Frontier Airlines Makes Face Masks Mandatory

Filed Under: Frontier

Following JetBlue’s lead, Frontier will become the second US airline to require passengers to wear face masks.

Frontier Airlines makes face coverings mandatory

As of May 8, 2020, Frontier Airlines will make face coverings over the nose and mouth mandatory for all customers. This new restriction will apply at ticket counters, in gate areas, and onboard Frontier aircraft. Young children are exempt from this policy.

Frontier will be communicating this new restriction to passengers by email, on their website, and during the check-in process.

The airline has already been requiring their crews to wear masks since April 13, 2020, so they were one of the first US airlines to add that restriction.

As Frontier Airlines CEO Barry Biffle describes this move:

“We want our passengers to feel comfortable when flying with us by protecting themselves and their fellow travelers as we all navigate the Covid-19 pandemic. This new measure is aligned with CDC recommendations and those of many municipalities within the U.S. that include wearing a face covering when out in public.”

Frontier will require passengers to wear masks

Frontier’s health acknowledgement form

Earlier this month Frontier implemented a program that requires passengers to accept a health acknowledgement prior to completing check-in via the company’s website or mobile app.

Passengers are required to certify that:

  • Neither they nor anyone in their household has exhibited COVID-19 related symptoms in the last 14 days
  • They will check their temperature before heading to the airport and not travel if they have a fever
  • They will wash their hands/sanitize before boarding the flight
  • Information on Frontier’s face covering policy will be added to the health acknowledgment

Of course the honor system only goes so far when it comes to that…

All airlines should be requiring face masks for now

In my opinion Frontier is doing exactly the right thing here:

  • 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

Frontier Airlines has become the second major US airline to require passengers to wear face masks. I don’t know what other airlines are waiting for, or why this isn’t government mandated.

Other airlines are simply “recommending” that passengers wear masks. The problem is that mask wearing is something that should be done for the common good. By wearing a mask you’re not just protecting yourself, but are also protecting others. This isn’t an area where you can just rely on other people hopefully doing the right thing…

Comments
  1. “By wearing a mask you’re not just protecting yourself, but are also protecting others.”

    Not if you then disregard all of the other better founded advice on distancing, hand hygiene etc.

  2. There is absolutely no evidence that wearing face masks that only cover the mouth and nose reduces the risk of contracting any infectious disease esp Covid. A grim reminder of that, is the numbers of medical staff who lost there life’s in the early days in Wuhan, before proper full body PPE was implemented and is was thought face masks and gloves would be sufficient. That’s why there is such an outcry in the U.K. with a shortage of full body PPE including full cover face mask (think of the full body PPE used in treating highly infectious diseases like Ebola). Surgeons wear masks to protect their patients from themselves, not the other way around. Wearing a mask like being advocated here by airlines will possibly partially reduce transmission from an infected person. But don’t practice not touching your face etc and washing your hands, and it’s all for nothing. On a flight in Europe at the start of the problem in Italy, lots of people were wearing face masks during the flight. Both people next to me, took their masks of to open and eat sandwiches with their bare hands, without first disinfecting their hands. Total farce. Please don’t perpetuate the misconception that wearing a mask will help reducing you getting covid. Wearing a mask to -tote to others? Yes there is logic in that.

  3. If airlines/airports/TSA provided face masks I would absolutely be in favor of this. However a lot of US households didn’t have face masks before the pandemic, and in many areas there are none available at any price.

  4. I’m with @Malibu69 on this. Washing your hands often is the #1 thing you (and everyone else) should be doing now. I would love to see actual hand *wash* stations placed throughout places rather than the stupid alcohol-based hand “sanitizers”. The alcohol-based cleaners work great in lab tests. Nowhere near as effective in the real world.

    The regular masks people are wearing ARE NOT designed to prevent you from getting sick. They’re helpful (but by no means 100% effective) in reducing how far the virus can travel if you have it AND cough/sneeze, but that’s about it. I see so many people using masks incorrectly that they’re *more* likely to transmit the virus to others or contaminate themselves.

    Gloves are even worse. It’s been shown in the foodservice industry that the use of gloves makes things LESS hygienic, not more. Workers don’t change their gloves as often as they wash bare hands. What I see people doing in public with gloves is absolutely disgusting. They’ll put the gloves on, touch all sorts of public surfaces, touch their purse, their phone, etc., without cleaning their gloves inbetween. Unless you’ve got open sores on your hands, skip the gloves. When you go shopping, imagine that everything you touch has dog poop on it and your hand then has dog poop on it. That’ll keep you from touching your face AND you’ll be itching to wash your hands ASAP.

  5. @Will: I’ve not seen masks available in these parts for some time.

    Something else which just crossed my mind — hypoxia. Due to the reduced cabin pressure at altitude, passengers’ SpO2 (oxygen saturation in the blood) drops. I know on long-hauls, my SpO2 drops down to around 90%, which well within the range for intervention on the ground. Toss a mask on someone who already is hypoxic, which will force them to re-breathe more CO2 and less O2, and we’re probably going to see an increase in flight diversions due to people passing out.

    an article from the British Journal of Medicine on the subject: https://www.bmj.com/rapid-response/2011/10/29/hypoxia-airline-passengers

    FAA’s research on the subject: https://www.faa.gov/data_research/research/med_humanfacs/cer/media/HealthEffectsVulnerablePassengers.pdf

  6. I’ll be interested to see how airlines handle customers for whom wearing a mask is not a good option.

    Example: I have a relative who “has” to travel on Monday (Has been stuck on the other side of the country for 6 weeks; current housing option is ending). Person has an pre-existing lung issue. The person is “at risk” and is an older American, so they are taking risk by traveling in any case. Nonetheless, the person does not feel comfortable wearing a mask (and so does not go out in public at all currently).

    Personally, I am a believer that masks are a good thing, but should not be “required.” They are very uncomfortable, and if a person is concerned about another traveler’s issues, perhaps it’s not time to fly. I don’t think we should “force” this on other travelers.

  7. Simple logic (already stated but it doesn’t hurt to remind people)

    Face Masks (even N95) DO NOT PROTECT ANYONE. If they did, no health care worker would have contracted Covid-19.

    If YOU have Covid-19, they MIGHT provide a small bit of protection for others but only if you have some idea of how to use a mask and what not to do. I have not seen anyone who has a clue while walking around with a mask.

    Masks are NOT AVAILABLE. Not medical grade as they should be reserved for front line health personnel. Crappy home made things that look like they would work but are totally useless except as a fashion accessory can be worn but why? All they do is give a FALSE sense of security so people then behave badly.

    Wash you hands Wash your hands Don’t touch your face Don’t touch your MASK EVER.

    Distance yourself. Stay home.

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