No Mask, No Fly: WestJet Announces Zero-Tolerance Mask Policy

August 28, 2020 Updated: August 28, 2020

The Westjet Group has announced that passengers who fail to comply with mask regulations will be denied travel for one year, effective Sept. 1.

The airline also requires passengers to supply contact information to help the Public Health Agency of Canada and provincial public health agencies with contact tracing in the case of infected individuals on board.

The zero-tolerance mask policy requires that all passengers over the age of 2 wear masks or face coverings. Non-compliance will result in denied boarding, offloading the passenger, and suspension from travel for a year.

“Masks are mandated by our regulator and the vast majority of our guests are happy to keep themselves and each other safe by complying,” said WestJet Group President and CEO Ed Sims in a press release.

“Travellers must understand if they choose to not wear a mask, they are choosing not to fly our airlines.”

A three-step process will be used to manage non-compliance on board the aircraft.

First, the cabin crew will ask the passenger to put on a mask. Then the passenger will be given a warning that compliance is necessary. If the passenger does not comply, he or she will be informed that non-compliance will result in being placed on a no-fly list for a year.

As for WestJet’s contact tracing enhancements, starting Sept. 1 it will become mandatory during the check-in process that travellers input up-to-date information at the kiosk at the airport or online. This will be necessary prior to the issuance of a boarding pass.

“We continue to work collaboratively with our health partners to adapt our procedures,” said Sims. “A coordinated approach is essential, and we are advocating for contact tracing enhancements along with the introduction of testing.”

In related news, starting on Sept. 9, those planning on flying to China from Canada will need proof of being negative for the COVID-19 virus before boarding the plane, the Chinese Embassy in Ottawa says on its website.

Passengers will be required to have taken nucleic acid tests within three days of boarding the plane and the test must prove negative.