You Could Be Kicked Off an Airplane for Wearing This Face Mask
Your flight could be cut short if you break this new health rule.
When the pandemic first hit the United States months ago, planes were grounded and travel all but stopped completely. Though flying is still a risk, airlines have enacted many new security measures to keep passengers safe. Some have blocked off middle seats for social distancing and all major carriers have required crew and passengers to wear face masks onboard. If anyone tried to travel without a face mask, they could be banned or put on a temporary do-not-fly list. And now, one airline is making its rules even more strict: Delta just updated its coronavirus guidelines by saying that masks with valves are no longer allowed on its planes, as of July 25.
"Any mask with an exhaust valve is not approved as an acceptable face mask for customers traveling on any Delta operated flight," the statement said.
Face masks with valves were originally created for industrial jobs, like construction or factory workers, because the filter blocks them from breathing in dust or other toxins. However, they're not intended to be used in a surgical setting—or during a pandemic—because the one-way valve allows the wearer to release their breath and contaminated droplets, which could then easily infect the people around them.
This new precaution follows the recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). "An N95 respirator with an exhalation valve does not provide the same level of protection to the wearer as one that does not have a valve," the CDC notes. "Respirators with exhalation valves should not be used in situations where a sterile field must be maintained… because the exhalation valve may allow unfiltered exhaled air to escape into the sterile field."
In fact, medical experts have cautioned against these masks, and some cities in California and Colorado even banned them completely.
As for Delta, you can still wear surgical masks or cloth face coverings. If you want to put on a plastic face shield, the airline requires you to wear a mask underneath as well.
"The latest guidance, informed by the many conversations we are having with health officials and other experts, is that face coverings and masks without vents work best for everyone's safety," a Delta spokesperson told The Points Guy. "Delta has plenty of complimentary masks without vents for our customers at airports who may need one." While Delta is one of the best airlines to fly right now, you may want to avoid These 3 Airlines That Are Handling Coronavirus the Worst.