"If you board the plane and you insist on not wearing your mask, we will insist that you don’t fly Delta into the future.”

By Alison Fox
July 24, 2020
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Delta has already placed more than 100 people on a no-fly list for refusing to wear a mask, the carrier’s CEO Ed Bastian said earlier this week, in an effort to crack down on its mask policy.

“We’ve been... steadily and rather aggressively stepping up our enforcement of the mask policy,” Bastian said in an interview on the TODAY show this week. “You cannot board a Delta plane unless you have a mask on. If you board the plane and you insist on not wearing your mask, we will insist that you don’t fly Delta into the future.”

The enforcement comes as Delta has implemented a “Clearance-to-Fly” process, requiring passengers who claim they can’t wear a mask for medical reasons receive pre-approval before boarding. Ultimately, Bastian suggested passengers who cannot wear a mask should probably consider other means of transportation.

“We've told them then you may not want to fly, to reconsider whether air travel is the right form of transportation,” he said.

Delta first started requiring passengers wear masks in the beginning of May following the carrier’s decision to block middle seats and restrict capacity on planes. The airline will continue to cap seating capacity through Sept. 30.

“I know there’s a lot of anxiety in the general public — and even for road warriors who have been out flying for years — their first time back, there’s a level of angst that they need almost be walked through the process,” Bastian said, noting planes are sanitized and pointing to the airline’s policy to block seats.

“We need demand to come back,” he added. “What we really need is a vaccine. We need some medical confidence back in consumers and continue to restore confidence in air travel.”

Delta isn’t alone in doubling down on its mask policy. Starting July 27, Southwest Airlines will require all passengers two and older to wear a mask without exception. Customers will only be allowed to remove their masks “briefly” to drink, eat, or take medicine. On July 29, American Airlines will do the same.

Both American and United Airlines have also vowed to temporarily ban passengers from flying if they refuse to wear a mask on board as well as require masks in airports in addition to on planes.