American Airlines Makes Face Masks Mandatory

Filed Under: American

Following the lead of JetBlue and then Frontier, American Airlines has become the third US airline to require passengers to wear face masks (and the first of the “big three”).

American Airlines makes face coverings mandatory

As of May 11, 2020, American Airlines will make face coverings over the nose and mouth mandatory for all customers while onboard aircraft. American Airlines notes that very young passengers and those with conditions that prevent them from wearing a face covering will be exempt from the requirement.

Furthermore, as was previously announced, all American Airlines flight attendants have to wear face masks during every flight.

There are a couple of things that American is doing differently than JetBlue and Frontier here when it comes to the passenger requirement:

  • They’re making an exception for those “with conditions that prevent them from wearing a face mask,” as JetBlue and Frontier only have an exemption for small children
  • American isn’t requiring passengers to wear face masks at the airport, while JetBlue and Frontier are

I commend American for making face masks mandatory, though they’re definitely giving passengers a bit more leeway than JetBlue and Frontier.

American will also provide passengers with masks

Several days ago American announced that as of May 1, 2020, they’ll start offering passengers face masks and either sanitizing wipes or gels. This is great, because as far as I know they’re the only US airline to be offering that.

I am a bit confused about the logistics, though. Hopefully they’ll be handing these out before passengers get on the plane, rather than once they’re on the plane. After all, it seems like wearing a face masks would potentially be most valuable during the boarding process.

All airlines should be requiring face masks for now

As I’ve said before, in my opinions airlines are doing exactly the right thing by requiring passengers to wear masks:

  • People shouldn’t be flying unless it’s essential
  • The CDC recommends wearing face coverings in general, especially when social distancing isn’t possible (PSA: it’s literally never possible to properly social distance on a commercial flight, so manage expectations accordingly)
  • There are all kinds of stories of people being outraged about full flights, and everyone wearing a mask will at least help a little bit

I love flying, and I hope that this won’t be required long-term. However, for the time being this is the right policy, until we get stuff in order.

The way I see it, this is a step in the right direction, and a step towards returning to normal. More precautions are needed for now so that travel can eventually resume, and hopefully over time advancements in other areas will mean this will no longer be needed.

Bottom line

American Airlines will require passengers to wear masks onboard flights as of May 11, 2020. Not only that, but they’ll be offering passengers masks and sanitizing wipes or gel, which is a nice initiative as well.

  1. Delta includes wipes and small hand sanitizers on all flights as part of the in-flight service. Instead of drink and snack service, they’re offering small bags with a bottle of water, a snack, napkin, wipe, and small hand sanitizers to each passenger.

  2. What happens if someone goes to the airport and refused to wear the mask? Denied boarding? I would like to review the airlines policies and procedures on this! We all know that someone is going to show up with no mask or refuse to wear one just to make news.

  3. Can we remember how just a short while ago, American was refusing to allow their flight attendants to wear masks? Am I remembering that post correctly? Lol what irony if so!

  4. @deltaflyer – American will be starting small snack packs like Delta. Though, I think that’s kinda pointless. Bring your own snacks. The ticket is probably $50 – do we really have to expect them to give us a snack with everything going on?

    I think American had to wait until they could find a supplier for face masks before they made it a requirement. That way they could give them to passengers that need one.

  5. The original AA email said “In May, we will begin to distribute sanitizing wipes or gel and face masks to passengers, as supplies allow. “ The “as supplies allow” part doesn’t give me a warm fuzzy feeling. I told them I’d rather wait for a vaccine, thank you very much.

  6. I’m still curious about what airlines are going to do if passengers take their mask off after take-off and refuse to put it back on? Have them arrested after the flight for refusing crew orders? Ban them from the carrier for life? This should be outlined since it will definitely happen.

  7. Loose fitting face masks are only for naive idiots. Only valuable if person wearing mask is sick. IF YOU ARE SICK STAY HOME. If you are sitting next to sick person your homemade bandanna is not going to do you any good. What we need is people to quarantine 3 days prior to flight, and take temp at airport, thtow masks in trash

  8. if face cover is mandatory I can’t imagine any decent service in business and first class, in such situation we can’t talk about holidays/weekend breaks/pleasure etc; only essential trips should take place, unfortunately it looks at least till 2021 if we are lucky

  9. @Rob – American (and all other airlines) exempt meal service (and I would expect beverage service) since you reasonable can’t do that while wearing a mask. IMHO that defeats the purpose but many discuss their food/beverage service along with mask requirements. I have a question – if I’m flying first class and there is drink service I will be ordering so do I take the mask off everytime I want to take a sip or somehow snake a straw up there (BTW I will wear a VERY loose cloth mask if I have to fly while this is in effect).

    I’m hoping this lunacy is over by end of summer and the germaphobes can wear their masks while the rest of us return to something more normal There is no way this becomes a long term requirement – it would kill much discretionary travel and, with business travel going to be down for many reasons, the airlines just couldn’t afford that.

  10. @lucky On a tangent, it’s occurring to me that AA’s removal of seat-back IFE could actually be viewed as a good thing, now. I know I’d rather use my iPad, knowing that I’m the only person who’s handled it, than put my hands on a touch screen that’s been exposed to other people. Even with between-flight cleaning, or using my own sanitizing spray, my tablet feels like a safer bet. It’s still not a nice policy for families who can’t afford personal screens for every member (or for individuals who can’t afford one for themselves), but for those of us lucky enough to have them, I’m guessing they will now be the preferred mode for watching movies and TV, playing games, etc., onboard.

  11. The airlines and the government have no legitimate right or power to force anyone to wear a mask of any kind. The American Sheeple have proven one thing for sure. The National Anthem needs to change the words “Land of the Free” and “Home of the Brave” to “Land of the Ignorant Sheep” and “Home of the Foolish Cowards.” If the mind manipulating Boob Tube had not told all of these ignorant sheep to be afraid, this virus would have come and gone with very few people even noticing that anything unusual had happened. This proves beyond any shadow of a doubt that the Boob Tube controls the feeble little minds of most Americans. Use your heads for something other than a hat rack and/or a mask support device. Idiots!!!!!!!

  12. Thank goodness I’m flying before May 11. I won’t fly as long as I’m required to wear a mask.

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