Reader question

“On a recent round-trip in July, I was told by an American Airlines flight attendant that a face shield was considered a ‘face covering’ and would be adequate in lieu of a mask, but another flight attendant on the way home told me I had to use a mask, not a shield. I’ve left three messages with the airline, but no one has answered my question. Can you tell me if a shield can be used in lieu of a mask?” — Dru P.

My reply

Thanks, Dru, for the question. I’m 99.9% sure all passengers have to wear a mask whether they’re wearing a face shield or not. But I will contact American Airlines for you to confirm.

American Airlines’ response:
I contacted American via Twitter and their social media team was as quick as usual. In just a few minutes they came back and said:

“A face shield can be worn but with a face-covering too. The nose and mouth must also be covered underneath the face shield.”

As I suspected, a face shield doesn’t replace a face mask. Not only has American Airlines has cracked down, but so have all major U.S. airlines, major hotel chains, Disney World, McDonald’s and even southeastern grocery store Winn-Dixie, which flipped their stance once Donald Trump tweeted that it’s patriotic to wear a face mask. Expect others to follow suit if they haven’t already.

12 Comments On "Can You Wear a Face Shield Instead of a Mask on a Plane?"
  1. Brian Jonas|

    The Swiss government is warning about using only a face shield.

    “After a coronavirus outbreak where only those wearing plastic visors were infected, the Swiss government has said plastic shields are inadequate protection and should only be worn in combination with a face mask.”

    Link to article:

  2. Judy|

    I confirmed the same thing on Alaska Airlines. A shield can be worn, but a mask must still be worn underneath it.

  3. Anonymous|

    What about mental trauma such as PTSD, anxiety, claustrophobia, or mental health and wellness such as those with downs, autism, etc?

    What about the first amendment? What if your religion forbids it?

    What about my rights in terms of someone assaulting me or committing a violent crime and my not being able to ID them?

    What about health issues and ADA?

  4. Alexander|

    If I have breathing problem when wearing mask? Do I have to use CPAP machine in plane to breath? What is your policy in my case?

  5. alan towler|

    Simply don’t get on a plane!

  6. Jessica|

    Some people for non BS medical reasons need to wear a shield rather than a mask. As one, the situation is holy hell (I need to travel for specialty medical care). I would be more sympathetic to the airline’s stance were there not an element of protection theater in the policy, evident in that the airlines allow people to remove their masks entirely for an inflight snack.

  7. Deanna|

    Stay home until there’s a vaccine.

  8. Corey|

    there is NO one solution fits all. What I find troubling is the ignoring of social distancing by mask wearers. and the constant touching of the mask that directly covers the nose and mouth . effectively leaving germs behind on the mask to be chronically inhaled through the fabric due to lack of ability to filter virus.

    people still need to live, staying home indefinitely is NOT an option. What we need to do is change our actions no more walking direct lines to get from point a to point b while shopping for example. in order to maintain social distancing.

    I bet you the ones that social distance without mask did not get sick. but we will never know because they failed to mention it one way or other. because they are pushing for only one solution to solve the problem that does not work for everybody.

    Wait your turn so as NOT to crowd someone else’s space. another example.

    I am person with disabilities so I am use to changing how I do things to cope with health complications. It is NOT hard to social distance even in moderate density groups. It just requires conscientious effort to respect other people space.

  9. Diana|

    I work for an airline as a ticket agent/ gate agent & have worn only a face shield since march, since I have asthma. Im required to pass through TSA several times a day and recently got stopped and told by TSA that I have to wear a mask with shield. I am not onboard the plane, & when I wore the mask in the beginning, I had coughing fits so severe I had to take mask off. I have a note from my doctor, but this one TSA agent has literally chased after me demanding I wear a mask through security. Doesnt asthma fall under the ADA act?

  10. fred|

    Hey Diana, piss off!

  11. Damien|

    Wow Fred your an A hole! She has point and you should go piss off!

  12. Allison Culbertson|

    so why did people make a face shield and advertise if it’s not accepted is my question. For pete’s sakes.

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