Mask off on board? Prepare for a swift eject and ban from WestJet flights

WestJet is taking penalties for non-maskers up a notch. Effective immediately, passengers on WestJet flights who consistently refuse to wear a mask will be removed from board. In addition, they could be placed on a year-long no-fly list.

“If the plane has not left the … [ground] and somebody refused to wear a mask, we will return to the gate,” WestJet president and CEO Ed Sims said in an interview with the CBC. “I have an obligation and a duty of care to our staff. I also have an obligation to every other guest. So my focus is on the 99 per cent of guests who continue to wear masks.”

If passengers refuse to wear a mask, they will first be asked to put one on by cabin crew. If they continue to be difficult, they will be given an official warning that mask compliance is necessary.

The next step is banning them from flights for a year.

“We will let those guests who are in wilful non-compliance know that they will be suspended from flying,” said Sims.

Masks on planes are particularly important on planes since it is difficult to enforce social distancing measures. WestJet says it has had 30 cases to date in which passengers refusing to comply with federal masking rules on flights.