American Airlines Latest to Ban Face Masks with Valves or Vents

  • American Airlines Latest to Ban Face Masks with Valves or Vents

American Airlines Latest to Ban Face Masks with Valves or Vents

Masks with valves have been banned by the major US airlines, with American Airlines on Wednesday becoming the latest to announce a policy change, citing the new CDC guidance.

Calling the wearing of a mask a "responsibility", the airline said that only "effective" coverings should be worn.

"Since American began requiring face coverings in early May, the vast majority of customers have welcomed our continuing efforts to strengthen the policy based on the CDC's guidance", said Alison Taylor, the airline's chief customer officer.

In an updated guidance issued Thursday, CDC clarified facemasks with exhalation valves or vents don't prevent respiratory droplets infected with the COVID-19 virus from reaching other people. Face coverings with one-way valves allow air to be exhaled without passing through any kind of filter or barrier, which can allow respiratory droplets containing the COVID-19 virus to linger in the air and potentially reach others.

Public health experts recommend mask-wearing to prevent respiratory droplets from spreading into the air when you exhale, speak, cough or sneeze, and the valves allow those droplets through.

The airline company says that masks that fit snugly against a wearer's face, which covers their mouth and nose completely, are acceptable - but that vented or valved masks are not permitted.

AA notes that they will be strict in this new policy and deny the boarding of passengers who will not follow.

Only children below two years old will be exempted from the mask policy of the airlines. Customers without an approved face covering will be provided with an approved one, upon request, at the airport. Face coverings can only be briefly removed while the customer is eating or drinking. However, during the duration of the flight, strict requirements and measures still apply in wearing the mask at all times.

Of all the three-word phrases that this pandemic has popularized - "flatten the curve", "six feet apart" - perhaps none has resonated as deeply as "wear a mask".

The CDC recommends simple cloth masks instead.

FORT WORTH, Texas - Effective Aug. 19, 2020, and following the most recent recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), face coverings with exhausts valves or vents will no longer be allowed for travel with American Airlines.

Several fellow carriers have already announced similar bans, including United and JetBlue, both of which announced their policies in early August, and Delta, which announced its ban on valved masks in late July. Also, the substitution of face shields for masks is strongly discouraged, and face shields should only be used with the presence of a mask.