The DeFazio Mandatory Mask Bill has been bypassed by voluntary Industry Action

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Major US airlines have created a ‘no fly list’ for travelers who refuse to wear face coverings during the pandemic

no mask and mask


Major US airlines are placing customers who won’t wear masks on flights on “no-fly” lists.

On Friday, Alaska Airlines announced that any passenger over the age of 2 would be barred from flying with the company again if they refused to a wear a face covering, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

It’s only the lastest airline to do so.

In late April, JetBlue was the first US airline to announce that it would require all customers to wear facial coverings on flights. Since then, all major US airlines require masks for passengers to board flights. Some like Delta and United have strengthened masking requirements – United now requires all passengers to wear masks at all parts of the airport prior to boarding.

Even so, a number of incidents where passengers refused to cooperate with the requirements to wear masks have made headlines in recent months. Many flight attendants have expressed concerns about having to confront passengers who will not comply with guidelines.

Earlier this month, a Delta Airlines flight heading to Atlanta from Detroit returned to the gate to remove two passengers who refused to wear masks. Delta’s CEO told NBC’s “Today” show in July that the airline would put customers who won’t abide by the masking guidelines on a no-fly list, barring them from boarding any flight in the future.

United Airlines also said in June that it would prohibit passengers who refused to wear masks from flying with the airline in the future.

This weekend, the US marked at least 5 million coronavirus cases, according to Johns Hopkins University. Growing bodies of research attest that wearing face masks is key to reducing spread of coronavirus.

A former Federal Aviation Administration associate administrator for airports for the Obama administration told NPR that “No one has a right to fly” – airlines, as private businesses, have the right to deny service, in accordance with their own policies.

LATEST UPDATES 7 hours ago

Bill Mandates Masks for Crew, Passengers and others

No teeth, only Report

Not apply to Regional Aircraft and Mechanics

Rep. DeFazio, AFA President Sra Nelson, masked/unmasked people.

Chairman DeFazio appears to have accepted that the FAA does not have the statutory authority to mandate facemasks on board. The Healthy Flights Act of 2020 (HFA) is his legislative effort to reach that goal. The language proposed literally “mandates” that passengers, on board and in the terminal, pilots, flight attendants, airport customer service agents, and other employees, whose job responsibilities involve interaction with passengers MUST WEAR MASKS.” Goal achieved? Not really, here are some specific gaps in the HFA:

  • The HFA has no teeth. What happens to a passenger who chooses not to comply? The statute requires that the airline create an internal mechanism to forward her/his name to the FAA—that’s it. The bill established no consequences to the unmasked passenger list!!! When Congress enacted similar legislation authorizing to enforce smoking ban on board, it included consequences. None here!!! Should not there be a deterrent for such behavior?

faa consequences

  • Well the bill would require that the airline report the name of the unmasked passenger to the FAA, right? There are no consequences as noted above and there is no requirement/authorization for the FAA to publish a list of offenders. Sharing names and pictures of problem passengers has been a historic practice of common carriers. HFA should mandate that the FAA distribute the unmasked passenger list!!!

unmasked list

  • Perhaps the biggest public health omission of HFA is that it DOES NOT APPLY TO PART 135 FLIGHTS!!! The cabins of aircraft operated by the Regional Airlines are the most confined, i.e. most conducive to COVID-19 transmission. Maybe those airlines had good reasons for the HFA exclusion?

regional aircraft

Seems like the mandatory mask rule should apply here!!!

  • The HFA requirement that masks must be provided applies to Air Traffic Controllers. The primary source of the Act’s mandate is the risks associated with the pandemic are increased by contact with the traveling public BY VIRTUE OF WORK. The ATC inclusion exceeds that scope. If they folks in towers and centers, which are distant from travelers, should be included why not the AMTs who assure the airworthiness of aircraft in hangars or ramps? Is their risk of coronavirus lower?

controllers and mechanics


Chairs DeFazio and Larsen Lead 18 Members of Congress on New Legislation Requiring Passengers to Wear Masks on Airplanes and in Airports

The Healthy Flights Act of 2020 protects passengers and also ensures pilots, 
flight attendants, and other airline employees are provided masks and other 
protective equipment, requires development of a national aviation pandemic 
preparedness plan, commissions a study on transmission of infectious diseases 
in airplane cabins, and more

cdc coronavirus warning

Washington, D.C. — Even though COVID-19 infections continue to surge across the U.S., the Trump administration refuses to issue commonsense requirements to mitigate the spread of the disease, including in air travel. So today, Chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Chair of the Subcommittee on Aviation Rick Larsen (D-WA) led 18 Members of Congress in the introduction of the Healthy Flights Act of 2020which will provide a set of uniform requirements to help keep passengers and airline and airport workers healthy by minimizing transmission of the virus through our air transportation system.

The Healthy Flights Act also helps prepare U.S. aviation stakeholders for future infectious disease pandemics and epidemics through development of a national preparedness plan to define the aviation system’s response to future outbreaks and by advancing scientific research.the bill


Specifically, the bill:

  • Clarifies the FAA’s authority to impose any requirements on passenger and cargo air travel necessary to protect the health and safety of airline workers and passengers during public health emergencies;

passengers on board

  • Requires that passengers must wear masks on board aircraft and within airports, and also requires issuance of masks and other protective equipment to airline employees and certain FAA employees (including air traffic controllers and aviation safety inspectors), during any public health emergency that is caused by an airborne disease;

passengers in terminal


  • Mandates the development of a national aviation preparedness plan to respond to epidemics or pandemics;
  • Calls for a study on transmission of infectious diseases in airplane cabins; and
  • Creates an FAA Center of Excellence on Infectious Disease Response and Prevention in Aviation to advise the FAA Administrator on infectious diseases and air travel.

“Covid-19 infections are spreading across this country like wildfire, yet . This inaction is a massive failure on the part of the Trump administration, so Congress can and must step up on behalf of those on the frontlines in our aviation system,” Chair DeFazio said. “The Healthy Flights Act provides clear, consistent rules and guidelines that give flight and cabin crews the authority they need to keep passengers safe, mitigate the spread of this insidious disease, and help our country prepare for future pandemics.”

“As Chair of the Aviation Subcommittee, I make air travel safety my top priority,” Chair Larsen said. “Keeping the flying public safe from COVID is even more difficult because of the lack of coordinated federal leadership. This bill includes commonsense measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 in air travel, ensure the safety of passengers and frontline aviation workers, and better prepare the U.S. aviation industry for public health crises.”

In addition to DeFazio and Larsen, original cosponsors of the Healthy Flights Act of 2020 include: Reps. Julia Brownley (D-CA), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), André Carson (D-IN), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC),  Jesús “Chuy” García (D-IL), Jared Huffman (D-CA), Sharice Davids (D-KS), Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA), Colin Allred (D-TX), Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-FL), Frederica Wilson (D-FL), Stephen Lynch (D-MA), Steven Cohen (D-TN), Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Salud Carbajal (D-CA), Donald Payne, Jr. (D-NJ), Adam Schiff (D-CA), and Albio Sires (D-NJ).

The Healthy Flights Act of 2020 also has broad support from those who work in our aviation system.

Full list of Supporters of the Healthy Flights Act of 2020:

  • American Association of Airport Executives;
  • Airports Council International;
  • Association of Flight Attendants;
  • Air Line Pilots Association;
  • Allied Pilots Association;
  • Association of Professional Flights Attendants;
  • Coalition of Airline Pilots Associations;
  • International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers;
  • Professional Aviation Safety Specialists (PASS), AFL-CIO;
  • Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO; and
  • Transport Workers Union of America

Additional resources: Fact Sheet | Section by SectionBill Text






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