MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Travelers refusing to wear face coverings on flights may get blacklisted from flying. It’s a new policy announced Monday that’ll go into effect soon.
“You are supposed to be wearing a mask. They are enforcing the six feet contact rule. So, they are doing a good job,” Miami International Airport traveler Barbara Cordero said.
Cordero gave up her seat on her flight at MIA Monday. She volunteered to help with social distancing since the flight was overbooked.
“I changed mine for tomorrow. I gave up mine since I already live here anyway,” Cordero said.
The group Airlines for America announced Monday that Alaska, American, Delta, Hawaiian, JetBlue, Southwest and United are updating policies. United will roll out the new rule Thursday.
Travelers will see the rules during check-in and must agree. Onboard, flight attendants will discuss violations, which could be as severe as not being allowed to fly with that airline if the passenger refuses to wear a mask.
“As the demand picks up, we have to be ready,” United maintenance worker Brian Kerr said.
Workers are still making sure planes that have been parked are OK to fly as more people are now starting to travel again.
The TSA said it is now recording half a million people going through security. Compared to last summer, more than 2-½ million people were passing through each day.
“There’s a lot of anxiety with our customers. There’s a lot of anxiety with our employees in terms of aviation in general. But we are confident it’ll return,” Omar Idris with United Airlines said.
Airlines have also taken on other safety measures during the pandemic, like disinfecting check-in counters and flights, boarding from back to front and travelers are being given wipes.
Qatar Airways is using robots with UV light to clean and flight crews are being given PPE.
“It’s very different, it’s not like before. It’s not a lot of people. But I guess it’s the new norm you have to get used to,” Cordero said.
Because of a lower number of travelers, airlines have also cut back on schedules. That’s on top of reducing capacity inside flights to skip seats in hopes of reducing the spread of COVID-19. So far, Delta caps capacity at 60%.
Numbers from last month show American is averaging flights that are 55% full. That’s actually an increase from the previous month.