House Dems call for airlines to adopt uniform coronavirus policies

House Dems call for airlines to adopt uniform coronavirus policies
© Bonnie Cash

Thirty House Democrats on Thursday called on U.S.-based airlines to work together to establish an industrywide set of policies to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The members, led by Rep. Jerry McNerneyGerlad (Jerry) Mark McNerneyHouse passes bills to secure telecommunications infrastructure The United States must lead the way on artificial intelligence standards House passes host of bills to strengthen cybersecurity in wake of attacks MORE (D-Calif.), sent a letter to 11 airlines, requesting information about policies they have implemented to keep passengers and staff safe amid the pandemic.

They also criticized the Trump administration for not listening to the call from Democrats, airports and unions to require facial coverings for all passengers in terminals and on planes.


House Democrats introduced a bill in July that would require passengers to wear masks on commercial planes and in airports throughout the pandemic.

“The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has yet to come forward with a mandatory policy regarding masks on planes, passengers sitting next to each other for extended periods of time, or other protective measures for passengers and employees. While the FAA has the authority to act on this issue, it appears that the agency is following President TrumpDonald TrumpSix big off-year elections you might be missing Twitter suspends GOP Rep. Banks for misgendering trans health official Meghan McCain to Trump: 'Thanks for the publicity' MORE’s lead and failing to take action during this time of crisis,” the members wrote.

Major airlines have imposed their own mask policies and many have warned that they will ban passengers who refused to comply.

The members requested the airlines provide answers within 14 days about their mask policies and exceptions, seating and flight capacity policies, if they are conducting temperature checks for employees, and if they are conducting COVID-19 tests for employees.

The letter comes at the heels of Delta’s announcement on Tuesday that it will include CVS Health Return Ready testing, which is a rapid-response nasal swab test, as a testing option inside airports for its employees.

The members also asked for sanitization protocols, cancellation policies, and if airlines are taking steps to work with other airlines to establish comprehensive industrywide policies that address masks, social distancing and other safety measures.

The letter was sent to CEOs of Delta, JetBlue, Frontier, Hawaiian, Sun Country, Southwest, Spirit, United, Allegiant, American and Alaska airlines.