Safety from the Ground Up: Federal Face Mask Requirement


Last Updated: 2/1/2021

On the ground and in the air, face masks are a must

As part of our layered Safety from the Ground Up program, JetBlue has implemented a face mask policy that requires all crewmembers and customers 2 years and older maintain a proper face mask (without vents or exhalation valves) during their entire travel journey. Face masks are required inside all airport terminals and the duration of every JetBlue flight.

Beginning February 2, 2021, a federal mandate will be in place requiring all persons 2 years and older wear a mask during flight, including during boarding and deplaning. A federal mandate also requires a mask be worn in all U.S. airports. Any individual who fails to comply with this law may be subject to denied boarding, removal from the aircraft, and/or penalties under federal law. 

Your questions answered

What is a proper face mask? 

The following are attributes of masks needed to fulfill the requirements of the federal mask mandate, they are subject to change and should be confirmed here at the CDC website:

  • A properly worn mask completely covers the nose and mouth.
  • Cloth masks should be made with two or more layers of a breathable fabric that is tightly woven (i.e., fabrics that do not let light pass through when held up to a light source).
  • Mask should be secured to the head with ties, ear loops, or elastic bands that go behind the head. If gaiters are worn, they should have two layers of fabric or be folded to make two layers.
  • Mask should fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face.
  • Mask should be a solid piece of material without slits, exhalation valves, or punctures.

The following attributes are additionally acceptable as long as masks meet the requirements above.

  • Masks can be either manufactured or homemade.
  • Masks can be reusable or disposable.
  • Masks can have inner filter pockets.
  • Clear masks or cloth masks with a clear plastic panel may be used to facilitate communication with people who are hearing impaired or others who need to see a speaker’s mouth to understand speech.
  • Medical masks and N-95 respirators fulfill the requirements of the Order.

The following do not fulfill the requirements of the federal requirements:

  • Masks worn in a way that does not cover both the mouth and nose
  • Face shields or goggles (face shields or goggles may be worn to supplement a mask that meets above required attributes)
  • Scarves, ski masks, balaclavas, or bandanas
  • Shirt or sweater collars (e.g., turtleneck collars) pulled up over the mouth and nose.
  • Masks made from loosely woven fabric or that are knitted, i.e., fabrics that let light pass through
  • Masks made from materials that are hard to breathe through (such as vinyl, plastic or leather)
  • Masks containing slits, exhalation valves, or punctures
  • Masks that do not fit properly (large gaps, too loose or too tight)
  • Additional guidance on the use of masks to slow the spread of COVID-19 is available on CDC’s website.

JetBlue restricts the use of the following recreational items and personal protective equipment on all flights:

  • Personal face/body tents or pods
  • Personal air purifiers/refreshers or ozone generators
  • Masks connected to tubing or battery-operated filters
  • Any device that is prohibited by federal regulation or could put others at risk
  • Plastic face shields may be worn in addition to a face mask but not in place of one

JetBlue empowers crewmembers to determine if a face mask or supplemental device is or appears to be unsafe or does not provide proper protection, in which case customers will be provided a mask and asked to remove and store said item/device. For more information on face masks, visit the resource page provided by the CDC by clicking here.

Can I eat or drink during my flight?

While the federal mandate allows for the lowering of a mask for eating, drinking or the taking of oral medicine, it clearly states that prolonged periods of mask removal are not permitted for eating or drinking; the mask must be worn between bites and sips.

Can I wear a face shield instead of a face mask?

A face shield is not an acceptable substitute for a face mask for travel on JetBlue. You are welcome to wear a face shield in addition to an acceptable face mask, which should fit snugly over your nose and mouth.

I have more questions.

Please give us a ring at 1-800-JETBLUE.