Passengers flying with Delta who have an underlying health condition that prevents them from wearing a mask are now required to undergo a “Clearance-To-Fly” process before travelling, the carrier said on its website.

The airline is also urging customers who can’t wear a mask due to a health condition”to reconsider travel, altogether”.

Delta says passengers looking to be exempted from the mask requirement need to show up to the airport earlier as the virtual consultation process can take up to an hour.

According to a report from USA Today, the evaluation will be carried out in private with STAT-MD, Delta’s partner for in-flight emergency consultations, which is based at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Passengers who are denied an exemption to the mask policy will receive a refund for their tickets, says the USA Today report, citing Delta.

Exceptions that remain in place that do not require pre-travel clearance include young children who cannot maintain a face covering and unaccompanied minors.

“Medical research tells us that wearing a mask is one of the most effective ways to reduce the Covid-19 infection rate. That’s why Delta remains committed to requiring customers and employees to wear a mask or face covering as a consistent layer of protection across all Delta touchpoints,” says the carrier.

In early May, Delta began requiring employees and customers to wear a mask or face covering at airports and onboard the aircraft. Passengers are expected to wear a face mask at the following Delta checkpoints:

  • Lobby Check-in
  • Delta Sky Clubs
  • Boarding Gate Areas
  • Jet Bridges
  • On board the aircraft for the duration of the flight – except during meal service