American Airlines steps up face mask requirements

‘We are expanding and enhancing our requirements onboard and at airports.’

American Airlines steps up face mask requirements
All customers must comply with the requirement from the time they enter their departure airport until they leave the airport at their destination. (Source: American Airlines)

(Gray News) – American Airlines will soon require all customers over the age of 2 to wear face coverings.

All customers must comply with the requirement from the time they enter their departure airport until they leave the airport at their destination.

“Customers and team members have been clear that they feel more safe when everyone is wearing a face covering,” said Alison Taylor, the chief customer officer at American.

“In light of this important feedback, we are expanding and enhancing our requirements onboard and at airports.”

The guidelines do allow for no face mask while eating or drinking.

The airline says anyone unwilling to comply with the requirement could be barred from future travel with American.

The new requirement takes effect July 29.

American’s announcement came as the airline posted a huge second-quarter loss of $2 billion.

That pushed the combined loss of the nation’s four biggest airlines to more than $10 billion in just three months.

American — with hub airports in Texas, North Carolina and Arizona and a big operation in Miami — benefited when Sun Belt states eased health restrictions in the spring to boost their economies. Bookings by small and medium businesses in Texas rose from 10,000 in April to 45,000 in June even while corporate bookings were nearly zero, executives said.

The airline added flights in June and July, hoping to capture an increase in summer leisure travel. The gambit apparently worked. However, after Labor Day about 40% of American’s revenue typically comes from business travel.

“It’s pretty unreasonable at this point to think that we’ll be anywhere close to that” this fall, said Vasu Raja, the airline’s chief revenue officer. He said American still plans to increase flying from Dallas-Fort Worth and Charlotte but will trim routes that depend on business travelers.

Analysts believe the April-through-June quarter will turn out to be the industry’s low point. The recovery, however, is likely to be slow and uneven. United Airlines executives said this week that eventually they expect revenue to rise to 50% of last year’s level -- they didn’t say when – and stay around that depressed mark until a vaccine is widely available.

Copyright 2020 Gray Media Group, Inc. Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.