Canadian Airline Introduces Strict Mask Policy with Repercussions for Violators

WestJet has adopted a ‘zero tolerance mask policy’ to better ensure safe travel on its airplanes.

Passengers who refuse to don a face covering may be denied boarding. For those who remove their masks during a flight, the violation could result in the return of the aircraft to the gate and the offending passenger removed. A one-year travel ban with the airline may also be imposed.

The rules, which came into effect Sept. 1, apply to all passengers over the age of two. Travellers who cannot wear a mask due to health reasons are exempt so long as they produce a certified medical note.

“This enhanced policy provides clarity on how we will enforce the regulation for those who don’t comply,” says WestJet Group president and CEO, Ed Sims. “Travellers must understand if they choose to not wear a mask, they are choosing not to fly our airlines.”

U.S. carriers Delta Air Lines and American Airlines have implemented similar no exceptions masking policies.

Transport Canada made face coverings mandatory on all commercial flights in mid-April.

WestJet now also requires the mandatory input of all passengers’ contact information at online and kiosk check-in to help with contact tracing in the case of infected individuals on-board.

“We continue to work collaboratively with our health partners to adapt our procedures,” says Sims. “A coordinated approach is essential and we are advocating for contact tracing enhancements along with the introduction of testing.”


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