JetBlue Becomes First U.S. Airline Requiring Passengers to Wear Masks on Flights

Passengers wearing masks as a precaution against the spread of the new coronavirus COVID-19 use their phones at the Sao Paulo International Airport in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)
AP Photo/Andre Penner

JetBlue Airways on Monday became the first U.S. airline to require that its passengers wear masks during their flights, starting May 4.

“We are also asking our customers to follow these CDC guidelines in the airport as well. Wearing a face covering isn’t about protecting yourself; it’s about protecting those around you,” President and Chief Operating Officer Joanna Geraghty said in a statement.

The airline’s customers will also be reminded via email to wear a mask at the airport prior to their flights to help protect themselves and others from the coronavirus, NBC News reported.

Crew members were also required to a mask, but small children who cannot keep one on were exempt from the rule.

Tuesday, the airline offered more specifics about the announcement on Twitter.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended wearing a cloth mask in public where social distancing guidelines were difficult to maintain.

“CDC also advises the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others,” the site read.

While masks may not stop people from being infected with the illness, evidence suggested they could help prevent the droplets that spread the virus from being released into the air, scientists advising the British government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) explained April 21.

“Witnesses said that ‘face-coverings’ could be useful in workplaces, public transport, shops, and other confined spaces, suggesting that recommending them could help facilitate an end to lockdown measures,” according to Breitbart News.

Even though wearing a mask made sense, it was not the only thing a person could do to guard against the virus, said Dr. Mark Dworkin, professor of epidemiology at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health.

“The bottom line is still about washing your hands, avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands, social distancing and isolation,” he continued.

To practice social distancing, JetBlue also recently announced it would limit the number of seats for sale on most of its flights.

“Our crewmembers are proactively reviewing seat assignments to help ensure as much personal space as possible. In addition, we are creating buffer zones around all inflight crewmember jumpseats, to allow for added crewmember and customer safety,” the website concluded.

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