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

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 60,000 Points


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*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 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases.
  • 2X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 2x total points on up to $1,000 in grocery store purchases per month from November 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021. Includes eligible pick-up and delivery services.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit

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.