Delta Air Lines has now banned 500 passengers who would not wear a mask

Delta posts $5.4 billion 3Q loss as pandemic hammers travel

ATLANTA — Not wearing a mask? Don’t expect to fly Delta. Delta Air Lines has now banned 500 passengers from travelling because they would not wear a mask on flights.

Delta CEO Ed Bastian revealed the number in an internal memo to employees obtained Friday by Channel 2 Action News.

“Wearing a mask is among the simplest and most effective actions we can take to reduce transmission, which is why Delta has long required them for our customers and our people. As of this week, we’ve added 460 people to our no-fly list for refusing to comply with our mask requirement,” Bastian said.

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The number of banned passengers has climbed steadily in October. The Atlanta-based airline reported in late September they had banned 350 passengers.

“While we work for the betterment of our communities worldwide, I want to thank everyone for your continued vigilance and dedication to the safety of our people and our customers," Bastian wrote.

A number of airlines in addition to Delta Air Lines are banning passengers who don’t wear masks. Those include American Airlines and United Airlines.

Southwest and Delta are among a handful of airlines still limiting capacity to reassure passengers who are nervous about packed planes during a pandemic.

Southwest said it will drop that policy because of “science-based findings from trusted medical and aviation organizations” about how COVID-19 is spread.

Airline groups and aircraft manufacturers, relying in part on research by the military, say that strong cabin air flow and high-efficiency filters make planes safer than other indoor settings.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Delta has banned 350 people from flying for refusal to wear masks