American Airlines is banning certain types of masks from its flights following updated recommendations from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The changes will affect any face masks featuring an exhaust valve or vents and will take effect from 19 August.
In a statement, the airline said: “The CDC notes that face coverings with one-way valves or vents allow exhaled air to be expelled through holes in the material. These can allow exhaled respiratory droplets to reach others and potentially spread the coronavirus (Covid-19).”
To comply with the updated rules, passengers must wear “a well-secured cloth or mask that fits snugly against the face and covers an individual’s nose and mouth”.
The face covering must also be “made of a material that prevents the discharge and release of respiratory droplets from a person’s nose or mouth”.
Face coverings featuring exhaust valves, that are made with materials such as mesh or lace fabrics, or that do not cover the nose and mouth are currently banned from flights.
Passengers wearing face shields must also wear a face covering that complies with American Airlines’ specifications.
At the moment, American Airlines’ face mask rules apply to all passengers over the age of two. Travellers can only take off face coverings on board flights while eating and drinking.
The airline said that those without an approved mask will be provided with one at the airport. However, anyone who refuses to comply with the mask rules will be denied boarding and banned from future flights while the policy is in place.
American Airlines isn’t the only carrier to have banned face masks with exhaust valves from its flights.
Delta Air Lines banned face masks with a valve last month.
The only people who are exempt from wearing a mask on Delta services are those with a relevant medical condition, something that must be established prior to the flight during a pre-boarding process that can take up to an hour.