Delta Adds Hundreds to No-Fly List for Mask Refusal

By WebMD News Staff

October 27, 2020

Editor's note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape's Coronavirus Resource Center.

Delta Airlines has added 460 people to its no-fly lists for refusing to follow the company's requirement to wear masks during flights, according to ABC News.

Delta CEO Ed Bastian wrote about the number in an internal memo to employees regarding the company's efforts during Breast Cancer Awareness month. He encouraged employees to participate in the company's fundraising efforts but provided other updates as well, including the no-fly list information.

"Throughout the pandemic, we have focused our efforts on protecting our people, our customers and our communities," Bastian wrote in the memo. ABC News obtained a copy of the memo.

Bastian discussed the major increase in coronavirus cases across the U.S. and emphasized that the pandemic calls for "multiple layers of defense."

"Wearing a mask is among the simplest and most effective actions we can take to reduce transmission, which is why Delta has long required them for our customers and our people," Bastian wrote. "As of this week, we've added 460 people to our no-fly list for refusing to comply with our mask requirement."

Reviving the airline industry relies on stopping the spread of the coronavirus, he added.

"With the cold-weather months approaching, stopping the spread will be crucial to our recovery from the pandemic and Delta's return to growth and leadership within our industry," he wrote.

Several airlines have banned passengers or removed passengers from flights after they refused to wear a mask. On Saturday, a Delta flight traveling from Detroit to Las Vegas was delayed for 90 minutes because a passenger refused to put on a mask, ABC News reported. Earlier this month, a passenger who refused to wear a mask hit a Delta flight attendant in the face on a flight from Miami to Atlanta. Similar scenarios occurred in July and September as well.

This summer, the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, which represents more than 50,000 members across the industry, urged the federal government to mandate masks on all flights.

"Masks are essential to keep passengers, flight attendants, and frontline aviation workers safe during the Coronavirus pandemic," the union said in a statement.

"It is also essential to rebuild confidence in air travel," according to the statement. "The federal government has completely abdicated its responsibility to keep the flying public and aviation workers safe during COVID-19."

The CDC has, however, encouraged transportation companies to refuse to board any passenger who refuses to wear a mask.

"Transmission of the virus through travelers has led to — and continues to lead to — interstate and international spread of the virus which causes COVID-19," the CDC says in a guidance issued last week.