As part of its response to the COVID-19 global pandemic, JetBlue announced today it will require all passengers to wear face coverings. The policy mirrors current requirements for crew members by the nation’s sixth-largest airline.
“Wearing a face covering isn’t about protecting yourself, it’s about protecting those around you,” Joanna Geraghty, president and chief operating officer of JetBlue, said in a statement. “This is the new flying etiquette. Onboard, cabin air is well circulated and cleaned through filters every few minutes, but this is a shared space where we have to be considerate of others.”
The new policy requires customers to wear a face covering over their nose and mouth throughout their time with the airline, including check-in, boarding, while in flight, and while deplaning. JetBlue will remind customers via email before their flight, and via signage and announcements at the airport. Small children unable to maintain a face covering are exempt from the new policy.
JetBlue has been quick to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak. Face coverings have been required for crew members from the earliest days. Since March, the airline has limited the number of available seats in order to practice social distancing for individuals not traveling together. Additionally, all JetBlue aircraft are equipped with hospital-grade high-efficiency air particulate filters. All recirculated air passes through these filters before it is mixed with fresh air and reintroduced into the passenger cabin. On average, all cabin air is completely changed every three minutes.
The airline has also increased the rigor of aircraft cleaning. Using disinfectant approved to kill the coronavirus, JetBlue heightened cleanings focus on the places touched most by passengers and crew. Food and beverage services have also been modified to minimize touchpoints between crew and customers.
The new policy goes into effect May 4.