All major U.S. airlines require face masks for travelers two and older, but the fine print isn't always the same.

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Federal law requires all airline passengers in the U.S. to wear a face mask in airports and on board. Major U.S. airlines mandate that face masks be worn by travelers two and older, though passengers are allowed to lower their coverings while eating or drinking on board.

A Delta Airline employee gives a face mask to a passenger during check in at the Ronald Reagan National Airport
Credit: Michael A. McCoy/Getty Images

Although there are some consistencies across the airlines' face mask policies, the details aren't always the same. Here's what you need to know about every major U.S. airline's face mask rules, as well as our recommendations for masks to where while flying.

5 Face Masks Made for Travel

United Airlines

United requires all passengers two and older to wear a face mask without vents or openings. Bandanas don't count, and any passenger with a face shield must also wear an acceptable face mask on board, according to United's policy.

Delta Airlines

Like United, Delta prohibits the use of bandanas or scarves in place of face masks. The airline requires all passengers to wear a disposable or cloth face mask without valves, slits, or holes. Delta's mask policy does permit passengers to wear gaiters with at least two layers.

Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines allows passengers to wear a disposable mask or cloth face covering with at least two layers of tightly woven breathable fabric. It accepts gaiters, as long as they have at least two layers of fabric, cover the nose and mouth, and are secured under the chin.

American Airlines

American Airlines requires all passengers to wear a face mask without vents or exhalation valves on board. Gaiters, scarves, and bandanas are not considered acceptable face coverings under American Airlines' policy.

JetBlue

JetBlue requires passengers to wear a face mask without exhalation valves or vents on board. The airline also prohibits the use of personal tents, personal air purifiers, and face masks connected to battery-operated filters.

Hawaiian Airlines

Hawaiian Airlines requires that masks cover both the nose and mouth. The airline accepts gaiters and cloth masks with at least two layers of fabric, as long as they don't have valves or vents. Hawaiian specifically prohibits scarves and bandanas under its face mask policy.

Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines requires passengers to wear a face mask without direct exhaust valves. Disposable medical masks and cloth masks are acceptable under the airline's policy, which went into effect last May.

Allegiant Air

Unlike Delta and Southwest, Allegiant does not accept gaiters under its face mask policy. Allegiant requires face masks to be made of a solid material, fully cover the nose and mouth, and have no exhalation valves.

Frontier Airlines

Frontier Airlines requires passengers to wear a face mask that fits snugly over their mouth and nose and is secured under their chin. The airline does not allow triangle bandanas or face masks with valves or vents. Plus, it reminds passengers that violating face mask rules may result in being banned from the airline.

Spirit Airlines

Like Frontier, Spirit Airlines does not allow passengers on board with triangular bandanas or face masks with valves or vents. Passengers opting to wear a face shield must also don a face mask that fully covers their nose and mouth, according to Spirit's policy.

Meena Thiruvengadam is a Travel + Leisure contributor who has visited 50 countries on six continents and 47 U.S. states. She loves historic plaques, wandering new streets and walking on beaches. Find her on Twitter and Instagram.