United Airlines is expanding its mask policy and will begin requiring passengers to wear face coverings not only on board its planes but also in its lounges and baggage claim areas and at its gates, customer service counters and kiosks.
“A mask is about protecting the safety of others, and I’m proud of the aggressive and proactive steps United Airlines has taken to ensure people are wearing a face covering,” the airline’s chief executive, Scott Kirby, said in a statement.
The airline joins Delta Air Lines and Southwest Airlines in requiring masks throughout the airport. United’s policy will go into effect on Friday and does not apply to children under 2 years old. Passengers who need an exemption from the rule are asked to contact United ahead of time or speak to an airline representative at the airport.
Customers who fail to follow the rule will receive a verbal reminder and be offered a free mask. Those who still refuse to wear a face covering will be provided a written warning and face being barred from future flights.
United has flown millions of passengers since it introduced a mask policy aboard its flights and has so far barred fewer than 30 passengers from future travel.
“It is a distinctly small minority that don’t want to wear a mask and we’ll welcome them back when this is all over, when masks aren’t required, but they’re not going to be flying on United during the pandemic if they won’t wear a mask,” Mr. Kirby said Wednesday.
The policy was developed with help from the Cleveland Clinic, which United has partnered with for guidance on crafting health and safety policies.