JetBlue to Require All Passengers to Wear Face Masks

JetBlue Airways on Monday said it will require all passengers to wear face masks aboard its flights beginning May 4 to help stem the spread of the coronavirus.

Buoyed perhaps by the call of powerful Association of Flight Attendants union head Sara Nelson, JetBlue’s decision comes on the heels of its previous edict to have all crew members wear the protective coverings.

“Wearing a face covering isn’t about protecting yourself it’s about protecting those around you,” Joanna Geraghty, president and chief operating officer of JetBlue, said in a statement. “This is the new flying etiquette. Onboard, cabin air is well circulated and cleaned through filters every few minutes but this is a shared space where we have to be considerate of others.”

Passengers must wear face masks at all times during the check-in, boarding and deplaning process, as well as during the length of the flight. Parents should note that small children who have difficulty keeping a mask on are exempt from the new rule.

JetBlue is the first U.S. airline to make such a requirement of passengers. Earlier on Monday, American Airlines announced it will enhance its cleaning procedures and will now provide customers with personal protective equipment (PPE) to prioritize the health and wellness of its team members and passengers.

However, the airline did not say whether passengers are required to wear face masks. Nor did Delta Air Lines, which also said it would offer face masks to passengers but not demand that customers wear them. Delta did require its crew to begin wearing PPE.

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