< PrevNext > Joanna Geraghty, JetBlue President and COO The First Masker By Dawit Habtemariam / December 10, 2020 / Contact Reporter Share Early in the pandemic, to help reduce virus transmission, carriers mandated their in-flight crew and recommended their passengers wear masks or face coverings. On April 27, though, JetBlue became the first carrier to require all passengers to wear masks or face coverings during check-in, boarding, in flight, in terminals and when deplaning. The carrier based its requirement on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's guidelines and protocols. "In the midst of this unprecedented pandemic, safety took on a new meaning," said JetBlue president and COO Joanna Geraghty.Wearing masks on flights soon became an industry standard. By the end of April, United, Delta and American implemented their own mask requirement policies. "This is the new flying etiquette," said Geraghty. "Onboard, cabin air is well-circulated and cleaned through filters every few minutes, but this is a shared space where we have to be considerate of others." By June, all major U.S. carriers agreed to step up enforcement of passenger facial covering requirements on flights. Many refused to allow passengers on their planes without face coverings or mandated they wear their face coverings throughout the flight. In August, JetBlue, for example, began a no-exemption policy, under which passengers not wearing facial coverings would not be allowed to board, and those who refused would be "reviewed for future travel," according to JetBlue.The mask requirement has been essential to reassuring business travelers, as well as corporate travel managers, who've been keeping a closer eye on airline hygiene protocols. "The response has been very positive from the corporate travel community. Our corporate partners have shared that they appreciated JetBlue's early action to require masks and lead the industry," said Geraghty.In the fall, the International Air Transport Association, Harvard University and the U.S. Department of Defense published studies on the risk of inflight Covid-19 transmission. All found wearing masks throughout flights to be essential to reducing the risk of transmission. Whether JetBlue will modify its mask requirement will depend on the ongoing public health situation. "So much will depend on the rate at which vaccines are made available to the public, the transmission rates of cases, and case counts," Geraghty said. The carrier is currently trialing CommonPass, a digital pass will enable travelers to use their mobile phone to show their Covid-19 test status.