JetBlue will require all passengers to wear face masks when traveling in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Wearing a face covering isn’t about protecting yourself — it’s about protecting those around you,” Joanna Geraghty,, and chief operating officer, said in a press release on Monday. “This is the new flying etiquette.”
The policy — effective starting May 4 — mandates that customers wear masks or face coverings when checking in, boarding, and deplaning. They are additionally advised to wear them throughout the airport.
"On board, cabin air is well-circulated and cleaned through filters every few minutes, but this is a shared space where we have to be considerate of others," Geraghty noted. "We are also asking our customers to follow these CDC guidelines in the airport as well.”
The protective gear must cover a customer's mouth and nose. JetBlue also acknowledged that N95 masks should be saved for medical workers.
Customers will be reminded of the new rule via email before arriving at the airport, on signs throughout the terminal, and with announcements on the plane.
Crew members have already been wearing masks while working, however the rule for passenger makes JetBlue the first airline to require that face coverings be worn by passengers.
The policy follows the CDC's suggestion to wear face masks when outside the house, citing that it's possible to spread the disease without knowing it.
As a further precaution, JetBlue has also limited the number of seats for sale on each flight to maintain space between passengers and crew. The airline has "increased the rigor of its aircraft cleanings at night and between flights," as well as limited their food and beverage service to reduce contact.
Currently, the airline is only flying in and out of Boston, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., restricting service to one or two airports in each city until at least June.
There almost one million cases of COVID-19 throughout the United States. Click here for updates on coronavirus from Travel + Leisure.
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