Starting on May 11, American Airlines will require all customers traveling to wear a face covering (or mask) while on board the aircraft. This new requirement is part of the airline’s ongoing commitment to prioritizing customer and team member well-being in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the use of a simple face covering slows the spread of the virus and helps people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials can be used as a public health measure. Additional details are available on the CDC website. A face covering will be required by each passenger while on board an American flight. Face coverings may also be required by local jurisdictions. Very young passengers and those with conditions that prevent them from wearing a face covering will be exempt from the requirement.
Earlier this week, American announced that face coverings will be required for flight attendants during every mainline and regional flight beginning tomorrow, May 1. Additionally, American will begin the process of distributing sanitizing wipes and face coverings to customers. This offering will expand to all flights as supplies and operational conditions allow.
“The American Airlines team continues to prioritize the safety of our customers and team members, and requiring a face covering is one more way we can protect those on our aircraft,” said Kurt Stache, Senior Vice President of Customer Experience. “We ask customers to bring their own masks or face coverings they’re comfortable with when they travel. American is working to procure face masks and hand sanitizer as a supplement.”
These changes continue to build on American’s commitment to customer and team member safety. American’s cleaning practices have always met or exceeded all guidelines set by the CDC. All American Airlines mainline aircraft and most of its regional aircraft are equipped with High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters. In addition, the cabin air in all American aircraft is changed approximately 15 to 30 times per hour, or once every two to four minutes, similar to the standard for hospitals.
At the airport, American has expanded the frequency of cleaning the areas under its control including gate areas, ticket counters, passenger service counters, baggage service offices and team member rooms. American is also using stanchions to encourage social distancing at gates and ticket counters.
Ironically, a passanger who feared the COVID-19 virus and was wearing a gas mask, was removed from an American Airlines flight on January 30 at Dallas airport for sparking panic amongst the passengers.
@AmericanAir , Just FYI flight 2212 to Houston was delayed an hour because you let this guy on the plane wearing a gas mask. This then panicked people on the plane and we had to wait for him to be escorted off. @abc13houston @KHOU @HoustonChron @KPRC2 @FOX26Houston #trainbetter pic.twitter.com/mZkWea606d— Joseph D S❄️ (@ThePlatypusesTX) January 31, 2020