Wearing face coverings on planes has become a shockingly controversial topic. At this point, most US airlines require passengers to wear face masks, and some have even promised to step up enforcement.
What some people don’t realize is that there’s one major US airline that doesn’t require face masks to be worn.
Allegiant Air’s face mask policy
Ultra-low-cost carrier Allegiant Air doesn’t require passengers to wear face masks. To my knowledge, there’s no other major US airline with such a policy.
Allegiant has a webpage titled “Going the Distance for Health and Safety,” which describes all the initiatives the airline is taking. In some ways, Allegiant is more progressive than other airlines, as each passenger gets a complimentary health and safety kit with a face mask, gloves, and two sanitizing wipes.
At the same time, the airline doesn’t require passengers to wear face masks. Heck, the above webpage doesn’t even encourage passengers to wear masks.
Ironically the airline makes the following claim:
We work closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Word Health Organization (WHO) and other authorities and experts. Based on their direction, we ensure our actions not only follow current guidance, but exceed the recommended standards so you can fly with confidence.
The CDC does recommend that people should wear face masks in situations where social distancing isn’t possible, so I’m not sure how exactly Allegiant is exceeding recommended standards.
What’s Allegiant Air’s logic for not requiring masks?
I reached out to Allegiant Air to ask about the company’s logic for not making face masks mandatory, and here’s what I was told:
“We’re constantly evaluating our policies to ensure they best meet our customers’ needs. We strongly encourage passengers to wear face masks in all of our communications with them. We send reminder emails before their flights and make announcements at the gate and on board each flight. However, we find that most of our passengers have already adopted mask-wearing as a standard practice. We’ve also heard from customers with asthma and other health conditions who say they can’t wear masks. We want to ensure our policies accommodate them, as well.
As an extra precaution, we provide each passenger with a free health and safety kit as they board their flights. The kits include a mask, gloves and sanitizing wipes. Passengers tend to already have their own wipes and masks but they appreciate the extra supplies we provide.”
Is there an ulterior motive to Allegiant Air’s policy?
In some way, I respect the fact that Allegiant Air is doing a better job of managing expectations than other airlines. Other airlines “require” face masks, but face mask usage isn’t as common or consistent as you’d hope, as I recently experienced firsthand.
Meanwhile, if you fly Allegiant, you should have no expectations that someone seated next to you is wearing a face mask, because there’s no requirement to do so. Then you also won’t be disappointed.
Is Allegiant Air’s policy that straightforward, though, or does the airline have an ulterior motive? I’ve been in Nevada, Arizona, and Utah, the past couple of days, and have been in complete disbelief about how coronavirus is viewed here. I’ll save that for another post, but simply put, a vast majority of people don’t wear masks here.
When you look at the markets Allegiant Air serves, I can see how for some people this policy may actually be a selling point.
To the anti-mask crowd: vote with your wallet
Flying Allegiant Air seems like the perfect solution for the anti-face mask crowd:
- You can support an airline that doesn’t require face masks
- You can fly with like-minded people
That seems like a much better option than giving your money to a greedy company that’s infringing on your personal liberties, no? 😉
While Allegiant obviously has a slightly different route network than other major airlines, odds are decent that they at least fly somewhat close to where you may need to go within the US, even if a bit of extra driving is needed.
Allegiant is the only major US airline to not require passengers to wear face masks. The airline does offer face masks and gloves to passengers, but there’s no requirement to wear them.
The airline notes that passengers are “encouraged” to wear masks, but because some passengers have health issues, the airline doesn’t want to make it mandatory.
I have a hard time believing that this isn’t a more deliberate move, though. With every other airline requiring masks, Allegiant is an outlier. I think the most likely explanation is that this is a reflection of some of the markets that Allegiant serves, and therefore the perception that many Allegiant passengers may have towards face masks.
What do you make of Allegiant Air’s decision to not require passengers to wear face masks?