Following JetBlue’s decision on April 27 to mandate that all
passengers wear masks, other U.S. airlines have come under pressure to do the
In a letter to trade group Airlines for America, leaders of
both parties in the House transportation committee urged airlines to adopt mask
requirements for all crew and passengers.
“It is critical that your member airlines have in place
strong and consistent policies that limit the spread of Covid-19 and protect
the safety and health of frontline airline workers and passengers,” reads the
The letter drew a quick endorsement from flight attendants.
The Association of Professional Flight Attendants, which represents American
Airlines flight attendants, issued a statement praising the transportation
“That masks are not yet being required during this pandemic
is putting people’s lives at risk,” said the union’s president, Julie Hedrick.
The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, which represents
flight attendants at United, Alaska, Spirit and Frontier among other carriers,
had earlier praised JetBlue for leading the way on mandating masks.
Both unions had also previously written letters to
government regulators asking for federal implementation of a mask mandate for
JetBlue’s mask requirement goes into effect May 4.
Passengers must wear masks during check-in, boarding, the flight and disembarkation.
Some foreign airlines are implementing mask requirements,
In an emailed statement, Airlines for America noted that all
U.S. carriers are in compliance with CDC guidance and that they have
implemented a variety steps -- including new cleaning protocols, back-to-front
boarding and blocking middle seats -- to safeguard passengers.
“The safety and wellbeing of passengers and crew is the top
priority of U.S. airlines. This continues to be a rapidly evolving situation
and U.S. carriers remain in close contact with Congress, the administration,
federal agencies and public health experts,” the trade group said.