By Aaron Kesel
Delta Air Lines has placed nearly 250 people on a “no-fly list” for failing to comply with its mandatory mask policy, CEO Ed Bastian said in a memoed statement to employees, Fox News reported.
“Although rare, we continue to put passengers who refuse to follow the required face-covering rules on our no-fly list,” Bastian said in the memo, which highlighted the airline’s new hub facility in Salt Lake City.
There is currently no federal mandate on masks in airports or on airplanes, which allows each airline to implement its own regulations for passengers flying with them.
Delta customers and employees are required to wear a face mask or appropriate cloth face covering over their nose and mouth throughout their travel, aligning with best practice guidelines form the CDC, according to the company’s website.
“As we all work toward the recovery, it’s vital that we continue to stay focused on the drive to provide the safest, cleanest airports, aircraft, and workspaces possible,” Bastian said.
In early August, Delta made headlines after a plane headed to Atlanta circled back to its gate in Detroit, delaying takeoff. The crew was returning to discard two passengers who had been unwilling to wear masks.
It’s not just Delta. All major U.S. airlines now require passengers to wear masks. With the exception of children under age 2, and slightly older children who cannot maintain a face-covering, no one is exempt on Delta and other airlines according to NPR.
Although, a story just last week argues with that premise. A Brooklyn mother was kicked off a JetBlue flight traveling from Orlando to New York, along with her children, after her two year old refused to wear a mask.
Videos of the mother, Chaya Bruck, speaking with a flight attendant before the plane took off has gone viral on social media.
In the video posted on social media, Bruck is talking to a flight attendant about her daughter not wearing a mask. “You realize she’s 2?” Bruck says.
“I do, and also, it’s not something we can excuse,” the flight attendant responds in the video.
Videos of the situation show her fellow passengers coming to Bruck’s defense, saying the 2 year old should be excused for not keeping the mask on. Bruck and her kids were still removed though. The video is below courtesy of CBS Good Morning America.
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There have been other incidents as well; some of these were compiled by Business Insider here.
As Reuters reports, airline gate agents can deny boarding to anyone not wearing a mask before the flight. But on the plane, there is little that flight attendants can do to ensure compliance other than threatening to put passengers on a list that would ban them from future travel. It’s important to note that there’s a common misconception about the no-fly list maintained by airlines. It’s not the federal no-fly list maintained by the FBI according to Trent Duffy, spokesman for the Terrorist Screening Center, who told NBC News in 2010 that there’s confusion around the two lists.
“The problem,” Duffy adds, arises due to overlapping, common terminology: the phrase “no-fly list is used to describe everything, including the airline’s own lists. And it all gets mixed together. But the no-fly list that the federal government operates is only for known or suspected terrorists.”
However, while the no-fly list is not connected to the terror-related federal list of the same name. The door is open for future sharing of data with federal authorities. The companies maintaining these lists also don’t state whether these are shared amongst airlines, or if those who are added to the list will be removed in the future or permanently banned from flying on individual flights for refusing to wear a mask.
This is troublesome, since several cases where passengers won’t wear masks could be false, putting them on a permanent database preventing air travel. Eduardo Angeles, a lawyer who served as Federal Aviation Administration associate administrator for airports during President Barack Obama’s administration, told NPR that it would be a difficult process which would vary from airline to airline to appeal. “They have to go through their due process and appeal with the airline,” Angeles said.
Aaron Kesel writes for Activist Post.
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