More than 450 people have been banned from flying Delta Airlines for refusing to wear masks, according to an internal memo.
The memo from Delta CEO Ed Bastian to employees — posted online by Reuters reporter David Shepardson — said 460 customers had been added to the company’s no-fly list for “refusing to comply with our mask requirement.”
The figure represents the total number of customers banned from flying the Atlanta-based airline since the onset of the pandemic, Delta confirmed to McClatchy News.
“Wearing a mask is among the simplest and most effective actions we can take to reduce transmission, which is why Delta has long required them for our customers and our people,” Bastian wrote, according to NBC News.
This summer, Delta was among several U.S. airlines that announced they would not allow passengers who refuse to comply with mask policies to fly.
Delta requires passengers to wear face masks or face coverings for the entirety of their journey, from airport check-in through the duration of their flight. Children under age 2 are exempt.
Delta encourages travelers with underlying health issues that preclude them from wearing masks to reconsider travel. Those who choose to travel are required to complete the airline’s “clearance to fly” process, which can take up to an hour.
As the weather cools, Bastian said slowing the spread of COVID-19 is imperative for the company.
“With the cold-weather months approaching, stopping the spread will be crucial to our recovery from the pandemic and Delta’s return to growth and leadership within our industry,” Bastian wrote in his memo, NBC reported.
Coronavirus cases are surging across the country, with the U.S. logging a record 83,757 new cases Friday and 83,718 on Saturday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.