American Airlines reviewing photographs of Sen. Cruz on flight without a mask
American Airlines, which requires all passengers to wear masks during the duration of their flight, said it has reached out to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) after photographs emerged of the senator not wearing a mask on a plane.
A Cruz spokesperson has said that Cruz was drinking coffee and removed his mask to do so when he was photographed.
“As we do in all instances like these, we reviewed the details of the matter, and while our policy does not apply while eating or drinking, we have reached out to Sen. Cruz to affirm the importance of this policy as part of our commitment to protecting the health and safety of the traveling public,” an American Airlines spokesperson told The Hill.
A Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee operative, Hosseh Enad, tweeted a photograph of Cruz at 10:45 a.m. on Sunday on a flight and not wearing a mask.
— Hosseh (@hossehenad) July 13, 2020
“To help promote safety, Senator Cruz wears a mask when traveling, and practices social distancing where possible. Consistent with airline policy, he temporarily removes the mask while eating or drinking,” a Cruz spokesperson told The Hill.
The spokesperson added, “Yesterday during his flight he removed his mask to drink and put it back on afterward. We should all practice common sense measures to slow the spread of the virus.”
Cruz’s office flagged a tweet with a photograph of the senator wearing a mask on what the spokesperson said was another flight on Sunday.
Cruz flew on Sunday on one of American Airlines’ domestic regional partners.
Cruz is chairman of the Senate Commerce subcommittee with jurisdiction over U.S. airlines and the Federal Aviation Administration. Major U.S. airlines, including American, announced in June that masks are required on flights and can be removed to eat or drink. Customers who refuse to wear the protective gear could be placed on a do not fly list.
Enad also tweeted a photograph of Cruz waiting at the gate without wearing a mask.
It is unclear which airport Cruz was in. Airports across the country have inconsistent standards for facial coverings and, as of June 30, masks are required inside 20 of the 30 large hub airports in the U.S.