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Delta Air Lines' no-fly list continues to grow as "a tiny fraction" of travelers still refuses to wear a face mask.
"We've now added a total of nearly 550 people to our no-fly list for refusing to comply with Delta's mask requirement on board," Delta CEO Ed Bastian wrote in a memo to employees on Thursday obtained by The Hill. "Fortunately, that number represents a tiny fraction of our overall customers, the vast majority of whom follow our guidelines and appreciate the steps we are taking to keep them safe and healthy."
In its latest guidance issued Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that face masks are effective in protecting the wearer in addition to those around them. "Adopting universal masking policies can help avert future lockdowns, especially if combined with other non-pharmaceutical interventions such as social distancing, hand hygiene and adequate ventilation," the CDC concluded.
Delta has required all passengers to wear masks on its flights since May. In the months following, the carrier has been forced to remove some passengers from its planes for failing to comply with the policy. In September, a Delta flight traveling from Detroit to Los Angeles was forced to return to the gate after a passenger refused to don a face-covering.
"Delta customers and employees are required to wear a face mask, or appropriate cloth face covering over their nose and mouth throughout their travel, aligning with best practice guidelines from the CDC," Delta's policy states. "Plastic face shields may be used in addition to a mask but are not approved mask replacements. Any mask with an exhaust valve is not approved as an acceptable face mask for customers traveling on any Delta operated flight."
The airline requires customers to wear face masks across all touchpoints, including lobby check-in; Delta Sky Clubs; gate areas; jet bridges and onboard the aircraft for the duration of the flight except when eating or drinking. What's more, Delta strongly encourages mask usage in high-traffic areas such as security lines and restrooms.
A Maryland native and wanderer who has lived across the U.S. from North Carolina to SoCal, Patrick Clarke graduated from Towson...
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