Airlines to Enforce Strict Face Covering Requirements
Airlines continue to strengthen the steps they are taking to protect passenger health throughout their trip. Travelers will notice new signage, hand sanitizer stations and plexiglass shields at ticket and gate counters. Kiosks, queue lines and seating areas are arranged to accommodate social distancing.
Airlines are conducting more rigorous cleaning and disinfecting on the aircraft as well as boarding back-to-front, blocking seats and adjusting food and beverage services to allow for distancing between people. During flight, fresh air is circulated in the cabin every two to four minutes and many airplanes have hospital grade HEPA filters that remove more than 99 percent of airborne particles.
Most recently, the airlines have implemented more stringent face covering requirements and increased enforcement that provides the ability to ban passengers who refuse to wear one.
RDU recommends passengers check with their airline before they travel for information on the latest requirements.
Some of the precautions airlines at RDU are taking include:
- Alaska Airlines requires employees and customers to wear a cloth face covering for the duration of the flight, including boarding and getting off the plane. If you are unable to wear a mask throughout the airport and for the duration of your flight for any reason, you will not be allowed to fly on Alaska. Customers who repeatedly refuse to wear a mask or face covering may be suspended from flying on the airline. Through Oct. 31, 2020, Alaska is limiting the number of guests on its flights and blocking seats. Alaska Airlines uses electrostatic disinfectant sprayers to clean overhead bins, armrests, tray tables, seatbelts, and lavatories. Between every flight, a dedicated cleaning crew covers the most critical areas using a high-grade EPA disinfectant.
- Allegiant requires all customers to wear a face covering over their nose and mouth at all times while traveling. Temperature check stations have been installed for use by Allegiant employees. Customers are encouraged not to book the middle seat unless it’s to ensure families can sit together. All frequently touched surfaces – from seatbelts and tray tables to galleys and lavatories – are sanitized and disinfected thoroughly during every cleaning. The airline treats all aircraft with an advanced antimicrobial protectant that kills viruses, germs and bacteria on contact for 14 days.
- American Airlines requires face coverings for all employees and travelers. Travelers are also required to wear one in the airport where your trip begins, where it ends and where you connect. Planes are cleaned with electrostatic sprayers once a week using an EPA-approved disinfectant. American also cleans high-touch and public areas like tray tables, seatbelt buckles, armrests, window shades, seatback screens, doors and overhead bin handles before every flight. HEPA filters are installed on all mainline aircraft.
- Delta requires customers and employees to wear masks or face coverings. Middle seats are blocked and the total number of customers per flight has been reduced. Electrostatic spraying with high-grade disinfectant is used to sanitize planes before every flight. All Delta aircraft are ventilated with fresh, outside air, or air that is recirculated through high-grade HEPA filters.
- Frontier requires passengers and employees to wear a face covering over their nose and mouth throughout their travel experience including at ticket counters, in the gate areas, baggage claim and onboard all flights. All planes are cleaned with an EPA-rated disinfectant, with a focus on passenger seating, cabin walls, overhead bins, galleys and lavatories. Frontier aircraft are equipped with the same HEPA filters used in hospitals and doctors’ offices. Frontier is the first domestic airline to institute temperature screenings for all passengers. Temperatures are taken with a touchless thermometer at the gate for all passengers and crew. Anyone with a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher will not be able to board the plane. Passengers are also asked to accept a health acknowledgment.
- JetBlue requires all travelers to wear a face covering over their nose and mouth throughout their journey. Masks with vents or exhalation valves are not permitted. The airline is using electrostatic sprayers in aircraft cabins during overnight deep cleanings, equipping its planes with hospital-grade HEPA air filters and piloting UV cleaning technology. JetBlue is also blocking middle seats on larger aircraft and aisle seats on smaller aircraft and requiring all travelers to complete a health declaration.
- Southwest requires employees and customers to wear face coverings. They are also using an electrostatic disinfectant and an anti-microbial spray on every plane and modifying their boarding process to accommodate social distancing. Through at least Oct. 31, Southwest is providing customers more personal space by limiting the number of people onboard, so there will be no need for the middle seats to be occupied.
- Spirit requires face coverings for all travelers and employees. Masks with valves are not allowed. Travelers who are unable to wear an appropriate face covering for any reason will not be permitted to fly on Spirit. Customers who don’t comply will lose future flight privileges. Spirit uses two EPA-registered fogging treatments to disinfect their aircraft, and their entire fleet is equipped with state-of-the-art HEPA filters.
- United requires travelers to wear a face covering during their entire flight and in the airport. United has also implemented temperature checks for employees and flight attendants at hub airports. The airline is also disinfecting high-touch areas like tray tables and armrests before boarding. Electrostatic sprayers are used to clean United’s aircraft to standards that meet or exceed CDC guidelines. United uses state-of-the-art, hospital-grade HEPA filters to circulate air within the cabin.