If you thought the old “I’ve got a medical condition” excuse would work, Delta has news for you: you’ll at least need to forge a doctor’s note or sound convincing. Yes, I’m being facetious, but on a serious note, Delta is closing the medical exemption loophole for those who try skirt mask requirements by feigning a disability.
Delta: Requires Doctor’s Waiver To Avoid Wearing A Mask Onboard
Delta requires masks throughout the travel experience in the following places:
- Lobby Check-in
- Delta Sky Clubs
- Boarding Gate Areas
- Jet Bridges
- On board the aircraft for the duration of the flight – except during meal service
Earlier this week, Delta updated its mask policy. It now warns that those who feign medical conditions or other disabilities will be banned from flying Delta until the pandemic is over. It also warns passengers who wish to claim an exemption to the mask policy to arrive early for a special pre-flight screening.
Customers with unique mask requirements should bring the appropriate face covering that best meets their needs. Customers with health conditions or disabilities that explicitly prevent the wearing of a face covering or mask are strongly encouraged to reconsider travel or should be prepared to complete a ‘Clearance-to-Fly’ process prior to departure at the airport. If you require this exemption, please arrive early to complete the process during check-in and avoid missing your flight – this process can take over one hour. Please arrive early to allow additional time. Mask exemptions apply only to travel on flights operated by Delta.
Any false claims of a disability or health condition to obtain an exemption from wearing a mask or face covering may result in the suspension of travel privileges on any Delta flight for the duration of the mask/face covering requirement.
But what is the “clearance-to-fly” process? Per Zach Griff, starting on July 20, 2020, Delta will require those passengers claiming they cannot wear a mask due to health reasons to conduct a virtual screening with a medical professional prior to the flight:
Medical research tells us that wearing a mask is one of the most effective ways to reduce the COVID-19 infection rate. That’s why Delta remains committed to requiring customers and employees to wear a mask or face covering as a consistent layer of protection across all Delta touchpoints. We encourage customers who are prevented from wearing a mask due to a health condition to reconsider travel. If they decide to travel, they will be welcome to fly upon completing a virtual consultation prior to departure at the airport to ensure everyone’s safety, because nothing is more important.
This will not be a video screening, but a phone call. It will be private (not Delta agent listening in) with the medical profession clearing you to fly on the basis of your conversation.
Just as the word of a customer could no longer be blindly accepted when it came to emotional support animals, so too will Delta not just blindly accept “medical” excuses for not wearing masks onboard. Be prepared to back-up your medical exemption assertion or be banned from flying on Delta.