Friday, May 1, 2020
American Airlines Requires All Passengers to Wear Face Masks
APFA welcomes the announcement that American Airlines will require that all passengers wear face masks aboard our aircraft beginning on Monday, May 11th. The announcement comes on the heels on an earlier policy change that required only crewmembers to wear masks as of today, May 1st.
We understand that masks are most important in protecting those around us. The system is most effective when everyone wears a mask. This is precisely why it is important that everyone on the airplane, including passengers, wears them and why APFA is pleased with American’s voluntary decision to require them.
Over the past few weeks, APFA has voiced strong concern over the lack of a federal requirement mandating masks be worn on airplanes. We urged our lawmakers and regulators in Washington to take action to ensure the health and safety of passengers and crew and we are grateful to the bipartisan aviation leaders who have been vocal on this issue. These supporters include Chairman Peter DeFazio, Ranking Member Sam Graves, Chairman Rick Larsen, Ranking Member Garret Graves, Congressman Steve Cohen, Senator Ed Markey, and Senator Richard Blumenthal.
American’s policy change matches that of JetBlue, Delta, and Frontier. APFA still believes that a uniform federal mandate across the industry is necessary to address this and other safety issues that are arising during this public health emergency. The FAA directive thus far has been weak and inadequate. Terms such as “whenever feasible” and “to the extent possible” are not strong enough to ensure the safety of passengers and crewmembers. Safety guidance should be mandated and driven by science, not simply recommended, particularly when lives are at risk.
The APFA Government Affairs Department will continue to work with government officials and fellow unions to advance the safety of flying for our members and for the public during this worldwide health emergency.
APFA National Government Affairs Representative