The airline industry could be signaling a new standard after JetBlue became the first major U.S. airline carrier to announce a mandatory face would be required for anyone who plans to travel with their company.
According to a statement released by JetBlue and obtained by multiple news outlets, the directive begins next week on May 4.
“Wearing a face covering isn’t about protecting yourself, it’s about protecting those around you,” said Joanna Geraghty, president, and chief operating officer of JetBlue (JBLU).
“This is the new flying etiquette. Onboard, cabin air is well circulated and cleaned through filters every few minutes but this is a shared space where we have to be considerate of others. We are also asking our customers to follow these CDC guidelines in the airport as well,” the statement continued.
The CDC has routinely mandated that persons wear face masks when forced to encounter others in close proximity and to try to maintain six feet of distance, if possible, between themselves and other individuals.
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The announcement comes a day after American Airlines and Delta Air Lines revealed they will require employees to wear face masks. American Airlines stated their new directive will go into effect on May 1.
“All airlines should follow JetBlue’s lead, including its efforts to fully communicate the change before it becomes effective next week so that Flight Attendants are not put in the position of being enforcers without information and backing from the airline,” said Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants in an interview with CNBC.
The Association of Flight Attendants represents over 50,000 cabin crew members employed at several different airline companies.
Since the onset of the pandemic, the airline industry has seen air travel ridership go down 95 percent. We can expect that the outcome of the coronavirus will undoubtedly change the way we travel and interact with one another for months to come.
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