- Delta and United said Wednesday they’ll reinstate passengers banned for mask-wearing violations.
- Under a federal mandate, the airlines had strict COVID-19 mask-wearing policies.
- That mandate was struck down by a federal judge Monday. The government is appealing.
Around 2,000 Delta and 1,000 United passengers who were banned for COVID-19 mask-wearing violations will be permitted to fly with the airlines again.
The carriers said Wednesday that these passengers would be removed from their respective no-fly lists on a case-by-case basis.
Delta and United, along with other major US airlines, dropped their mask-wearing requirements on Monday soon after a judge struck down the federal mask mandate. The Department of Justice said Wednesday it would appeal the ruling.
Both airlines warned that banned passengers would need to commit to complying with flight safety rules before being allowed to travel with them again.
A Delta spokesperson said: “With masks now optional, Delta will restore flight privileges for customers on the mask non-compliance no-fly list only after each case is reviewed and each customer demonstrates an understanding of their expected behavior when flying with us.”
The spokesperson added: “Any further disregard for the policies that keep us all safe will result in placement on Delta’s permanent no-fly list. Customers who demonstrated egregious behavior and are already on the permanent no-fly list remain barred from flying with Delta.”
United said: “On a case-by-case basis we will allow some customers who were previously banned for failing to comply with mask-related rules to fly United again – after ensuring their commitment to follow all crewmember instructions on board.”
Around 2,000 Delta customers and 1,000 United customers are on the airlines’ respective no-fly lists for mask-wearing violations.
On Monday, Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle, who was appointed by President Trump, ruled that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had exceeded its statutory authority in implementing the federal mask mandate. “Our system does not permit agencies to act unlawfully even in pursuit of desirable ends,” she wrote.
The CDC said Wednesday: “CDC believes this is a lawful order, well within CDC’s legal authority to protect public health.”