United Airlines Makes Masks Mandatory For Flight Attendants

Filed Under: United

US airlines sure have evolved on their position when it comes to employees wearing face masks.

United makes face masks mandatory for flight attendants

As of today (Friday, April 24, 2020), United Airlines is making it mandatory for flight attendants to wear face masks or other face coverings while on duty. Previously it was optional for flight attendants to wear them.

This is intended to be in line with CDC recommendations to wear masks when social distancing isn’t possible (and clearly it’s not possible for flight attendants).

With this new requirement, United Airlines:

  • Will place 20 masks on each domestic aircraft
  • Will place 40 masks on each international aircraft
  • They won’t be replenished every flight, so flight attendants will be expected to reuse them, and they’ll be restocked as needed, and as supplies allow

Obviously things have evolved quite a bit — until mid-March, American Airlines expressly prohibited flight attendants from wearing face masks, though they changed their policy under pressure.

United is the second US airline to make face masks mandatory, as JetBlue became the first to have this requirement as of April 19, 2020. American also followed shortly thereafter, requiring masks as of May 1.

Flight attendant union calls for stronger measures

The Association of Flight Attendants (AFA), representing all United Airlines flight attendants, is requesting further measures. The union has written a letter to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar requesting stronger measures to protect flight crews and passengers from the spread of COVID-19.

The AFA is requesting the following until COVID-19 is contained:

Bottom line

United Airlines has become the second major US airline to require flight attendants to wear masks. At most other US airlines it’s just an option. However, the AFA is demanding more, including all passengers being required to wear masks, and also for leisure travel to be ended for now.

Of course in other parts of the world crews have been given more protection. For example, Philippine Airlines flight attendants are all wearing PPE.

Would you support all passengers being required to wear masks? Do you agree that leisure travel should be banned until COVID-19 is under control?

  1. Far too late to be adding this policy. Would have made much more sense to require them a month ago.

  2. Asian airlines giving crew fresh PPE and N95 masks, while US airlines make their crew re-use disposable flimsy masks. A wealthy and developed country indeed.

  3. Yes agree on face masks for all. Disagree on banning leisure travel – a 737 with 10 people is multitudes safer than going to Walmart. Is the TSA SS going to ask for my papers?

  4. I’m not flying again until airlines install overhead UV lamps, warm Lysol face wipes and Clorox welcome drinks in business class!

  5. It’s also worth noting that Flight Attendants that have a medical reason for not being able to wear the mask do not have to…So there is still a chance that you will see crew without them on…

  6. To mask, or not to mask, that is the question:
    Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer.

    I cannot see how non N95 face coverings will give you any real protection. It is always the false sense of security that we let our guards down and we get hit.
    Social distancing is much more effective than homemade masks.
    When social distancing isn’t possible get a proper mask.

    If you want face masks to be mandatory then make some standard for the equipment.

    Get this I’m wearing mask all the time now using the same fabric that was used on the Emperor’s New Clothes.

  7. @Eskimo

    It doesn’t really protect you from getting it. It prevents you from spreading the virus if you are asymptomatic/you are traveling when you are sick

  8. Eskimo is so right. My work sent them to us to wear until we get tested. If you’ve had it you will be classified “immune” (which there is still debate about); if you have it, your either asymptomatic or sick and will be classified “immune” after 14 days of quarantine or until you are done being sick; final class is neither and you get to stay home.

    Most people also don’t clean, touch too much or don’t store their mask properly. It is a false sense of security. Again, more to stop the spread verses stopping you from getting it.

  9. All the masks in the world won’t protect people. There is likely no vaccine for a year (if then) and the measures in place only slow down (and don’t stop infection). People need to understand everyone will be exposed at some point and the majority infected (estimated between 60-90%). Many will die but the vast majority will have no symptoms or very mild ones. This virus is very contagious and herd immunity is the only way to slow it down.

    Sorry but that is medical reality. If you are old and/or compromised the only option you have is be a hermit since if you are out at all you will likely get it.

    I’m all for letting things work themselves out as they always do with survival of the fittest (even if it means I don’t survive). We can’t shut everything down for an extended period to protect everyone so the sooner people understand that the better.

  10. I don’t know where you get your information that we have to use re-usable masks.. The vast majority of flight attendants have their own personal masks. And although some US airlines may be providing them, many still prefer to use their own….

  11. This is getting so ridiculous- trump just recommended injections of disinfectants so why not add that to this list?

  12. I agree that masks should be required for both crew and passengers, especially when there isn’t 2m between passengers. More importantly, disinfecting wipes should be provided to passengers as it is hard to wash your hands frequently on a plane, and flight attendants should wear gloves. Leisure travel is hard to regulate. No doubt Florida wants to open up to tourists ASAP, but what qualifies as leisure? What about someone traveling to visit elderly parents having trouble caring for themselves. It isn’t work…but not really leisure.

  13. @Eddie

    That isn’t entirely true. And this is the biggest thing I’m worried about.
    Because of this chain of thinking, asymptomatic or not, now you believe that your homemade mask can protect you from spreading. Next step, you’re out to the beach and go party, while wearing a homemade mask of course. You think you done your part to stop the spreading, you don’t.

    Yes the underlying benefit is to help stop spreading it. But social distancing does just that too.
    The concept is not fool proof. How many people would understand with these mask you are still at risk of spreading the virus.

    Homemade mask are not as worse as disposable masks. Those stuff are not design to be washed or reused. Those are the real petri dish for other bacterial growth. Maybe you survived COVID, but don’t forget Asthma can be lethal too. There is hardly any news coverage (if any) about long term affects. Same as 9/11 responders and survivors who didn’t know about cancer until years later.

    Unless there is a standard for mandatory equipment, you should consider every mask is made from the same fabric as the Emperor’s New Clothes.

  14. @AC-I guess we should halt all search for a cure for cancer and all other viruses and diseases that can kill us to let the weak go ahead and die? Maybe when babies are born with birth defects we go ahead and leave them in the forest for the wild animals to kill. After all, how will we stay strong as a society if we don’t allow only the fittest to survive? smfh

  15. Why are we forced to wear a mask? The flight attendant uses their gloves to pull a mask out from a ziplock bag of several others to hand to you. Someone put them in there and now that makes two people contaminating those masks. We didn’t wear a mask boarding, stand or sitting at the gate, waiting in TSA, checking in at the kiosk which nobody is cleaning after every use. Not to mention the mask blocks absolutely no virus. These masks are not necessarily!

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