Flying this summer? Here are the mask guidelines to follow for the 7 largest airlines out of DIA

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DENVER — Many people across the U.S. are beginning to travel now that they’ve been fully vaccinated and with kids ages 12 and up now able to get the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, plans for vacationing outside of your home state are no doubt taking place.

Naturally, many people will wonder what type of restrictions they’ll have to follow at airports across the nation as well as overseas, and if masks will still need to be worn despite being fully vaccinated. Short answer: Yes, there are still restrictions in place and even if you’re fully vaccinated, you’ll still be required to wear a mask at airports, during your flight and when you get to your destination.

To avoid any penalties – the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said Monday it had received 1,300 complaints from airlines about disruptive passengers, some of whom refused to wear masks – we’ve compiled some of the most important safety guidelines and policies from the seven largest airlines flying out of Denver International Airport. Please make sure to check the respective links at the bottom of each one to see the latest updates.

Alaska Airlines

The use of face masks is required at all times during travel, including throughout the flight, during boarding and departing, and while traveling through the airport.

Please note: Alaska Airlines says refusing to wear a mask is a violation of federal law and may result in denial of boarding, removal from the aircraft, and/or penalties under federal law.

“While guests are allowed to temporarily remove their masks when briefly drinking or eating or when taking medication, masks must otherwise be worn at all times, including between sips of beverages or bites of food,” the airline also states on its website.

Masks that have slits, exhalation valves or punctures; scarves, ski masks, balaclavas, or bandanas are prohibited. Masks that are made from loosely woven fabric or that are knitted (letting light pass through) are also forbidden.

Exemptions for mask wearing will require documentation from a licensed health care provider as to your inability to wear a mask due to your disability; and proof of a negative test result from an FDA approved molecular NAAT or PCR COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of your scheduled flight departure.

For flights to and from the United States:

  • All passengers aged 2 or older must have one of the following: Paper or digital proof of a negative COVID-19 viral test (PCR, RT-LAMP, NAT, or antigen) that states the test type and is taken within 3 days of departure. Self-administered tests (with proctoring) that meet CDC criteria will be accepted; Confirmation of a previous positive test taken within the last 90 days and accompanied with a letter from a licensed health care provider or public health official stating you have fully recovered and been cleared for travel.
  • You will be required to confirm your health documentation meets the U.S. requirement before departure. Name and date of birth must match documents presented at check-in.
  • You’ll be able to briefly lower or remove your face covering if you’re eating, or taking oral medications, but it must be worn between bites and sips.

For more information about safety guidelines from Alaska Airlines, click here.

American Airlines

Face masks are mandatory from the time you enter the airport where your trip begins, on board your flight, and until you leave the airport where your trip ends, American Airlines states on its website.

The rules for masks, however, do not apply to children under the age of 2, or if you have a disability that prevents you from wearing a face covering and are able to meet the exemption requirements.

Balaclavas, bandanas, face coverings with exhaust valves or vents, face coverings made of mesh or lace-type fabric, gaiters, scarves, and ski masks are not acceptable.

For flights to and from the United States:

  • All passengers aged 2 or older must show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken with 3 days of departure, or documentation of recovery.
  • If you cannot show proof or a negative test or documentation of recovery, you won’t be able to fly with American Airlines.
  • You must complete an attestation form, which can also be completed in the VeriFly app.
  • Your mask or face covering must be worn and visible at all times, including if you plan to sleep.
  • You’ll be able to briefly lower or remove your face covering if you’re eating, or taking oral medications, but it must be worn between bites and sips.

If you can’t wear a mask, you’re asked to contact American Airlines’ Special Assistance team at least 72 hours prior to departure to request an exemption from the requirement. You’ll be required to show documentation from a licensed health care provider, as well as proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within three calendar days of departure or proof of recovery from COVID-19.

For more information about safety guidelines for American Airlines, click here.

Delta Airlines

Masks or face coverings are required “from curb to claim” throughout the airport, including the lobby check-in, Delta Sky Clubs, boarding gate areas, jet bridges and on board the aircraft for the duration of the flight, the airline says on its website.

Disposable surgical or medical masks, cloth masks with tightly woven fabric (2 or 3 ply masks recommended), valve-free respirators (N95 or KN95), fabric masks with a clear plastic window, gaiters with two layers and face shields worn with a mask are acceptable masks at Delta.

Any mask with an exhaust valve, masks with slits, punctures or holes, bandanas, scarves, ski masks and balaclavas are not allowed.

Passengers with a disability who cannot wear a mask for reasons related to their individual disability are strongly encouraged to reconsider travel or should be prepared to complete a ‘Clearance-to-Fly’ process prior to departure at the airport, the airline says. If you require this exemption, you are asked to please arrive early to complete the process during check-in to avoid missing your flight, as the process can take over one hour.

For flights to and from the United States:

  • All travelers aged 2 or older must show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken with 3 days of departure and sign an attestation form confirming a negative result.
  • Passengers without their negative COVID-19 test results and signed attestation form will be denied boarding at Delta.
  • Passengers who have recovered from COVID-19 can travel with a positive test (taken within the past 90 days before travel) and a letter from a licensed health provider or public health official stating that the customer has been cleared for travel.
  • Your must wear your mask or face covering at all times, except while eating, drinking, or taking oral medications for brief periods. Prolonged periods of mask removal are not permitted for eating or drinking – masks must be worn between bites and sips.

For more safety guidelines and how to prepare before your flight with Delta, click here.

