Delta has banned more than 100 passengers for not wearing a mask
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
If you plan to fly during the pandemic, you better pack your mask.
But just because you have to wear a mask doesn’t mean that everyone will comply with the rule. Plus, some will — and have — certainly claimed exceptions to the mask-wearing policy, even if they don’t truly qualify for one.
Enforcing the mask requirement is hard. Much of the onus falls on flight attendants, who are otherwise busy with their typical inflight responsibilities.
As we’ve seen with the explosive growth of emotional support animals, it’s hard for an airline to judge what’s legitimate and what’s not.
That’s why airlines have doubled down on abusers of the mask policy. They’ve threatened to ban passengers who don’t follow the rules. But just how much are airlines actually booting customers from flights?
Delta’s banned over 100 passengers
Delta’s been one of the most proactive about inflight safety and passenger well-being. The Atlanta-based carrier is capping the capacity of all its flights, cleaning planes at each turn and modifying inflight service protocols.
Additionally, the airline requires passengers to wear masks or appropriate face coverings throughout the end-to-end travel journey. This includes check-in, SkyClubs and baggage claim, in addition to the flight itself.
On Monday, July 20, Delta even introduced a new process for those who cannot wear a mask. First, the airline is clear — if you can’t wear a mask, you should reconsider travel. But if you need to board a flight, you’ll be subject to a new “Clearance-to-Fly” screening before your flight.
These virtual screenings are done either at check-in or the gate. They’re facilitated by Delta’s medical professionals at StatMD at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. If those medical professionals conclude you don’t have a valid health reason to not wear a mask, you’ll be denied boarding. If they conclude you do have a valid reason, then you can fly sans a face covering.
But even with the new “Clearance-to-Fly” program, some customers still don’t follow the rules. And Delta’s been clear there, too: if you don’t wear a mask, you face a flight ban.
Today, on NBC News’ Today show, Delta’s CEO Ed Bastian said that “if you board the plane and insist that you not wear a mask, we’ll insist that you don’t fly Delta into the future. We already have over 100 people that we’ve put on this list.”
This is the first indication we’ve seen from any U.S. airline on how many people have been barred from flying due to failure to comply with the requirement.
As of July 29, Delta will require all passengers to complete a health acknowledgment form before check-in that includes a question about whether you’re going to wear a mask throughout the end-to-end travel journey.
But is 100 passengers actually a lot?
Delta is definitely sticking to its word by banning passengers who refuse to wear masks. But is 100 actually a lot?
Well, the carrier’s mask policy has been in place since May 4. Though we don’t yet have exact passenger traffic numbers for 2020, we can make some general inferences.
In the June quarter, Delta stated that the number of enplaned passengers was down 93% year-over-year. Based on Delta’s traffic reports from last year, the carrier carried roughly 54 million passengers during the second quarter of 2019.
That translates to about 3.8 million passengers transported from April to June of 2020.
Now, of course, Delta’s mask policy was only in effect beginning in May — in the middle of the second quarter. With a rough estimation, Delta carried about 1 million passengers per month in the second quarter. Applying similar logic to the 79-day period from May 4 through July 22, we can very roughly infer that Delta carried somewhere around 2.6 million passengers.
Banning over 100 passengers during the entire duration of the mask requirement may sound like a lot. But it’s really somewhere around 0.004% — which isn’t all that much.
Of course, it could be that Delta’s just been transporting a bunch of compliant passengers. But it’s also possible that these numbers are reinforcing the idea that enforcing the mask policy is actually really hard.
What about American and United?
Both American and United also have similar mask policies in place. Both carriers have also publicly stated that they’d ban any non-compliant passengers.
We reached out to both carriers to ask about how many passengers they’ve banned for failing to wear a mask. We haven’t yet heard back from them, and will update the story if we do.
Wearing a mask isn’t just about your safety and the safety of those around you.
When flying, it’s now a requirement. And just like you can be banned for not following a crewmember’s instructions, you can be barred for not wearing a mask.
Delta’s banned over 100 passengers so far for noncompliance. Sure they’re keeping their word, but relative to how many passengers they’ve transported since the requirement has been in place, it’s not all that many people – hopefully, an indication of compliance and not challenges with enforcement.
Featured photo courtesy of Delta
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® after you apply through any Authorized Enrollment Provider. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees