With COVID-19 cases reaching record highs across the country, Seattle-based commercial passenger carrier Alaska Airlines is cracking down on its masking policy by allowing flight attendants to issue "final warnings" to passengers who refuse to follow the airline's universal masking policy for all passengers.
"Our flight crews encounter moments when some travelers disregard or disobey our mask requirement. It creates tension and anxiety for many of our passengers who do have their face coverings on. So, a change is needed," a Tuesday announcement on the company's blog reads.
The warning will be given in the form of a yellow card handed to the passenger who refuses to wear a mask.
"The guest's travel will be reviewed and could be suspended for a period. It's a decision that would not be made lightly," the airline states in a separate news release.
The airline first announced its policy requiring all passengers to wear masks at the beginning of May.
“We take pride in our excellent customer service, a main reason so many of our guests enjoy flying with us. That stays the same,” Alaska Airlines President Ben Minicucci said in the blog. “We’re counting on both our guests and employees to be considerate of one another to wear face coverings and contribute to our constant effort to keep everyone healthy and safe.”
Exceptions to the policy will include children under the age of 2, anyone with a medical issue that creates trouble breathing, anyone who cannot remove a mask without assistance, or anyone with a disability that prevents wearing a mask.
Passengers are allowed to remove their mask to eat or drink while in their seat.
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