JetBlue mandates face coverings for customers during travel


A passenger checks in using a touchscreen at JetBlue's terminal in John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, the United States, March 14, 2020. (Photo: AP)

JetBlue Airways on Monday became the first major U.S. airline to ask customers cover their faces rs during travel in an effort to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The new policy follows guidelines by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that all individuals should wear a face covering in public.

Starting May 4 all JetBlue customers will be required to wear a face covering over their nose and mouth throughout the journey, including during check-in, boarding, while in flight and deplaning, the low-cost carrier said in a statement.

"Wearing a face covering isn't about protecting yourself, it's about protecting those around you," said Joanna Geraghty, president and chief operating officer of JetBlue. 

"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. We are also asking our customers to follow these CDC guidelines in the airport as well."

JetBlue started mandating face masks for flight attendants as well as other crew members including airport workers on April 17.

Since late March, JetBlue has limited the number of seats available for sale on most flights, allowing the airline to provide additional space between individuals who are not traveling together. Before each flight, JetBlue reviews seat assignments to ensure as much personal space as possible.