MIAMI – The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the passenger experience on board flights in so many ways, and as a cherry on top, there could always be the unfortunate but rare occasion someone decides they don’t want to or don’t have to play by the rules.

This was the case for 550 people over the course of the pandemic on Delta Air Lines (DL), which added these people to their no-fly list for not complying with the airport and airline policy that obliges one to keep one’s mask or facial covering on during all stages of the travel experience.

Delta has been widely considered the US airline handling the pandemic the best, mandating masks in April, being the first to block middle seats, and cutting down on snacks and refreshments. However, the airline reports the highest volume of no-fly list additions.

The 550 total means 90 people have been added in this month alone, with 460 being the total DL reported last month, and November is not even halfway over.

A Delta A321 in the Thank You Employees livery departing Portland. Photo: Nick Shreeder, Instagram @ns.avgeek

Delta CEO Ed Bastian said in a memo “Fortunately [the 550 people] represents a tiny fraction of our overall customers, the vast majority of whom follow our guidelines and appreciate the steps we are taking to keep them safe and healthy.”

Delta employees are being diligent when it comes to enforcing mask rules, and doing what needs to be done when passengers just won’t comply. United Airlines (UA) has also reported a total of 350 passengers added to its no-fly list over the course of the pandemic.

With the holiday rush right around the corner and COVID-19 cases surging in the US, masks are going to be as important as ever over the next couple of months, and one can only predict that will mean a lot more names could be added to the infamous list that these “anti-maskers” end up on.

A Delta 737-900 departing JFK. Photo: Kochan Kleps

Featured image: Luca Flores