WestJet Airlines is introducing a zero tolerance mask policy, requiring all guests over the age of two to wear a mask or possibly face a one-year travel ban.
The Calgary-based airline announced Friday that starting on Sept. 1, all passengers will be required to wear masks and face coverings or face penalties including denied boarding, removal from the aircraft and a one-year suspension of travel on any WestJet flight.
“Masks are mandated by our regulator and the vast majority of our guests are happy to keep themselves and each other safe by complying,” WestJet chief executive Ed Sims said in a statement.
“This enhanced policy provides clarity on how we will enforce the regulation for those who don’t. Travellers must understand if they choose to not wear a mask, they are choosing not to fly our airlines.”
WestJet said refusal to wear a mask will managed through a three-step process. Passengers will first be asked to put a mask on, then given a warning that masks are required and compliance is necessary. Finally, passengers will receive notice that failure to wear a mask will result in being placed on a no-fly list for 12-months.
Many airlines around the world have been dealing with passengers who have refused to wear masks, which were made mandatory on airplanes and in airports in Canada in April. American carrier Delta Air Lines has placed about 240 people on a no-fly list for failing to comply with the company’s mask policy.
WestJet will also require all passengers to provide information for contact tracing when they check-in to flights online or at airport kiosks.
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