Some Airlines No Longer Allow Medical Exemptions For Masks
If you're planning on flying somewhere anytime soon and think a doctor's note will make it so you don't have to wear a mask, you're wrong.
American Airlines and Southwest Airlines, two of the largest U.S. carriers, have announced that even medical exemptions won't be accepted as an excuse for not wearing a mask.
On Wednesday, they unveiled new policies that require everyone over the age of 2 needs to wear a mask or they will be denied boarding. In its updated FAQ section, Southwest now states that “if a Customer is unable to wear a face covering for any reason (even a verifiable medical condition), we regret that we are unable to transport the Customer at this time.” The airline’s advice for passengers who can’t wear a mask is to either postpone their travel or “consider other forms of transportation.”
American Airlines’ press release states that they will not give any exemptions to anyone over age 2, and that the only time masks are permitted to come off on the plane is during eating and drinking. “Those unwilling to comply with this face covering requirement at any time during their journey with American may be barred from future travel for the duration of this face covering requirement,” the press release reads.
Their decisions come after doctors and medical professionals have pointed out that the vast majority of medical exemptions aren’t really valid when it comes to refusing to wear a mask, and that people with asthma or other conditions that cause difficulty breathing should be wearing masks too.
Two other major airlines are changing their mask policies: Delta and United. They aren't getting rid of all exemptions, however.
United is now requiring passengers who plan not to wear a mask due to a medical condition to contact the airline before travel or a customer service agent at the airport to document the medical exemption. Passengers will also now have to wear masks everywhere in the airport as well, including at check-in counters and at gates. The policy is similar for Delta.
Without a federal law requiring masks on flights, all airlines have been left to set their own rules while we've dealt with COVID-19. What are your thoughts about this? Message us inside the station app and let us know.