FAA will keep its ‘zero tolerance policy’ for unruly passengers even as mask requirements expire – but Delta says customers banned for failing to wear face coverings can return to the skies
- FAA said on Wednesday that its ‘zero tolerance policy’ will become permanent
- Originally the rule for unruly passengers was in tandem with mask rules
- But a judge on Monday ended masking requirement for US commercial flights
- Delta will restore flight privileges to 2,000 passengers banned over masks
- Amnesty does not extend to 1,000 who demonstrated ‘egregious behavior’
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said on Wednesday the agency’s ‘zero tolerance policy’ for addressing unruly passengers will become permanent even after a court ended transportation mask requirements.
Then FAA Administrator Steve Dickson first imposed the policy in January 2021 and later said it would remain as least as long as an order was in place requiring masks onboard airplanes.
The move comes after a federal judge on Monday struck the down the 14-month-old federal rule mandating masks on commercial flights and other forms of interstate transportation.
Following the ruling, Delta Air Lines said on Wednesday it plans to restore flight privileges to about 2,000 customers who were barred from flights after failing to comply with mask rules.
Travellers wearing masks and not wearing masks wait in line at a Delta Airlines counter in Boston on Tuesday. Delta Air Lines said on Wednesday it plans to restore flight privileges to about 2,000 customers who were barred from flights after failing to comply with mask rules
The Biden administration on Monday said it would no longer enforce a U.S. mask mandate on public transportation and airlines after a federal judge struck down the directive as unlawful.
Atlanta-based Delta said it will restore passengers ‘only after each case is reviewed and each customer demonstrates an understanding of their expected behavior when flying with us. Any further disregard for the policies that keep us all safe will result in placement on Delta’s permanent no-fly list.’
The change will not impact Delta’s separate list of about 1,000 people ‘who demonstrated egregious behavior and are already on the permanent no-fly list.’
Delta’s announcement follows a similar decision by United Airlines on Tuesday to allow some of the roughly 1,000 people who have been banned for not wearing masks to return to flights on a ‘case by case basis.’
Chicago-based United said those people would be allowed to return to flights ‘after ensuring their commitment to follow all crewmember instructions on board.’
Unmasked passengers check in for a flight with Delta Air Lines in Florida on Tuesday
Pictured passenger a mask less Casey Phillips age 40 from Alexandria, VA is served a cup of champagne from a maskless Delta Flight attendant on a flight heading to Atlanta, Georgia from Reagan National Airport on April 19th, 2022
Delta said that of the 2,000 passengers barred over mask violations, ‘any further disregard for the policies that keep us all safe will result in placement on Delta’s permanent no-fly list.’
The airline has urged the Justice Department to back a federal permanent no-fly list for those who exhibit egregious or violent behavior.
The Justice Department said Wednesday it plans to appeal the order that forced the government to halt enforcement of the mask mandate.
The appeal will send the legal fight to the Atlanta-based 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, where there are seven Republican-appointed judges and four appointed by Democrats.
The feds filed a noticed of appeal in federal court in Tampa.
The battle could end up in the Supreme Court, which earlier this year struck down a vaccine mandate for large private businesses in a 6-3 ruling.