American Airlines adjusts face mask policy

face mask on an airplane

Following the most recent recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), American Airlines has adjusted its face mask policies.

Effective Aug. 19, 2020, face coverings with exhausts valves or vents will no longer be allowed for travel with American Airlines. The CDC notes that face coverings with one-way valves or vents allow exhaled air to be expelled through holes in the material. These can allow exhaled respiratory droplets to reach others and potentially spread the coronavirus (COVID-19).

“Wearing a face covering is a responsibility we all share. An effective covering, worn properly, is one of the best ways we can control the spread of COVID-19 to protect our team members and customers,” said Alison Taylor, Chief Customer Officer at American. “Since American began requiring face coverings in early May, the vast majority of customers have welcomed our continuing efforts to strengthen the policy based on the CDC’s guidance.”

American began requiring face coverings on board its flights in May and, in July, announced it would only allow exemptions for customers under 2 years old. The airline requires all other customers to wear a face covering from the time they enter the airport where their trip begins until they leave the airport where their trip ends.

Based on the updated CDC guidance, below are examples of face coverings customers can and cannot wear while traveling with American.

Allowed:

  • A well-secured cloth or mask that fits snugly against the face and covers an individual’s nose and mouth. It must be made of a material that prevents the discharge and release of respiratory droplets from a person’s nose or mouth.

Not allowed:

  • Face coverings with exhaust valves.
  • Face coverings made with materials such as mesh or lace fabrics.
  • Face coverings that do not cover the nose and mouth.
  • Face shields without the addition of a face covering.

Only children under the age of 2 are exempt from American’s face covering policy. Customers without an approved face covering will be provided with an approved one, upon request, at the airport.

Face coverings can only be briefly removed while the customer is eating or drinking. Customers will be reminded of these guidelines throughout their time traveling with American.

Those unwilling to comply with American’s face covering policy at any time during their journey may be denied boarding or barred from future travel for the duration of this policy.

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