Hawaiian Airlines is the latest carrier to ban masks with exhalation valves or vents, citing findings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that such masks are not effective in preventing the transmission of COVID-19. The airline is also banning any face coverings made with mesh or sheer materials, the carrier confirmed this week.
In addition, Hawaiian Airlines is now initiating a new screening process for guests who claim an exemption to the mask mandate due to a disability or medical condition. Such passengers will now be subject to a medical assessment inside the airport — which may take up to one hour — before they are cleared to board.
The airline’s new rules were announced this week in news release touting the carrier’s updated “Keeping You Safe” policies.
“We are adjusting and reinforcing our layered safety protocols to ensure we’re providing the highest level of comfort and protection for our employees and guests,” said Jeff Helfrick, vice president of airport operations at Hawaiian Airlines, in the Monday announcement. “We appreciate everyone’s understanding and cooperation in keeping Hawai‘i a safe destination.”
Currently, the carrier allows passengers under the age of 2 to board without masks.
Those who do not comply with the face mask rules "will not be allowed to board" the flight "unless they are under 2 years of age or have a disability or medical condition that prevents them from wearing one," a representative for the airline said to Fox Business.
"Noncompliance during a flight will affect a guest’s ability to travel with us in the future," the representative said via email.
Several other major carriers, including American, United, JetBlue and Delta, have instituted similar mask policies in recent weeks, prohibiting passengers from wearing face masks with vents or valves in accordance with the CDC’s guidance. Some have even stated that passengers who refuse to comply with the mandates could be banned from future travel with the airline. As of last week, for instance, a spokesperson for Delta Airlines confirmed that over 120 passengers had been placed on a “no-fly” list over their refusal to wear appropriate face coverings.