Travel insights from Andrea Sedlacek, editor of The Compass

Should Masks be Federally Mandated on Airplanes?

Passengers wearing masks on airplanes should be federally mandated, according to Sara Nelson, international president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA.

In a recent interview on the TODAY Show, Nelson stressed the importance of the federal government enforcing mask policies for passengers on flights and not leaving it up to the airlines.

"It is absurd that the FAA has not done this yet, that DOT has not taken a leadership role here," Nelson said when asked if the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) should step in and mandate mask usage, as policies differ from airline to airline. “Here we are, well into this virus and still no mandate from the federal government,” Nelson added. “We absolutely need that backing from the government.”

Flight crews can only do so much to enforce an airline’s rules for passengers to wear masks while onboard and though most passengers want to follow the rules, she said there are some that do not want to. She referenced a flight attendant who was recently assaulted by an individual for enforcing a mask policy. The flight attendant was injured but is recovering.

“We need to have consequences, just like if you smoke onboard,” Nelson said. She said serious compliance will only come if there are serious consequences for not complying.

The FAA has a page dedicated to COVID-19 regulation updates, but there have been no new guidelines mandating face mask usage for passengers to help protect flight crews. There has been some updated guidance to ensure face masks are available for passengers, but it’s more focused on making masks available to symptomatic passengers than a sweeping enforcement.

“Public health policy has to require that we’re in this together, especially in the airline industry where we cannot properly socially distance,” Nelson said.

You May Also Like

Masks Required on Alaska Airlines Flights as of August 7

Effective August 7, 2020, Alaska Airlines is requiring all passengers to wear a mask on flights, except children under 2 – that is the airline’s only exception. Every passenger’s mask or face covering must cover their nose and mouth and is only allowed to be removed when eating or drinking (the airl

Delta Takes Mask Policy a Step Further, Adds Health Screening

Delta is getting serious about passengers wearing masks on flights. As of July 20, 2020, “customers who indicate they have an underlying condition that prevents them from wearing a mask are required to complete a "Clearance-To-Fly" process before being permitted to travel, for everyone's safety,” De

A Travel Agent’s Experience Traveling During COVID

There are many aspects of travel that are more intimidating than they were before the COVID pandemic. Standard travel processes have changed. We used to walk robotically through airline check-in, TSA, and rental car transactions. We approach these situations now with fresh eyes, unsure of how they’r

Southwest Updates and Clarifies Face Covering Policy

Southwest Airlines recently announced an update and a clarification to their face covering policy. As of July 27, all passengers on Southwest flights will be required to wear a face covering. The airline made the announcement in a July 22 press release: “Effective July 27, due to the safety risk of


comments

1000 characters remaining
Comment as:

Bob C | 07/28/20 - 11:20 AM

I must agree with Sherry with the mandating things.  I also like to state the that the wearing of a mask does not hamper anyone for any physical reason.  Not wearing one is just rude to everyone else.  That is just an excuse. There are no constitutional rights when it come to you wearing a mask if the flight lines make it policy.  You could always walk, it is your constitutional right. The airlines is not a public  company as far as I know.

2   | reply

rpare1 | 07/28/20 - 09:05 AM


2   | reply

Sherry | 07/25/20 - 09:57 AM

1   3 | reply

Joanna | 07/28/20 - 09:05 AM

  2 | reply

show less

show less