JetBlue Requiring Passengers to Wear Masks on Flights

April 28, 2020 Updated: April 28, 2020

JetBlue is requiring all passengers to wear a mask or another face covering on flights starting on May 4.

The mandate, effective May 4, is the first of its kind among major airlines.

JetBlue previously ordered all crew members to wear face coverings while working.

The company said it modeled its policy on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines issued last month recommending people wear masks in certain areas.

“Wearing a face covering isn’t about protecting yourself, it’s about protecting those around you,” Joanna Geraghty, JetBlue’s president and chief operating officer, said in a statement. “This is the new flying etiquette.”

JetBlue is asking customers to also don the coverings while in airports. No airports have issued a mask requirement as of yet.

JetBlue says customers will have to wear a covering over their nose and mouth not only on planes but during check-in, boarding, and deplaning.

Small children who aren’t able to wear masks are exempt.

A worker wearing a protective suit holds masks
A worker wearing a protective suit holds masks to package at Naton Medical Group, a company which makes medical equipment in Beijing, on April 24, 2020.(Wang Zhao/AFP via Getty Images)

Other changes JetBlue has implemented include limiting the number of seats for sale on most flights and ramping up its cleaning practices.

JetBlue says the air in its planes is “well circulated” and cleaned through hospital-grade high-efficiency air particulate filters. The recirculated air is passed through the filters before reentering the cabin and being mixed with fresh air.

On average, the air in the cabin is completely changed every three minutes.

American Airlines said this week it would provide masks and sanitizing wipes for passengers but did not make a requirement for passengers to wear masks. Flight attendants will have to wear masks on most flights starting on May 1.

Delta Air Lines will also start offering masks to passengers with no requirement but will make most workers don the coverings.

United was the first airline to make flight attendants wear a mask or face covering. It has not announced a mask policy concerning passengers.

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber