Delta, American Airlines to mandate face coverings during US flights

Delta, American Airlines to mandate face coverings during US flights
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Delta and American Airlines are joining JetBlue in requiring passengers to wear face coverings on their planes. 

JetBlue and Delta’s new rules begin May 4 and American Airlines’ start May 11. Frontier, one of the smaller domestic airlines, will begin requiring face masks on their flights on May 8. 

The change comes as flight attendants and lawmakers have called for increased protections on flights amid the pandemic, which has left airlines with unprecedented losses in revenue. 

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Last week United Airlines made face masks mandatory for flight attendants and began provided optional face masks for passengers. The flight attendants union asked the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to require them of passengers, too. 

"We encourage all passengers to voluntarily wear a face covering while traveling,” the Association of Flight Attendants said in a statement. “We continue to call on DOT and HHS to mandate masks for all crew, employees and passengers in airports and on airplanes.”

Rep. Peter DeFazioPeter Anthony DeFazioHouse Democrats grow frustrated as they feel ignored by Senate On The Money: Bipartisan infrastructure group says it's still on track after Senate setback | House Democrats want input on bipartisan plan | McConnell warns GOP won't vote to raise debt ceiling OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Western wildfires prompt evacuations in California, Oregon| House passes bill requiring EPA to regulate 'forever chemicals' in drinking water | Granholm announces new building energy codes MORE (D-Oregon), who chairs the House Transportation Committee, on Wednesday called on the Federal Aviation Association to “require masks or other face coverings for all crewmembers and passengers on U.S. flights” and to require airlines “adopt reasonable, sound procedures for ensuring that passengers are spaced at safe distances from one another.”

On Thursday Rep. Bobby RushBobby Lee RushHouse passes host of bills to strengthen cybersecurity in wake of attacks OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Democrats lay out vision for Civilian Climate Corps | Manchin to back controversial public lands nominee | White House details environmental justice plan Democrats lay out vision for Civilian Climate Corps MORE (D-Ill.) led a group of over 80 members of Congress in calling for the DOT and DHS to provide protective gear to all transportation employees. 

“If we are going to weather the COVID-19 storm, we must ensure that no employee is penalized or endangered while continuing to perform their essential job duties during this global pandemic,” Rush said in a statement.