American Airlines Will Offer Passengers Masks

Filed Under: American

American Airlines has announced some updates to how they’ll be cleaning their planes, and also to how they’ll be protecting passengers and crews.

American flight attendants will be required to wear masks

Starting May 1, 2020, American Airlines flight attendants will be required to wear face masks during every flight. The airline has added a drawer in galleys on every flight containing personal protective equipment, including masks for flight attendants and pilots, and other sanitizing items.

American has come a long way regarding this, because up until several weeks ago the airline specifically prohibited employees from wearing masks. American is the third major US airline to require flight attendants to wear masks, after JetBlue and United.

American will offer passengers masks

Starting in early May, American will start the process of distributing face masks and either sanitizing wipes or gels to passengers. This offering will expand to all flights as supplies and operational conditions allow.

This is a step in the right direction, though this needs to be taken a step further. For the time being all passengers on flights should be wearing masks, whether that comes as a government directive or an airline policy.

I don’t understand why that’s not the case, because the CDC recommends masks when social distancing isn’t possible, so why aren’t masks becoming mandatory on planes? We’ve seen so many stories about outrage over full flights, and this seems like something that needs to happen.

American will clean planes more thoroughly

Starting in early May, American will be expanding the cleaning procedure that’s currently used during longer stops to every mainline flight. This new procedure will use disinfectant approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and will include thorough cleaning in the following areas:

  • In customer areas, tray tables, seatbelt buckles, armrests, window shades and seatback screens; it also includes wiping door and overhead bin handles
  • In team member areas, enhanced galley cleaning, jumpseats and crew rest seats; the new enhancements add cockpit surfaces as well

These build on cleaning procedures that American added in early March, including additional touchpoints in the cabin, increased provisioning of hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes for crew members, and expanded fogging with an EPA-registered hospital-grade disinfectant in all public areas of the aircraft.

Bottom line

These are all positive developments from American Airlines — planes will be cleaned more thoroughly, flight attendants will have to wear masks, and passengers will be offered masks and sanitizer.

Now the next step just needs to be that masks are mandatory for passengers for the time being.

  1. @Ben:

    “This is a step in the right direction, though this needs to be taken a step further. For the time being all passengers on flights should be wearing masks, whether that comes as a government directive or an airline policy.”

    Based on what, your opinion? The CDC RECOMMENDS does not equal REQUIREMENT. You also missed that JetBlue is requiring all passengers to wear face masks. All of this is a little late, based on states starting to open. Just my opinion.

  2. @ JDH What does states reopening have anything to do with this being too late? If anything, that’s exactly when this rule should kick into place. States reopening might mean an uptick in travel, which means more crowded planes.

    Really, the FAA should be imposing a requirement that all passengers wear masks and fining people that don’t comply. Airlines can impose rules all they want, but they aren’t going to divert every flight when passengers inevitably take off their masks after takeoff. A hefty fine though, which I imagine would require an FAA rule, might actually deter people.

  3. Unless the airlines are handing masks to passengers as they are boarding, I think it is ridiculous to require masks of every passenger. I wouldn’t know where to find a mask if I needed one and I live in Atlanta – the best I could do is to tie a t-shirt around my face, but even then, t-shift fabric provides less than a 10% reduction in particulate movement.

    I don’t think masks are a bad idea at all, but with how much distribution of supplies has been mismanaged during this crisis, they just aren’t available regardless of how much someone might be willing to pay.

  4. People need to get the message that the safer you make people feel, the sooner they will start getting back to their normal activities, and the sooner things will recover. Everyone should be wearing masks on airplanes through at least August, and probably well into the fall. Put this rule into place, and your favorite flights, destinations, etc will return sooner.

  5. Will – you live in Atlanta, which has a decent amount of cases. Every American should have a lot of mask and should be wearing them in public, especially as we end lockdowns (and we should be ending lockdowns now). The aversion to masks is one of the reasons that US/European deaths have exceeded Asia…

  6. It feels like we’ve come a long way since the “Starluxing Through A Zombie Apocalypse” article of a few months ago, which implied that masks were more a cultural sensitivity than an essential necessity.

  7. Looking at the infected and death numbers in Asia vs Europe + NA, it’s baffling how some can still claim there is no need for masks, and that they obviously know better than countries that didn’t completely mess up.

  8. @Ben

    again, recommendation does not equal requirement. I think you missed the point I made originally, but thanks for responding.

  9. @Bob — an FAA mandate? You will probably feel safer if you continue to stay safer at home rather than worry about crowded airplanes and FAA mandates.

  10. I think mandating everyone to wear masks on flights is a good idea. If so, airlines would need to provide this to passengers.

    This should make everyone feel safe about flying again

  11. I seriously don’t get the people still fighting this mask/face covering movement. Ok sure, not everyone can get a proper mask these days but if you’re smart enough to buy a plane ticket and make your way to an airport you should be able to think of some type of substitute face covering. Will face coverings ensure a contagious person doesn’t spread…of course not but it’s all about reducing mouth/nose air flow from that person thereby mitigating the spread. Common sense…come on people

  12. Seems like all airlines would want to provide and have their logo on the mask and when people use them at home its free branding.

  13. American Airlines standard complimentary mask will be made of toilet tissue
    Upgrades for masks of fair protection can be upgraded at an additional cost
    A list of premium mask upgrades & prices available at check in
    Please notes all masks are non refundable
    N95 masks not available in inventory

  14. “I don’t understand why that’s not the case, because the CDC recommends masks when social distancing isn’t possible, so why aren’t masks becoming mandatory on planes? ”

    Because a recommendation is not a requirement.

    The CDC does not REQUIRE masks when social distancing isn’t possible.

  15. My 45 years and over 10MM of travel is guiding what I am saying below

    Let’s step back and get real ..with today’s airplane filtration systems, unless your seat mate or someone behind you directly coughs, sneezes or (possibly) breathes on you, your chances of getting ANY illness is slim – and that is assuming that you have a full plane – and this is months away…

    Requiring a face mask is an exercise in optics… especially at this juncture when some therapeutic may be weeks away and actual testing shows that this virus is not nearly as deadly in the general population as the media wants everyone to believe it is

    There is no way that in any flight over an hour, people are not going to have to drink or eat and doing that through a face covering is impossible –

    Also, if you get on the plane with cold or a cough, what are you going to do with the remnants that you expel?

    And the list goes on..

    Sooner rather than later, the N95 mask will become readily available to everyone so if a person who wants proper protection can wear one.

    To force everyone to wear a substandard face covering is not only impractical, but it will give people a false sense of security since at best, these block only 25% of small particles..

    Maybe instead, we can use common sense in this situation:
    – A simple temperature screening like what has been done is Asia for years is a good start- not foolproof (NOTHING will be)
    -MOST IMPORTANT – don’t force people to fly when they are sick!! Many people get on planes knowing that they are ill because they have non-refundable tickets with penalties –

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