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.
If the government ends the public transportation mask mandate next month, should passengers that were banned by airlines for not wearing masks have their traveling privileges reinstated simultaneously?
— Ross Feinstein (@RossFeinstein) March 18, 2022
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,
- 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.
- 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.