Are We About To See All The Banned Passengers During The Pandemic Flying Again?

With the federal transportation mask mandate expected to come to an end in less than a month, we can expect to see many of the thousands of passengers banned by airlines over masks to return to the skies. That’s because, unlike bans for violent or other abusive behavior, banks over masks were often considered temporary.

Even before there was a federal mask mandate about 2500 passengers were banned by U.S. airlines over mask non-compliance. It was an airline rule long before it was a government rule.

This conservative commentator was banned by American Airlines solely over masks – and not other bad behavior – and long before there was a federal masking rule. Usually it took multiple violations before being banned but not in that case.

American was clear that there were two different banned passenger lists according to the airline’s Vice President of Inflight,

  1. Mask compliance. These passengers who refuse to wear a mask are banned from flying the airline at least until the mask mandate has been lifted. They may be unwilling to follow the airline’s and federal rules about masks, but they might be otherwise peaceful.

  2. Misconduct. “Any physical threat, touching, name calling that’s misconduct.”

Each airline took a different approach. Several said explicitly, like American, that bans for mask non-compliance would last only until the mask requirement was lifted.

I’ve reached out to each of the 3 largest U.S. carriers to learn how they’re handling passengers banned during the pandemic for mask non-compliance and not for other on board behaviors, once the transportation mask mandate sunsets.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. It’ll be like emptying out Arkham with angry inmates coming back with a literal vengeance. What could possibly go wrong?

  2. Oh great, Saturday afternoon and time for Gary to feed the trolls. All of the offensive creatures from BOTH sides of the political spectrum start to crawl out of their holes and head for their keyboards…

  3. Thing 1, I was not aware of this — I thought these individuals were banned as opposed to suspended. So, I’ll take the article as a public service announcement. As for your “BOTH sides” comment, agreed. Let’s see if any of them can exercise self-control and civility.

  4. @Thing 1 – An interesting point and I bit at the hook. While I normally think your comments are great they don’t normally insult absolutely everyone. If you saw the headline and knew what was coming, why read it and participate?

  5. Hi Gary,

    Typo in first paragraph .. ” banks over masks were often considered temporary.”

  6. Only those individuals who used the mask mandate as an excuse to act violently, assaulted anyone and whose conduct caused flights to divert/delayed should be banned for life.

  7. Awe too bad I love not being on plane without these ‘patriots’ that lack the ability to comply with instructions as provided by crew members.

  8. Honest question, do the people that refuse to wear masks on planes wait until they board to take off the mask? I’m just curious if they wear them in the airport and comply until boarding. If not, why isn’t anyone enforcing this within the airport and it then becomes the poor FA’s job to deal with these people

  9. I banned myself from flying for the longest time, but finally succumbed and flew to Florida for Christmas. Outbound was great, everyone wore their masks, but nobody cared if the thing was over your nose or not. Return flight to SFO was a nighmare. It wasn’t enough to wear the disgusting mask, but one of the FAs up front wanted it up to my eyeballs. I declined to do that and she had the Captain call the FAA. I was counselled by a very nice man and went on my way. This has been the oddest two years of my life I think. Everything seems absolutely nuts. I pray it all ends soon.

  10. Get rid of the government mandated ID checks to fly domestically on scheduled passenger flights, and then the blacklists wouldn’t fly as well.

    It’s long overdue to have the unAmerican blacklisting system applicable to domestic flying and that also means getting DHS/TSA completely out of the passenger ID-checking nonsense.

  11. I think that those banned/suspended for not wearing mask (as opposed to other misconduct) should have their ban/suspension lifted when the mask mandate finally expires.

  12. Wah, wah, wah…… Break the rules and you should be held accountable, PERIOD. NO argument, masks are an inconvenience, but it’s the law and you have a choice, comply or stay home, it’s that simply, even for the simple minded, i.e. the stupid!! I say, ban them for 1-5 more years, depending on severity of violation(s).
    As for assault, whether verbal or physical, ban for minimum of 5 years and in case of violence make for life!!
    Flying is a privilege not a break the law, pay the price, TS!!

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