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Delta Banning Passengers for Not Wearing Masks

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian said some (now former) passengers are banned from the carrier.

Why?

They allegedly refused to comply with Delta’s requirement that passengers must wear masks.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution‘s Kelly Yamanouchi reports Mr. Bastian told airline employees in a memo yesterday:

“We take the requirement to wear a mask very seriously. [Passengers] must follow crew member instruction to properly wear them in flight.

“So far, there have thankfully only been a handful of cases, but we have already banned some passengers from future travel on Delta for refusing to wear masks on board.”

So while Delta apparently won’t force people to wear masks, it seems there are consequences for those who decide to not to play by the rules.

No word if “future travel on Delta” encompasses a lifetime ban or a shorter period. (Anyone else curious if they exiled customers had elite status?)

Can Delta Legally Do This?

René linked to an interesting piece the other day directly addressing the legality of such bans.

Some passengers may wonder if airlines have the legal right to force customers to wear masks, and the ability to bar passengers who refuse. The answer, two experts say, is a resounding yes.

“I don’t know of any reason any airlines would not be legally able to require passengers to wear pants, shirts or any particular items of clothing if it is reasonably connected to safely transporting people to one place or another,” said Benjamin P. Edwards, an associate professor of law at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. “If we have social opposition to wearing masks for political reasons, that doesn’t change the legal analysis.”

Whether or not the government intercedes, airlines have a duty to try to protect passengers and their employees, said Julie D. Cantor, an attorney and physician who taught at UCLA School of Law for over a decade. With passengers, she said, the airline has a “special relationship,” in which the airline takes a “caretaker” role for customers, similar to the hotel-guest relationship. And with workers, employees have an expectation their employers will keep them safe, she said.

From “Do U.S. Airlines Have a Legal Right to Bar Passengers Who Don’t Wear Masks?” by Brian Sumers, 6/22/2020

I’m sure we’ll see lawsuits at some point (because that’s how we roll in America) challenging airlines on their mask stances and enforcements.

Final Approach

I don’t know anyone who enjoys wearing protective masks.

But while we’re in a pandemic, them’s the rules. And Delta (apparently) isn’t playing around.

— Chris

Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


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7 Comments

  1. Kudos to Delta here! No one likes wearing a mask but it mitigates – not rules out – the spread of the virus. It helps and it works. And please folks…it’s not like your mask is filled with broken glass. It’s cloth and it works. Don’t want to wear one? Fine…get in your car and drive there!!!

  2. Bravo!. The employees and passengers have rights too. Not to be exposed. People need to get their heads around the fact that you may be infected but not show any signs. As one Governor said yesterday. “It may be your right to refuse to wear a mask but its your civic duty to wear one”

    • Barry Graham Reply

      It’s not known for sure that masks prevent the spread of this illness. If they do, it is your civic duty. At the moment it’s your duty because there is a slight chance that it might help and we have been told we have to wear them.

  3. I usually disapprove of Delta’s heavy handed approach, but this time they absolutely got it right. They cannot throw um off the plane, but they can ban folks from future travel that otherwise refuse to consider the well-being of others.

  4. What took so long?? Every science and medical information says mask, handwashing, distancing reduces risk to minor exposure! Why risk it? This is real and not going away anytime soon! I’m comfortable domestic flying as long as everyone is on the same page, I want to help get Delta back on track!

    • Barry Graham Reply

      It’s actually not true to say that all scientists and doctors agree on this.

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