CALGARY — WestJet is implementing a strict new policy to ensure passengers wear a mask on its flights including the possibility of being denied travel for a year if they refuse.
The airline is also requiring the input of all guests’ contact information at online and kiosk check-in to help with contact tracing in the case of infected individuals on board a flight.
The WestJet Group includes WestJet, WestJet Encore, WestJet Link and Swoop.
Passengers have been required to wear a mask during travel since April to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The airline said starting Sept. 1 that refusal to wear a mask on board one of its flights by passengers over the age of two will be managed through a three-step process. Passengers will first be asked to put a mask on in a discussion with cabin crew and then given a warning that masks are required and compliance is necessary.
NEW – WestJet announces a “Zero-tolerance mask policy” Those who refuse to wear a face covering may be banned from WestJet flights for up to one year. It also says offenders will be denied boarding & the aircraft will return to the gate to offload non-mask wearers. pic.twitter.com/UBjriPGAc6
— Richard Southern (@richard680news) August 28, 2020
“Canadian travellers and all of our WestJet Group employees are counting on us to keep them safe and it is our utmost priority to do so,” said President and CEO Ed Sims.
“Masks are mandated by our regulator and the vast majority of our guests are happy to keep themselves and each other safe by complying. This enhanced policy provides clarity on how we will enforce the regulation for those who don’t. Travellers must understand if they choose to not wear a mask, they are choosing not to fly our airlines.”
If passengers continue to refuse, WestJet said it will result in follow up notification that they will be placed on a no-fly list for travel on any WestJet Group aircraft for 12 months.
WestJet Group chief executive Ed Sims says the vast majority of passengers are happy to keep themselves and each other safe by complying.
“This enhanced policy provides clarity on how we will enforce the regulation for those who don’t. Travellers must understand if they choose to not wear a mask, they are choosing not to fly our airlines,” Sims said.
The Canadian Press