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New face mask rules for U.S. airlines may includes bans for travellers who refuse

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U.S. airline passengers who refuse to wear face coverings during the novel coronavirus pandemic could have their flying privileges revoked under tougher enforcement policies, the industry’s main lobby group said on Monday.

Major U.S. airlines may prevent anyone not wearing a mask from boarding and provide the coverings to passengers who have none. Once on board, however, flight attendants have had little power over passengers who remove the face covering.

Carriers with the stricter policy include Alaska Airlines , American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines, Airlines for America said in a statement.

The airlines will clearly inform passengers about their individual policies on face coverings before flying, followed by an announcement with specific details onboard, it said.

Each carrier will decide the appropriate consequences for passengers who fail to comply, up to and including being put on that airline’s no-fly list.

Airlines offer certain exemptions, including when people are eating or drinking.

American Airlines said its updated policy will go into effect on Tuesday, followed by United on Thursday.

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United said those who do not comply will be placed on an internal travel restriction list that would prevent them from flying with the airline “for a duration of time to be determined pending a comprehensive incident review.”

Delta said it was doubling efforts to ensure customers are aware of, acknowledge and comply with its mask requirement, which it said is one of the most important ways to “stay safe while flying.”

The measures are expected to remain in place throughout the coronavirus crisis.

On Twitter, Senator Ed Markey, who has been vocal along with about a dozen other Democratic senators on airline issues during the pandemic, praised the tougher enforcement policies, adding “But we still need federal action immediately.”

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