United Airlines has a friendly warning: wear your mask or the skies won't be so friendly. In fact, you may be be banned.

United Airlines Threatens Ban For Those Who Refuse To Wear Face Masks

On the heals of the Airlines for America announcement today that U.S. airlines will more strictly enforce face mask requirements, United Airlines has updated its onboard mask policy.

A new policy takes effect on June 18, 2020 which will compel, not just suggest the use of masks. Passengers who do not comply will be subject to what United Airlines calls its "internal travel restriction list."

United tells me:

"Customers on this list will lose their travel privileges on United for a duration of time to be determined pending a comprehensive incident review."

Passengers will be given two warnings before facing an in-flight ban:

Under this new policy, if a flight attendant notices or is informed of a customer onboard who is not wearing a face covering and that passenger does not fall within an exception, the flight attendant will proactively inform the customer that for the health and safety of everyone, face coverings are mandatory for all customers and crew on board. They will also offer to provide the customer with a mask if needed. If the customer continues to be non-compliant, flight attendants will do their best to de-escalate the situation, again inform the customer of United's policy, and provide the passenger with an In-Flight Mask policy reminder card. If a customer continues to not comply, the flight attendant will file a report of the incident, which will initiate a formal review process. Any final decision or actions regarding a customer's future flight benefits will not occur onboard but instead take place after the flight has reached its destination and the security team has investigated the incident.

A formal appeal system will not be instituted, though most in-flight bans will be temporary in nature. Importantly, there will not be flight diversions or arrests threatened, just a personal travel ban on United.

Which Passengers Are Exempt From Face Mask Requirement?

There are still three broad exceptions to the mask requirement:

  • Those who have a medical condition or a disability that prevents them from wearing a face covering
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  • Those who cannot put on or remove a face covering themselves
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  • Small children

All other passengers must wear face masks for the duration of the flight, except while eating or drinking.


United expects the new policy to remain in place for at least 60 days. But let me make it very simple for you: wear your mask onboard and you'll have nothing to worry about it. Simple, isn't it?