How many passengers have US airlines banned for not wearing masks?

Mar 1, 2021

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Delta calls it a “no-fly list.” At Frontier, it’s a “Prevent Departure list.”

No matter what it’s called, you don’t want your name to appear — travelers who end up there will have to find another carrier to fly, at least for the time being.

Historically, airlines have banned customers for a handful of reasons, from obnoxious behavior to noncompliance with crew member instructions. During the pandemic, however, U.S. carriers have added another misdeed to the list: a disregard for face-covering policies, created to help keep other passengers and airline employees safe.

Related: Here’s what might land you on a government or airline no-fly list

While U.S. airlines rolled out face mask policies earlier during the pandemic, it wasn’t clear how strictly they were being enforced. Delta put the kibosh on any speculation there, though, with a July 2020 announcement that over 100 passengers had landed themselves a spot on the carrier’s naughty list.

Since then, U.S. carriers have continued to ban passengers who refuse to wear masks onboard, and at designated airline-managed areas of the airport, such as check-in counters and lounges.

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Now, with Frontier Airlines sharing a post on Twitter that it had removed a “large group” of noncompliant passengers from a recent flight, I wanted to check back in with carriers to see how many former flyers have been banned.

Just how many passenger bans are we talking? Several airlines were willing to share their latest stats with TPG, including:

  • Alaska: 448
  • Allegiant: 15
  • Delta: 950 (as of Feb. 2, 2021)
  • Frontier: 645
  • Hawaiian: 74
  • JetBlue: 170 (as of Feb. 2, 2021)
  • Spirit: 604
  • United: 750

Based on that breakdown, we’re at well over 3,000, among U.S.-based airlines sharing the latest figures with TPG. American and Southwest are unable to confirm the number of customers they’ve banned, however, and Delta, JetBlue and Sun Country did not immediately respond to TPG’s request. With those carriers factored in, the grand total could be more than 4,000.

Related: Delta is now the only US airline blocking all middle seats

For travelers, there’s really no excuse not to comply. The federal government now requires that everyone wear a face mask on all public transportation in the United States — including airplanes, trains, buses, taxis and rideshare services — and many carriers even have backups available at check-in and onboard. Be sure to check out this post for a detailed look at what to expect at the airport, and on your flight.

Featured photo courtesy of JetBlue.

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