American, Southwest Airlines Expand Face Mask Policy

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Both American and Southwest Airlines announced Wednesday they would be expanding and updating their face covering policy, requiring all customers above the age of two to wear a face covering or mask, effective July 29 and 27, respectively.

Fort-Worth based American Airlines' new policy also says all customers must wear a face covering from the time they enter their departure airport and not remove it until they exit their arrival airport, with the exception of eating or drinking.

Southwest's new policy is refusing service to any customers to wear a face covering or mask, and in a statement, said, "If a Customer is unable to wear a face covering or mask for any reason, Southwest regrets that we will be unable to transport the individual."

American Airlines said they may ban customers who refuse to comply with its face mask policy.

"According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention one of the best ways we can slow the spread of COVID-19 is to wear a face covering," said Alison Taylor, Chief Customer Officer of American Airlines, in a statement. "Customers and team members have been clear that they feel more safe when everyone is wearing a face covering. In light of this important feedback, we are expanding and enhancing our requirements onboard and at airports."

According to Southwest Airlines, the airlines would have masks available upon request, but bringing your own face covering or mask is "highly encouraged."

American first required a face covering starting May 11.

Earlier Thursday, American and Southwest Airlines reported second quarter losses of $2.15 billion and $915 million, respectively, as demand for air travel plunges.

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