Another Airline Is Is Implementing Strict Mask Rules

Masks were already required aboard Alaska Airlines, but the rules are getting more strict.

Alaska Airlines mask policy
ELEONORE SENS/AFP via Getty Images

The rules on mask-wearing in stores to restaurants have been tightening with more companies (finally) taking the health of employees and the public at large seriously during the pandemic. 

Late on Friday, August 7, Alaska Airlines announced new, stricter mask policies for passengers flying the airline. Any passenger over the age of two must wear a mask over their mouth and nose, and no exceptions are going to be granted. "If a passenger is unable to wear a mask or face covering for any reason, Alaska regretfully will be unable to provide them with travel," the airline said in the announcement that came at 5pm at the end of the week.

Any passenger without a mask will not be allowed to fly. That includes time spent at ticket counters, gate areas, and aboard the plane. The announcement says that in June, "Alaska empowered its flight attendants to issue a final notice to any guest -- in the form of a yellow card handed to them -- who repeatedly disregards or disobeys the requirement to wear a mask of face covering." That card now comes with more severe consequences. "The guest's travel with Alaska will be suspended immediately," the airline says, "instead of undergoing a review process."

The new rules went into effect immediately on August 7. Masks and sanitizing wipes for anyone who needs them but does not have them will be provided by airline staff.

The airline also announced it will continue to cap airplane capacity and block middle seats on flights through October 31, 2020. Any ticket purchased by September 8 will continue to have no change or cancellation fees applied.

Stricter policies are likely to continue to be the norm while the COVID-19 outbreak is spreading throughout the United States. It's a small thing that can be done to slow the spread of the virus, even if air travel isn't recommended by health organizations. "Travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19," the CDC's latest travel guidance states. "Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19."

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Dustin Nelson is a Senior Staff Writer at Thrillist. Follow him @dlukenelson.