Passengers flying with American Airlines will no longer be allowed to wear face coverings with exhaust valves or vents starting from August 19.
The news follows the recent announcement by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that face coverings with one-way valves or vents allow exhaled air to be expelled through holes in the material and this allows respiratory droplets to reach others, potentially spreading Covid-19.
“Wearing a face covering is a responsibility we all share. An effective covering, worn properly, is one of the best ways we can control the spread of Covid-19 to protect our team members and customers,” said Alison Taylor, chief customer officer at American.
“Since American began requiring face coverings in early May, the vast majority of customers have welcomed our continuing efforts to strengthen the policy based on the CDC’s guidance,” she added.
American Airlines says below are examples of face coverings customers can and cannot wear while traveling with the airline:
- A “well-secured” cloth or mask that “fits snugly” against the face and covers an individual’s nose and mouth. It must be made of a material that prevents the discharge and release of respiratory droplets from a person’s nose or mouth.
- Face coverings with exhaust valves.
- Face coverings made with materials such as mesh or lace fabrics.
- Face coverings that do not cover the nose and mouth.
- Face shields without the addition of a face covering.
Only children under the age of two are exempt from the carrier’s face covering policy.
Customers without an approved face covering will be provided with an approved one, upon request, at the airport, says the airline.
American says that face coverings can only be briefly removed while the customer is eating or drinking. Passengers will be reminded of these guidelines throughout their time traveling with the airline.
“Those unwilling to comply with American’s face covering policy at any time during their journey may be denied boarding or barred from future travel for the duration of this policy,” reads a statement from the carrier.