A Delta airlines plane was forced to return to the gate ahead of takeoff after two passengers refused to wear masks on the flight. According to ABC affiliate WXYZ out of Michigan, a spokesperson for Delta said that the flight from Detroit to Atlanta was delayed due to the travelers who "were non-compliant with crew instructions." The flight eventually took off, but it was not made clear if the two passengers were removed from the plane or if they ultimately complied.
On the company's website, Delta lays out its mask policy explaining, "Delta customers and employees are required to wear a face mask, or appropriate cloth face covering over their nose and mouth throughout their travel, aligning with best practice guidelines from the CDC, opens in a new window. Plastic face shields may be used in addition to a mask but are not approved mask replacements. Any mask with an exhaust valve is not approved as an acceptable face mask for customers traveling on any Delta operated flight." The company adds that "face coverings will be required across all Delta touchpoints," including lobby check-in, boarding gate areas, jet bridges and Delta Sky Clubs.
Delta notes that while face masks must be worn "on board the aircraft for the duration of the flight," they do make an exception "during meal service." The company goes on to sat that face mask "usage is strongly encouraged in high-traffic areas, including security lines and restrooms. Customers with unique mask requirements should bring the appropriate face covering that best meets their needs."
The airline also addresses the potentiality of "customers with health conditions or disabilities that explicitly prevent the wearing of a face covering or mask." Delta strongly encourages these individuals "to reconsider travel," and states that they "should be prepared to complete a Clearance-to-Fly process prior to departure at the airport." Delta adds, "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."
Finally, Delta states, "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." The company adds, "We appreciate your understanding, and please know that your safety, and that of our crew, continues to guide our decisions around crafting the right experience based on the current environment."