Both airlines will provide face masks for those who do not have them.

By Cailey Rizzo
May 01, 2020
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Delta and United have joined fellow U.S. airlines requiring passengers to wear face masks while traveling.

Beginning May 4, passengers flying either airline will be required to wear face masks or appropriate face coverings in check-in areas and while flying. Children are exempt from the mandate.

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Travelers should also wear face coverings while in high-traffic areas in the airport terminal, including bathrooms and security lines.

Both airlines will provide face masks for those who do not have them.

“Nothing is more important than the health and safety of our people and our customers,” Bill Lentsch, Delta’s Chief Customer Experience Officer, said in a statement. “While we remain committed to our new standard of clean and to providing more space for our customers when they travel, we take seriously the CDC guidelines for adding this extra layer of protection. We believe this change will give customers and employees some additional comfort when traveling with us.”

United became the first U.S. airline to require employees to wear face masks while working on April 24. The coverings will now be necessary for passengers as well.

The airline's Chief Customer Officer Toby Enqvist explained in a statement provided to T+L that along with the face-covering mandate, United's new precautions have become, "a new way of life for us all."

"We're boarding fewer customers at a time and starting from the back of the plane to avoid crowding in the gate area, on the jet bridge and in the aisle," he said. We're automatically blocking middle seats to give you enough space on board, requiring all our employees on board, including our flight attendants, to wear masks and, in early May, making masks required and available to our customers."

Passengers will be reminded of the rules in emails and notices before they leave for the airport, in addition to signs posted around the terminals.

Frontier Airlines and Lufthansa have also announced that they're requiring passengers to wear face coverings while flying and throughout the terminal.

In early April, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggested that all Americans wear face masks when they leave the house, to prevent unintentionally spreading the disease. People in public can wear cloth face masks instead of seeking out N95 masks, which should be reserved for medical professionals.