You can now be removed from your plane or train for not wearing a mask

Jul 23, 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.

As states begin to reopen and travelers begin to take to the skies (and roads) again, the travel industry is starting to make changes to existing policies to avoid a surge in cases of the novel coronavirus.

Sign up for the free daily TPG newsletter for more travel news!

Amtrak on Thursday announced that face masks or face coverings were mandatory on trains or thruway buses. Amtrak says that it can “remove customers or ban them” from future travel if passengers don’t comply. This policy — and how it will be enforced — is similar to what airlines have announced in recent days.

Related: Delta already banned 100 customers

Delta Air Lines, American Airlines and Southwest Airlines have also made updates to face-covering policies. Delta this week introduced a new virtual screening process for those who maintain that they cannot wear a mask. If the airline’s doctors conclude you don’t have a valid health reason not to wear a mask, you’ll be denied boarding. If they find you do have a legitimate reason, then you can fly without a face covering.

Related: Disney requires masks even when walking and eating

Southwest and American went a step further. They said that customers who refused to wear a face-covering – even for documented medical reasons – would be barred from flying. Southwest also announced that it would test thermal cameras at its hub, Dallas Love Field (DAL), that would spot feverish passengers before boarding, according to the Associated Press.

Related: Hotels requiring masks

Nearly four million people in the U.S. alone have been infected with the virus, and at least 143,000 have died. States that reopened early, like Texas, are now seeing cases surge. Florida and California have seen positive cases spike in recent days and deaths are increasing in those states, too.

But even amid rising positive cases, people are beginning to travel again. And with strict mask policies in place, enforcement will fall on flight attendants or Amtrak conductors. As we’ve seen with the explosive growth of emotional support animals, it will prove hard for an airline to determine what’s legitimate and what’s not. But judging from what we’ve seen from Amtrak and the airlines so far, it appears that the industry will double down on mask policies to try to prevent travelers from abusing exception policies.

While the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination based on a medical condition, the U.S. Department of Justice has made its position on travelers attempting to skirt the rules.

Related: This is what’s it like to travel with a disability

“The ADA does not provide a blanket exemption to people with disabilities from complying with legitimate safety requirements necessary for safe operations,” the DOJ said in a statement last month.

Featured photo by Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

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.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • 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
Regular APR
17.24%-26.24% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

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.