01:10 AM

TPA's major airlines to heighten enforcement of face mask policies

Many of Tampa International Airport’s carriers are toughening enforcement of face mask policies in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The consequences for failing to properly wear a face mask vary by airline but could include suspension of flying privileges.

Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines will soon implement the following face mask policy updates:

  • Pre-flight Communications: Each airline will provide its individual face mask policy in communications with customers, which may require passengers to acknowledge the specific rules during the check-in process.
  • Onboard Announcements: Onboard the aircraft, crew members will announce specific details regarding the carrier’s face mask policy, including the consequences passengers could face for violating the policy.
  • Consequences for Noncompliance: Each carrier will determine the appropriate consequences for passengers who are found to be in noncompliance of the airline’s face covering policy. This includes suspension of flying privileges on that airline.

“U.S. airlines are very serious about requiring face coverings on their flights,” said Airlines for America President and CEO Nicholas E. Calio. “Face coverings are one of several public health measures recommended by the CDC as an important layer of protection for passengers and customer-facing employees.”

Since early April, airlines such as Southwest, Delta, United and American have mandated the use of face masks on boardwhile flying to align with in compliance with best practice guidelines from the CDC. Many also extend the rule to check-in counters, gate hold areas and airline lounges. 

This new approach aims to increase compliance by putting more rigor around the rules. United Airlines told USA Today that starting on June 18th, travelers who fail to comply with the mandatory mask policy would be placed on an “internal travel restriction list” and that “customers on this list will lose their travel privileges on United for a duration of time to be determined pending a comprehensive incident review.”

Since early May, all of TPA’s employees have been required to wear face masks in public areas or in areas where six feet of separation is not possible.

This is part of a larger initiative at the Airport called TPA Ready, designed to protect the health and safety of our team and guests, and enhance the cleanliness of our facilities.

“The safety and security of our passengers and employees is our most important priority. We want to make sure that everyone who walks through our doors feels safe and secure,” said TPA’s Executive Vice President of Operations and Customer Service.”

In accordance with a City of Tampa Executive Order, all TPA visitors must wear face masks while inside the Airport. Masks can be purchased at newsstands in the Main Terminal and all four airsides while supplies are available.

For additional information about specific rules regarding masks while flying, travelers should contact their airline before their scheduled flight.