Delta Airlines has initiated a new protocol for passengers who are unable to wear face masks for health reasons.
The airline will require a phone consultation with a physician from the company STAT-MD to determine whether the passenger is medically unable to wear a mask or is actually able to fly.
The airline said in a statement on its website that, “We encourage customers who are prevented from wearing a mask due to a health condition to reconsider travel. If they decide to travel, they will be welcome to fly upon completing a virtual consultation prior to departure at the airport.”
The airline also warns that passengers falsely claiming they can’t fly while wearing a mask risk having flying privileges with Delta suspended during the masked travel requirement period.
Delta remains steadfast in allowing passengers an empty middle seat for added security from COVID-19.
Delta’s CEO Ed Bastian told analysts on the airlines’ second quarter earnings conference call that the number one reason customers were choosing Delta was their commitment to blocked middle seats.
Although Bastian said that “everyone appreciates it’s not going to last forever,” the CEO committed to extending the space “beyond September” and hinted that it may last into 2021 as a key part of the airline’s strategy to create a smaller, more cost effective and consumer-friendly airline.
America Airlines unblocked middle seats on July 26, to negative media and political blowback. United Airlines is also selling tickets on middle seats although both airlines say that they will pre-notify flyers if flights are full to give them an option of rescheduling their flights.