U.S. Airlines to Require Face Coverings for Employees and Passengers

(evrim ertik/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images) Photo by evrim ertik/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

After JetBlue said it would require all travelers to wear a face covering for the duration of their travel, Airlines for America (A4A) announced that all of its member passenger carriers will be voluntarily requiring that customer-facing employees and passengers wear a cloth face covering over their nose and mouth throughout the journey—during check-in, boarding, in-flight and deplaning. Carriers are working to implement this policy as quickly as possible.

A4A adds its member airlines all meet or exceed U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance and have implemented intensive cleaning protocols, in some cases to include electrostatic cleaning and fogging procedures. Carriers are working extra to sanitize cockpits, cabins and key touchpoints, like tray tables, arm rests, seatbelts, buttons, vents, handles and lavatories, with CDC-approved disinfectants. More details are available here.

In addition to enhancing sanitation procedures, carriers have implemented a range of policies—such as back-to-front boarding and adjusting food and beverage services—to help ensure the wellbeing of passengers and crew.

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Other airline updates include:

Customers on United Airlines now have until May 31 to make changes to or cancel any travel they have booked through the end of the year without fees. If you decide to cancel your flight, you can retain the value of your ticket to be applied to a new ticket without a fee; these electronic travel certificates are valid for 24 months from the date they were issued. (This includes all currently valid electronic certificates and all new ones issued on or after April 1, 2020.)

On Hawaiian Airlines, tickets purchased between March 1 and May 31, 2020 will have no change fees for any changes made within two years of the original ticket purchase date. Tickets purchased before March 1, 2020 with travel dates between March 1 and September 30, 2020 will have no change fees for rebooked travel that begins on or before May 31, 2022. Fare differences may apply. 

Alaska Airlines has capped First Class seat sales at 50 percent and all middle seats on large aircraft and all aisle seats on small aircraft are blocked for purchase through May 31, 2020. (Note that families or groups can still sit together but must make the request with the airline’s reservations team or at the airport.) It also announced that it is extending guests’ elite status for 2021. Any earnings from January 1 and April 30, 2020 will be rolled over into 2021 to help earn a higher status in 2022.

A4A member airlines include Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Atlas Air, Delta, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue, Southwest and United.

For more information, visit www.airlinestakeaction.com.

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