JetBlue has become the first U.S. airline to require
passengers to wear face masks.
The policy will take effect on May 4. It will apply during
check-in, boarding, in flight and during disembarkation. Small children who are
not able to maintain a face covering will be exempt from the requirement.
“This is the new flying etiquette,” said JetBlue president
Joanna Geraghty in a prepared statement. “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.”
The move comes as several U.S. airlines are taking new steps
to increase in-flight safety. JetBlue, United, American and Frontier have all
begun requiring flight attendants to wear face masks. And on Monday, American said
that in early May it will start distributing sanitizing wipes or gels and face
masks to customers. The offering will expand to all flights as supplies and
operational conditions allow, American said.