United Airlines will join American and Southwest in eliminating medical exemptions to the carrier's mask mandate. If you have a medical condition which precludes you from wearing a mask, you will not be welcomed on United until after the pandemic subsides.

United Airlines: No More Medical Exemptions To Mandatory Mask Policy

The news was revealed during an invitation-only "United for Business" conference this morning with:

  • Patrick Quayle - VP International Network and Alliances
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  • Jake Cefolia - SVP Worldwide Sales
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  • Mike Erbeck - VP Newark Hub
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  • Dr. James Merlino - Chief Clinical Transformation Officer at Cleveland Clinic

While United strengthened its mask mandate only yesterday, this goes even further. United had said that effective July 24th customers would be required to wear masks in:

  • check-in kiosks
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  • customer service counters
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  • United Clubs
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  • gate areas
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  • baggage claim areas

Furthermore, only children under two and those with a verifiable medical condition would be exempt. United later indicated in a memo to employees that it would adopt an approach similar to Delta in which travelers claiming an exemption would need to dial into a health expert who would clear them to fly or deny them boarding.

But with American and Southwest going even further last night in eliminating medical exemptions, United will also no longer

The official policy remains potentially flexible:

If a passenger believes that there are extraordinary circumstances that warrant an exception, they should contact United or speak to a representative at the airport.

But I am told this will be updated soon and that passengers who are medically unable to wear a face mask should not be flying at all.


As masks move from divisive to more mainstream, expect all carriers to follow. As I outlined earlier today, it is legal. And while some still question the effectiveness of such masks, this relatively non-invasive step may protect others. That should be good enough for any travelers of conscience.

image: United