presumably passengers would be able to take the mask off during meals. 

Of note, the CDC has to date not made it obligatory that passengers wear masks on board.

JetBlue also announced that they were asking customers to follow CDC guidelines in the airport as well, which requires the practicing of social distancing.

Small children who are not able to maintain a face covering are exempt from this requirement.

Not immediately clear was whether JetBlue would provide passengers with protective gear or whether passengers would have to supply their own face masks- also raising the question whether such masks would be of the highest standard. To date, the airline did not stipulate what face mask would be applicable

New requirements come amid airline worker deaths and public safety concerns:

JetBlue’s coronavirus face mask announcement comes after American Airlines also announced on Monday that they will provide face masks and sanitizing wipes for passengers. However, the airline did not make the masks a requirement for all passengers.

Delta Air Lines will also offer masks to passengers and require many employees to wear masks starting Tuesday.

Similarly, United Airlines is requiring flight attendants to wear facemasks while on duty and is recommending that customers do the same while traveling.

The requirement for United flight attendants is part of several safety protocols the carrier has put in place, including restricting advanced seat selection for adjacent seats, spacing out customers during boarding, installing plexiglass dividers at service counters and disabling self-service kiosks, Business Travel News reports.

The latest developments follow reports of an American Airlines passenger describing a full flight from Miami to LaGuardia with about only half of her fellow passengers wearing masks.

The policy also follows the recent spate of deaths of JetBlue flight attendants that colleagues blamed on a lack of protective measures being enforced and workers forced to fly routes with a lack of protections in place.

It remains unclear whether passengers will be able to appeal an airliner’s decision to not let them fly should they fail/decline to wear a mask on board.

Of note, air travel in the U.S. is down some 95% from a year ago because of the virus and stay-at-home orders around the world.