Delta CEO Ed Bastian said Thursday that the airline has now banned more than 800 flyers who refused to wear masks onboard – plus some unruly pro-Trump supporters captured in viral videos flying home after riots at the U.S. Capitol last week.
And Delta has been the most vocal by far about following through with that policy, continually updating the public as that tally grows. During a quarterly earnings call on Thursday, Bastian said Delta has now banned “north of 800” travelers from flying with the airline.
Asked how many flyers it’s banned due to unruly behavior flying back from Washington, D.C. after rioters stormed the Capitol to disrupt certification of the election, Bastian added: “A number, not a huge number.”
After the storming of the Capitol last week, videos of passengers getting kicked off planes went viral. Despite calls to add rioters to the federal no-fly list, that hasn’t happened yet. Delta confirmed to Thrifty Traveler that it booted several flyers off its planes last week due to their misbehavior and failure to listen to flight crews.
“We certainly know that the TSA is looking very carefully at those that were in the Capitol building, the rioters,” Bastian said. “We are working closely with them. I do anticipate if the TSA is able to identify individuals, you’ll have people added to the no-fly list.”
With more than 800 now on its internal no-fly list, that’s up substantially from just a few months ago, when Bastian said the airline had banned 460 flyers total. A handful of other airlines have published their ban totals, but Delta’s is the largest by far.
Delta and other airlines have suggested that those bans will last until the mask requirements are lifted. And with more states and even individual airports making masks mandatory, that likely won’t be anytime soon.
But Bastian is right that Delta has stepped up its mask enforcement even farther. Starting this summer, Delta required anyone claiming a health condition prevents them from wearing a mask to complete a virtual consultation with an airline physician to get approval. Travelers who make false claims to avoid wearing a mask may get banned, too.
Delta isn’t alone in strengthening its mask policies. Almost all airlines followed Delta’s lead in banning masks with face valves. And many airlines won’t allow any medical exemptions from the mask mandate, period.
Airlines aren’t messing around when it comes to wearing masks onboard. Don’t test them: Just wear a mask, please.
Lead photo courtesy of Delta