Frontier Airlines

Face masks are required for all passengers aged 2 or older including at ticket counters, gate areas, baggage claim and onboard all flights.

Open-chin triangle bandanas, face coverings containing vents, valves or mesh material, and face shields are not acceptable as face coverings, Frontier Airlines states on its website.

Failing to wear a face mask could result in future privileges with Frontier Airlines.

Passengers with a disability who cannot wear a mask, or cannot safely wear a mask, because of that disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act can apply for a face mask exemption. That exemption, Frontier says, is not meant to cover people “for whom mask-wearing may only be difficult.”

For flights to and from the United States:

  • You’ll have your temperature screened by a touch-less thermometer prior to boarding. Anyone with a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher will not be allowed to fly.
  • You’ll be required to wear a face mask or covering throughout your journey with Frontier, including at ticket counters, gate areas, and onboard our aircraft.
  • You must meet the following criteria: Neither you, nor anyone in your household or that you have come in close contact with, has tested positive for, exhibited symptoms of, or been advised to quarantine for COVID-19 within the last 14 days.
  • You’ll be asked to wash/sanitize your hands before boarding your flight. Frontier recommends that you bring your own gloves, hand sanitizer and cleaning wipes before you check-in.
  • Your must wear your mask or face covering at all times, except while eating, drinking, or taking oral medications for brief periods. Prolonged periods of mask removal are not permitted for eating or drinking – masks must be worn between bites and sips.

For more information about traveling through Frontier Airlines, click here.

Spirit Airlines

Face masks are required for all passengers 2 and older including at the airport, on the jet bridge and onboard the aircraft.

Just like Frontier, open-chin triangle bandanas, face coverings containing vents, valves or mesh material, and face shields are not acceptable as face coverings/masks.

Spirit Airlines says there may be limited exceptions with passengers who have a disability and who meet the criteria. You’ll have to check with Spirit Airlines to see if you could be exempt from wearing a mask.

For flights to and from the United States:

  • Passengers 2 years of age or older must provide a negative COVID-19 test that has been taken within three days before you flight.
  • The test result can be in written or electronic form and must include information that identifies the person, a specimen collection date and the type of test.
  • Passengers who have received the COVID-19 vaccine or tested positive for antibodies must still provide a negative viral test result as described above.
  • If you have recovered from COVID-19 within the last 90 days from your date of travel and have met requirements to end your quarantine, you are NOT required to provide a negative test. However, you must provide documentation of your positive viral test result AND a letter from your healthcare provider or a public health official on official letterhead stating that you have been approved to travel.
  • Your must wear your mask or face covering at all times, except while eating, drinking, or taking oral medications for brief periods. Prolonged periods of mask removal are not permitted for eating or drinking – masks must be worn between bites and sips.

For more detailed information regarding the airline’s policies and guidelines, click here.

Southwest Airlines

Face masks are required for all passengers aged 2 or older including at ticket counters, gate areas, baggage claim and onboard all flights.

Masks not made of a solid piece of material, including those made of mesh or lace fabrics or with slits, exhalation valves or punctures; bandanas, scarves, ski masks, or balaclavas; shirt or sweater collars pulled over the mouth and nose and masks made from loosely woven fabrics are not permitted.

Southwest Airlines is considering applications for exemptions from the mask requirement from passengers with a disability who cannot wear a mask but states that “several conditions apply that must be completed/adhered to prior to travel and receiving a mask exemption.”

For flights to and from the United States:

  • Passengers 2 years of age or older must provide a negative COVID-19 test that has been taken within three days before you flight.- TSA is making a medical exception for hand sanitizer and will allow each passenger to pack up to 12 oz. in a carry-on bag, but those Passengers will need to be screened separately.
  • You are asked to check your temperature and confirm that you do not have a fever, and are asked to not fly if you have a fever.
  • You are encouraged to arrive earlier than usual to allow for new check-in and security measures.
  • Your must wear your mask or face covering at all times, except while eating, drinking, or taking oral medications for brief periods. Prolonged periods of mask removal are not permitted for eating or drinking – masks must be worn between bites and sips.

For more information on Southwest’s policies and health guidelines, click here.

United Airlines

Face masks/coverings are required for all passengers 2 years or older while at the airport, at the gate, during the flight and even after departing the plane.

Bandanas, face coverings containing vents, valves or mesh material, and face shields are not acceptable as face coverings.

Passengers with a disability are exempt from wearing a mask but they must show a negative COVID-19 PCR test prior to boarding.

For flights to and from the United States:

  • Passengers 2 years of age or older must provide a negative COVID-19 test that has been taken within three days before you flight.
  • Passengers must have not received a positive test result for COVID-19 in the last 14 days.
  • Passengers must not be currently awaiting results for a COVID-19 test taken due to exposure, having symptoms or to satisfy a travel entry requirement.
  • Travelers who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are still required to comply with the mask and health requirements.
  • If you do not meet these requirements, you are asked to reschedule your trip.
  • Your must wear your mask or face covering at all times, except while eating, drinking, or taking oral medications for brief periods. Prolonged periods of mask removal are not permitted for eating or drinking – masks must be worn between bites and sips.

For a full list of safety guidelines and policies, click here.

The CDC says fully vaccinated people do not need to get tested before or after travel for domestic flights, unless their destination requires it, and fully vaccinated people do not need to self-quarantine. For those who are not vaccinated or not fully vaccinated, please check the current guidelines from the CDC here.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said at the end of last month it would extend its face mask requirement at airports “and throughout the transportation network” through Sept. 13 of this year. It was originally set to expire on May 11.