Passengers are seen wearing protective masks and gloves at Miami International Airport in Miami, Florida, United States on March 29, 2020.

Eva Marie Uzcategui | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Delta Air Lines on Thursday became the latest airline to require travelers wear masks on board their planes as carriers take steps to try to protect the health of passengers and crew.

Delta’s policy requires travelers to wear a mask or other face covering in the check-in area, premium lounges, boarding gate areas and on board for the whole flight, except during meals. The airline is also urging travelers to wear them on security lines and in restrooms. The policy takes effect May. 4.

Frontier Airlines issued a similar requirement that goes into effect May 8.

JetBlue Airways earlier this week became the first major U.S. airline to mandate masks for travelers. Frontier Airlines took a similar step Thursday.

“We want our passengers to feel comfortable when flying with us by protecting themselves and their fellow travelers as we all navigate the Covid-19 pandemic,” Barry Biffle, Frontier’s CEO said in a release. “This new measure is aligned with CDC recommendations and those of many municipalities within the U.S. that include wearing a face covering when out in public.”

Airlines such as American, Delta, United and JetBlue are requiring that flight attendants wear masks and have said they will make masks available for travelers. American said it also plans to distribute sanitizing wipes for travelers starting next month.

Airlines are grappling with health precautions on board in the coronavirus era and labor unions have urged federal regulators for more stringent requirements. The U.S. government has recommended that air travelers wear face masks but hasn’t required them. In addition to implementing the new face covering requirements for passengers and crew members, airlines stepping up cleaning and disinfection of cabins.

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