August 18 2020  |  Airline & Terminal News

Hawaiian Airlines adopts stricter mask policy

By Jane Hobson

Hawaiian Airlines has announced its 'Keeping You Safe' program for guest and employees by requiring all travelers two years and older to wear a face mask or covering at the airport and during the flight. Masks made with mesh, sheer material or equipped with valves are not allowed. The airline has also initiated a new health screening for those unable to wear a face mask or covering due to a medical condition or disability.

Hawaiian has had a face mask requirement in place since May 8. The airline no longer allows guests with sheer face coverings or masks with valves, including exhaust vents of any kind, to board flights, following a determination by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that they don't effectively block respiratory droplets. A plastic face shield may be worn in addition to a mask, but not in lieu of one.

Additionally, guests unable to wear a face masks or covering due to a medical condition or disability must now undergo a personal medical assessment at the airport to be cleared to board. Guests requesting an exemption should arrive at the airport early as the assessment may take up to one hour, according to the Hawaiian Airlines August 17 press release.

“We are adjusting and reinforcing our layered safety protocols to ensure we’re providing the highest level of comfort and protection for our employees and guests,” said Jeff Helfrick, Vice President of Airport Operations at Hawaiian Airlines. “We appreciate everyone’s understanding and cooperation in keeping Hawaii a safe destination.”

As part of the program, Hawaiian last month added a new step to its check-in process requiring guests to complete a health acknowledgment form indicating they are free of COVID-19 symptoms and will wear a face mask or covering for the entirety of their journey. The health and safety program for guests and employees also features enhanced cleaning measures, including frequent disinfecting of lobby areas, kiosks, and ticket counters, electrostatic aircraft cabin spraying, plexiglass barriers at staffed airport counters, and sanitizer wipe distribution to all guests.

The carrier, which has been operating a reduced schedule since March due to the pandemic and travel restrictions, will continue to cap cabin capacity at 70 percent through September to allow for onboard distancing.

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