After a federal court overruled the Center of Disease Control & Prevention’s (CDC) mask regulation on public transportation last week, airline travelers who are apprehensive about flying near uncovered people will be offered full refunds, among other considerations.
Let the Eye Rolling Begin
On April 21, American Airlines CEO Scott Kirby said on “TODAY” that the company will be lenient with clients who are unwell and don’t want to fly with customers who don’t wear face covers.
Customers, with the exception of those on the cheapest “basic economy” flights, can delay their travel arrangements for any cause without paying an additional fee, according to a United representative.
Passengers with particular needs should contact the airline’s customer support hotline, according to the spokeswoman.
American Airlines CEO Robert Isom told the Associated Press that while his business hasn’t received any refunds as a result of the repeal of the mask mandate, it’s reviewing its policies.
NEW FROM UNITED AIRLINES: “Effective immediately, masks are no longer required at United on domestic flights, select international flights (dependent upon the arrival country’s mask requirements) or at U.S. airports.”
— Pete Muntean (@petemuntean) April 18, 2022
It’s also asking commuters to contact the airline’s bookings office, adding, “we will make sure that we cater to them in an accurate manner.”
The airline’s policy, according to an American Airlines spokesperson, allows for refunds for reimbursable ticket prices and kudos for the valuation of unused non-refundable ticket prices.
Customers who bought a less expensive “basic economy” ticket after April 1 will not be eligible for a refund or ticket adjustment, according to the spokesperson.
Passengers who want to cancel their forthcoming trip, due to the elimination of the mask mandate, should contact Delta Airlines, according to a spokesman, who added that choices on how to treat these requests will be decided on a case-by-case basis.
In a separate statement, Alaska Airlines stated it supports customers’ commitment to pursue wearing masks throughout flights.
A Minefield For the Airlines
As per Simple Flying, the flight operator said it would “deal with customers on a case-by-case situation if they’re not comfortable.”
Southwest Airlines will keep allowing all customers to cancel reservations and receive trip credit.
Airlines have taken this step in response to the United States’ decision. On April 18, District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle decided the CDC failed to defend its mandate decision and overstepped its authority.
BREAKING: Delta, Alaska, and United Airlines will no longer require masks on flights.
— Election Wizard 🇺🇸 (@ElectionWiz) April 18, 2022
It also did not consider public opinion before issuing the order, which Mizelle believes was wrong because the mandate would “restrict their choices and behaviors via threats of civil and criminal consequences,” according to Mizelle.
On April 20, the Department of Justice indicated it would appeal the decision.
During Kirby’s appearance with “TODAY,” the United CEO mentioned HEPA filters onboard planes, which remove 99.97 percent of particulates from the air, and said flying is “actually one of the safest things you can do.”
Kirby noted he thinks the Justice Department’s appeal “is primarily about jurisdiction,” and that mask regulations on flights are unlikely to be reinstated anytime soon.