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

Aug 5, 2020

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.

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.

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.

Featured photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy.

The All-New United Quest℠ Card

WELCOME OFFER: Up to 100,000 bonus miles

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,040

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X miles on United® purchases

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80K bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus, an additional 20K bonus miles after you spend $10,000 in the first 6 months
  • $250 Annual Fee
  • Earn 3X miles on United® purchases, 2X miles at restaurants, on select streaming services & all other travel, 1X on all other purchases
  • Earn 3X miles on United Airlines purchases
  • Earn 2X miles at restaurants and on select streaming services
  • Earn 2X miles on all other travel
  • Earn 1X mile on all other purchases
  • Each year, receive a $125 credit on United® purchases and two 5k-mile anniversary award flight credits. Terms apply.
Regular APR
16.49% to 23.49% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent, Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.