All United Airlines flight attendants should put on a face covering or mask whereas on duty beginning April 24, the airline stated Thursday, in the first such rule by a serious U.S. carrier.
The Association of Flight Attendants (AFA), whose members work for United Airlines Holdings and 19 other carriers, welcomed the move but urged Washington to require passengers to put on masks as well to protect against the unfold of coronavirus on airplanes.
In an April 23 letter, AFA President Sara Nelson asked the departments of Transportation and Health and Human Services to obligate masks for the crew, employees, and passengers; require personal protective gear, and end all leisure travel until the coronavirus pandemic is contained.
United’s move reflects airlines’ evolving stance on masks for crew members as coronavirus pandemic has spread the world over. Initially, flight attendants had only been allowed to put on masks on international flights to coronavirus hotspots.
U.S. pilot unions’ representatives have been meeting with members of Congress to seek legislation to protect against the spread of coronavirus on airplanes, union officers stated Thursday.
Major U.S. carriers have drastically cut flying schedules as demand has plummeted, but they continue to function domestic flights and a handful of international routes.