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Alaska Airlines announces all passengers must wear a mask, 'no exceptions'

Alaska Airlines announces all passengers must wear a mask, 'no exceptions'
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Alaska Airlines announced Wednesday that it would tighten its mask policy for customers, now requiring all passengers to wear one before traveling.

Violators will be asked to leave the aircraft or be banned from flying with Alaska Airlines for life, according to PR Newswire.

"We all need to look out for each other during this health emergency, and the best way we can do that – and prevent the spread of the virus – is to simply wear a mask or face covering when we're around each other," Max Tidwell, the company's vice president of safety and security, said in a statement. "Safety remains priority number one for Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air. Our tougher policy shows how important this issue is to us and our guests. If you don't wear a mask, you won't be flying with us."

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Flight attendants will have the ultimate say in the matter, the announcement continues. According to the company, flight attendants have been giving soccer-style "yellow cards," which serve as a warning. Beginning Friday, after receiving a yellow card, a customer can lose the rest of their trip itinerary if they do not comply with crew member orders.

"Starting August 7, our flight attendants will be empowered to issue a final notice to any guest who repeatedly refuses to wear a mask or face covering on board our aircraft," reads Alaska Airlines's website.

"With that warning – in the form of a yellow card handed to them – the guest’s travel with Alaska could be suspended immediately. That would be a decision we do not take lightly. By working together, we do more for the common good," the company added.

Other U.S. airlines, including Southwest Airlines, have already implemented mask policies for customers and crew members. Airline executives have struggled to entice Americans to fly again after several months of lackluster recovery for the industry, which is recovering from the coronavirus pandemic that has left many Americans staying home for the summer and canceling vacation plans.

Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly previously said that he believes air travel is no more dangerous than other forms of activity amid the pandemic.

“[We’re] doing everything we can to make it as safe as humanly possible,” Kelly told CBS's "Face the Nation" in May.

“I don’t think the risk on an airplane is any greater risk than anywhere else,” he added.