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JetBlue, Alaska Airlines add stricter mask requirements, extend blocked seats

Aug. 05, 2020
3 min read
JetBlue, Alaska Airlines add stricter mask requirements, extend blocked seats
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Last week, I explained a common face mask oversight, which, fortunately, has finally managed to get some traction over the last few days. First, Delta announced a ban on vented masks last Monday. Now, just over a week later, Spirit followed suit. Wednesday morning, JetBlue became the third U.S. airline to "prohibit masks with vents or exhalation valves" — in this case, beginning Monday, Aug. 10 — and Alaska Airlines released a similar policy of its own, kicking in on Aug. 7.

Next Monday also marks another JetBlue mask shift. JetBlue will refuse to carry any passenger who claims an exemption, joining American and Southwest, Spirit Airlines and, now, Alaska Airlines as well. As JetBlue President Joanna Geraghty explained in a press release, "Our terminals and airplanes are a shared space, and every customer must wear a proper face covering or will need to delay their travel on JetBlue until face coverings are no longer required."

All JetBlue passengers older than 2 will be required to comply with the new policy. If a flight attendant determines that a passenger's face covering is insufficient, the crew provide a suitable mask free of charge. Additionally, as is the case with a handful of other carriers, both JetBlue and Alaska customers who don't comply with the mask requirement may not be permitted to travel on the airline in the future.

Vented masks like this industrial N95 will no longer be welcome on JetBlue. Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy.

Meanwhile, JetBlue is extending two other coronavirus-related programs as well.

First, the carrier's promise that you won't be seated next to a stranger will be valid through Oct. 15, an extension beyond the guarantee's current Sept. 8 end date. As part of that policy, the airline is blocking middle seats on Airbus aircraft, and aisle seats on smaller Embraer planes, to allow for more distance onboard.

Finally, JetBlue is extending its flight change waivers, also through Oct. 15., allowing customers to book travel without change or cancellation fees for all tickets purchased by that date.

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At Alaska Airlines, the carrier is making similar moves. Aside from strengthening its mask policy to bar vents and remove exemptions, the Seattle-based carrier also announced Wednesday that it will continue blocking seats at least through Oct. 31. With that, Alaska and JetBlue join Delta and Southwest in extending policies to cap seat sales on each flight to help with social distancing.

And, in saying that passengers who refused to comply with mask policies would be barred from flying with the carrier, Alaska said it believes most of its customers are supportive.

"Since Alaska's mask enforcement policy was enacted in May, the overwhelming majority of guests have respected the requirement – and many guests have raised concerns about the few who do not," Alaska Airlines said in a statement. "For guests who forget their mask, Alaska will have them available upon request, in addition to providing individual hand-sanitizer wipes on board."

For more on what policies to expect when flying within the U.S., be sure to check out our detailed guide to blocked seats, mask requirements and more.

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  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
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Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
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  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

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  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
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Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023