DETROIT, Michigan (WLNS) – Last week, a Delta Air Lines flight was forced to return to the gate in Detroit when two of their customers were not wearing masks.
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When it comes to new rules for the novel coronavirus, airlines like Delta are taking them very seriously. Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian claims Delta has put 100 people on its “no-fly list” for mask issues.
“You can’t get on a Delta plane if you don’t have a mask,” Bastian said. “If you board the plane and insist you do not wear a mask, we insist you do not fly to Delta in the future.”
Delta says its strict disguise policies are part of an effort to promote best public health and safety practices amid the pandemic.
In a statement to NPR, Delta wrote: “Medical research shows that wearing a mask is one of the most effective ways to reduce the rate of COVID-19 infection.” The airline “remains committed to requiring customers and employees to wear a mask or face mask as a permanent layer of protection at all Delta hotspots.”
All major U.S. airlines now require passengers to wear face masks, but adults are usually only allowed to remove a mask when eating or drinking, although policies change.
Some airlines are going one step further in creating new pandemic policies. Emirates airline “Free global coverage for COVID-19” includes financial aid for COVID-19 health expenses for those who test positive for the virus during their trip, as well as covering funeral expenses.
Delta’s list of free flights is perfectly in its area of rights, experts point out.
The legal reasoning is quite simple, says Sharona Hoffman, co-director of the Case Western Reserve University Medical-Legal Center. She simply says, “They are a private business, and private businesses can have rules.”
“No one has the right to fly,” explains Eduardo Angeles, a lawyer who served as the Federal Aviation Administration. Rather, you are merely a participant navigating the free market: “You have several opportunities [to get to your destination] – car, train, foot. And that way, an airline is like a restaurant: It can deny service to someone for reasons specific to it. [it],” he says.
Plus, for airlines, the risk posed by a masked passenger can be a concern, says Dr. Julie Cantor, a lawyer and physician studying the intersection of law and medicine.
As for exceptions to the mask rule, the Delta procedure involves a “virtual consultation process facilitated by a Delta agent with a third-party medical professional [and] can last up to an hour. The airline generally encourages customers with basic conditions that prevent the wearing of masks to “review the trip completely”.
For those who go down the list of non-flights due to mask violations, the processes to remove your name will certainly vary from airline to airline, supposedly Angeles. “They have to go through their due process and appeal to the airline.”
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