JetBlue became the first major US airline to require their employees to wear masks, and now they’ll become the first major US airline to require passengers to wear masks.
All JetBlue passengers have to wear masks
As of May 4, 2020, JetBlue will require all passengers to wear a face covering during travel. Passengers will have to cover their nose and mouth throughout their journey, including during check-in, boarding, while inflight, and while deplaning.
Customers will be reminded of this requirement before their flight via email and at the airport by both terminal signage and announcements.
Small children who are not able to maintain a face covering are exempt from this requirement.
Passengers will have to bring their own masks — interestingly American will be offering passengers masks but won’t require them to be worn, while JetBlue will be requiring masks to be worn but won’t be offering them to passengers.
This is in line with CDC recommendations
This new JetBlue policy is based on Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines, that indicate all individuals should wear a face covering in public to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.
A face covering is defined as an item of cloth that should fit snugly against the side of the face, be secured with ties or ear loops, and include multiple layers of fabric and allow for unrestricted breathing. The CDC recommends that surgical masks and N-95 respirators be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders.
As JetBlue’s President and Chief Operating Officer, Joanna Geraghty, described this:
“Wearing a face covering isn’t about protecting yourself it’s about protecting those around you. 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. We are also asking our customers to follow these CDC guidelines in the airport as well.”
This is the right policy for now
At this very point it makes sense for this policy to exist:
- 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 (fortunately JetBlue is doing quite a bit of seat blocking)
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.
I commend JetBlue for becoming the first major US airline to require passengers to wear masks. Personally I think this is something that lawmakers should address rather than leaving it to individual airlines, though.
Let me be clear — I get that many people find it uncomfortable to wear masks for long periods. I’m among those people. That’s also why I’m not flying for now, among other reasons. But for those who do make the decision to fly, this will at least make things a little better.
I’m curious to see how many cases there will be of people being kicked off flights for refusing to wear masks, whether out of protest, or whatever else…
How do you feel about this policy from JetBlue, and would you like to see other airlines match?