Hawaiian Airlines has announced that it will adopt a stricter mask policy to curb the spread of novel coronavirus pandemic.
Hawaiian no longer allows guests wearing mesh or sheer face coverings or valve masks, including exhaust vents of any kind to board flights. Last week, American Airlines also announced that masks with exhaust valves or vents would no longer be allowed.
The airline has updated it mask policy following a determination by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that they donʻt effectively block respiratory droplets. A plastic face shield may be worn in addition to a mask, but not in lieu of one.
The CDC notes that face coverings with one-way valves or vents allow exhaled air to be expelled through holes in the material. These can allow exhaled respiratory droplets to reach others and potentially spread the coronavirus.
The airline, whose face mask requirement has been in place since May 8, enhanced its face covering policy for both passengers and employees, requiring all travelers 2 years of age and older to wear a face mask or covering at the airport and during the flight.
The airline will no longer allow masks made with mesh or sheer material or equipped with valves, and initiatiate a new health screening for those unable to wear a face mask or covering due to a medical condition or disability.
Passengers who are unable to wear a face mask or covering due to a medical condition or disability must now undergo a personal medical assessment at the airport to be cleared to board. Travellers requesting an exemption should arrive at the airport early as the assessment may take up to one hour.
“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. “We appreciate everyone’s understanding and cooperation in keeping Hawaii a safe destination.”
As part of its “Keeping You Safe” program, Hawaiian last month added a new step to its check-in process requiring guests to complete a health acknowledgment form indicating they are free of COVID-19 symptoms and will wear a face mask or covering for the entirety of their journey.
The health and safety program for guests and employees also features enhanced cleaning measures, including frequent disinfecting of lobby areas, kiosks, and ticket counters, electrostatic aircraft cabin spraying, plexiglass barriers at staffed airport counters, and sanitizer wipe distribution to all guests.
The carrier, which has been operating a reduced schedule since March due to the pandemic and travel restrictions, will continue to cap cabin capacity at 70 percent through September to allow for onboard distancing.
About Hawaiian Airlines
Hawaiian has led all U.S. carriers in on-time performance for each of the past 16 years (2004-2019) as reported by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Consumer surveys by Condé Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure and TripAdvisor have placed Hawaiian among the top of all domestic airlines serving Hawaii.
Now in its 91st year of continuous service, Hawaiian is Hawaii’s biggest and longest-serving airline. In 2019, Hawaiian offered nonstop flights between Hawaii and more U.S. gateway cities (13) than any other airline, along with service connecting the islands with Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, American Samoa and Tahiti. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hawaiian is operating an adjusted schedule of daily flights within the Hawaiian Islands and between Hawai‘i and the U.S. west coast to support essential travel and critical cargo services.