JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Major airlines are changing the face of flying, literally.
Starting Monday, May 4, anyone who flies aboard a JetBlue, Delta, or United Airlines aircraft must wear either a face mask or covering when traveling. Other airlines have created similar policies that will take effect in the coming days and weeks.
JetBlue was the first major airline in the United States to announce the policy. The airline says masks will need to be worn while checking, boarding, in the air, and when passengers exit the plane. Per CDC recommendations, masks and face coverings must cover the nose and the mouth.
If you look around Jacksonville International Airport, face masks and coverings appear to be as common as suitcases. Annie Armitage told News4jax she wears a mask out in public and is on board with airlines requiring them.
“I want to protect other people,” Armitage said. “That’s the main reason for it because we don’t know. The problem is, so many people don’t have symptoms.”
In the case of JetBlue, a spokesman said passengers will get an email before their flight reminding them to have a mask. Small children who may not be able to keep their mask on can be exempt from the rule.
While fewer people are flying overall, airline officials say these policies are about protecting those who still do. Kevin Jolly wore his mask aboard his flight but doesn't see the need to wear it anywhere else in the Jacksonville airport.
“There are some areas that have a bigger problem,” Jolly said. People in higher population centers. “I don’t think some areas are as effected.”
A JetBlue spokesperson told News4Jax as of now, there is no timetable on how long this policy will be in effect. The airline will monitor what health officials say and adjust the policy as needed.
Spirit, American, Southwest, and Alaska airlines have policies that will take effect Monday, May 11th.