Russian airline designates aircraft seats for passengers who refuse to put on masks

(CNN) – The Russian airline Aeroflot has announced that it will designate certain seats on board its planes for passengers who refuse to wear masks.

“It is vital for us to ensure the safety of all passengers,” said Yulia Spivakova, an airline spokeswoman, in a statement.

Aeroflot, Russia’s largest airline and national carrier, has a policy that travelers must wear masks when boarding and on the plane unless they eat, drink or change masks.

However, it appears that some passengers are not following these guidelines. And because an aircraft cannot simply stop in the air and kick out an offending passenger, Aeroflot has allocated specific seats on each flight for travelers who cannot or do not want to follow mask guidelines.

“”[This] does not exclude the application of other liability measures for violations of the rules for the use of personal protective equipment on board, “added Spivakova.

The guidelines for wearing masks on airplanes vary worldwide, and individual airlines often set their own rules. Much of the burden of enforcing these policies is placed on flight attendants.

Russia isn’t the only country where mask regulations on board aircraft have become an issue.

In the United States, several high profile incidents occurred on flights in which passengers refused to wear masks. In July 2020, a Southwest Airlines flight returned to the gate of Denver International Airport when a dispute ensued between several passengers, one of whom claimed it was their “constitutional right” not to wear one. By August of this year, Delta Air Lines announced that it had issued nearly 250 life-long bans on travelers who refused to mask themselves.

Aeroflot has not announced whether it will introduce long-term bans or other penalties for passengers who refuse to keep their masks throughout the flight. However, isolating a specific section of the aircraft can somewhat reduce the likelihood that an unmasked traveler would pass the coronavirus on to one of his seatmates.

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