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Key Words: Delta, United to ‘restore flight privileges’ to no-fly list members who broke mask rules

Some members of the no-fly list may soon be able to fly again.

Most airlines, airports, public transit systems and ride-sharing companies like Uber

and Lyft

 ended their mask-wearing rules after a federal judge in Florida struck down the federal mask mandate in several travel hubs on Monday.

For Delta Air Lines
that also means its looking to allow people who refused to obey mask rules to be taken off the company’s no-fly list.

“With masks now optional, Delta will restore flight privileges for customers on the mask non-compliance no-fly list only after each case is reviewed and each customer demonstrates an understanding of their expected behavior when flying with us,” Delta representatives told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Any further disregard for the policies that keep us all safe will result in placement on Delta’s permanent no-fly list.”

Separately, American Airlines

and United Airlines

have both indicated that they are willing to lift the bans they imposed now that masks are optional on flights.

“We have talked to them individually,” United CEO Scott Kirby told NBC on Thursday. “Many of them assure us that now that the mask mandate is off, everything is going to be fine, and I trust that the vast majority of them will.”

American Airlines Chief Government Affairs Officer Nate Gatten said, “in most cases,” people who were banned over masks will be allowed back. “In cases where an incident may have started with face mask non-compliance and escalated into anything involving something more serious — certainly an assault on one of our team members or customers — those passengers … will never be allowed to travel with us again,” Gatten continued.

The U.S. Justice Department is filing an appeal seeking to overturn the judge’s order that voided the federal mask mandate after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised the mandate remain in place. The CDC says face masks are a key factor to end the acute phase of the COVID-19 pandemic with new subvariants of the omicron variant spreading throughout the world.

Unruly passenger incidents occurred approximately six times per every 10,000 flights in 2021, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which is twice the amount that was reported in 2020.

While incidents are down from historical highs in early 2021, rates are still “too high,” the FAA says — over 70% of all unruly passenger incidents in 2021 were “mask-related.”

Many passengers who were on trips this week cheered after news broke that masks would no longer be required during flights.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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