IATA mandates all travelers wear face covering during their travel journey or face penalties

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has announced all travelers should wear face covering during the travel journey for the safety of all passengers and crew during COVID-19, the association said.

Wearing face coverings is a key recommendation of the International Civil Aviation Organization´s (ICAO) guidance for safe operations during the pandemic, as developed jointly with the World Health Organization and governments.

IATA is emphasizing the need for passengers to comply with the recommendation following recent reports of travelers refusing to wear a face covering during a flight. While this is confined to a very small number of individuals, some on-board incidents have become violent, resulting in costly and extremely inconvenient diversions to offload these passengers.

A plane ticket is a contract under which the passenger agrees to the airline´s terms and Conditions of Carriage. Those conditions can include the airline´s right to refuse carriage to a person whose behavior interferes with a flight, violates government regulations or causes other passengers to feel unsafe. Airlines also highlight the need to wear a face covering during the booking process, at check-in, at the gate and in onboard announcements.

Failure to comply means that a passenger faces the risk of being offloaded from their flight, restrictions on future carriage or penalties under national laws.

IATA represents 290 airlines comprising 82% of global air traffic.