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Airlines have tightened mask policies, again. Here's what you need to know

Airlines are tightening face mask rules three months after making masks mandatory onboard.

Most major airlines have eliminated medical exemptions to the rule, and several are cracking down on the types of face coverings allowed. Passengers who refuse to wear masks will generally be denied boarding and might be prohibited from flying the airline again. Delta said it's banned about 130 passengers to date, and Alaska says it will cancel any connecting flights or return flights for travelers who refuse to wear a mask in flight.

All airlines are insisting passengers wear a mask as soon as they step into the airport and to keep it on throughout the travel journey, except to briefly remove to drink or eat.

The goals: to further thwart the spread of the coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19, and to help convince travelers that it's safe to fly.

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 “We all need to look out for each other during this health emergency, and the best way we can do that – and prevent the spread of the virus – is to simply wear a mask or face covering when we’re around each other,” Max Tidwell, Alaska Airlines’ vice president of safety and security, said in a statement Wednesday.. "Our tougher policy shows how important this issue is to us and our guests. If you don’t wear a mask, you won’t be flying with us.”

An airline-by-airline roundup of face mask rules

Alaska Airlines

Who must wear: Passengers ages 2 and older.

Medical exemptions: No.

Prohibited face coverings: Masks with direct exhaust valves, face shields without masks underneath and face coverings that don't cover a passenger's nose and mouth.

Details: Alaska website

Allegiant Air

Who must wear: All passengers ages 2 and older. 

Medical exemptions: Passengers with medical conditions that prevent the use of a face covering must present documentation from a medical doctor to the gate agent one hour prior to departure.

Prohibited face coverings: None.

Details:Allegiant website

American Airlines

Who must wear: All passengers ages 2 and older. 

Medical exemptions: No.

Prohibited face coverings: Any masks with exhaust valves or vents; masks made with mesh or lace; and face coverings that don't cover the nose and mouth. Face shields must be worn with a mask or other face covering underneath. 

Details: American website

Delta Air Lines

Who must wear: Passengers ages 2 and older. Young children who cannot maintain a face covering and unaccompanied minors are exempt.

Medical exemptions: Passengers with an underlying medical condition that prevents them from wearing a mask must complete a "clearance to fly'' process including a medical consultation over the phone with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center at the airport, a process it says takes an hour before the flight. The airline notes that it's encouraging those who can't wear masks to "reconsider flying'' during the pandemic.

Prohibited face coverings: Any mask with an exhaust valve. Plastic face shields must be worn with an approved face covering.

Details:Delta website

Frontier Airlines

Who must wear: Passengers ages 2 and older.

Medical exemptions: None.

Prohibited face coverings: Open-chin triangle bandannas; face coverings with vents, valves or mesh; and face shields without masks underneath. Face coverings must fit snugly over your nose and mouth and be secured under the chin. 

Details:Frontier website

Hawaiian Airlines

Who must wear: All passengers ages 2 and older.

Medical exemptions: Beginning Aug. 17, passengers requesting a medical exemption will go through a remote medical assessment at the airport to determine whether they are fit to fly and are free of COVID-19 symptoms. Those who do not pass, or who falsely claim to have a medical condition or disability, will not be allowed to fly.

Prohibited face coverings: Masks with valves or vents.

Details: Hawaiian website 

JetBlue Airways

Who must wear: All travelers ages 2 and older.

Medical exemptions: None.

Prohibited face coverings: Masks with vents or exhalation valves are not permitted. Plastic face shields may be worn in addition to a face covering but not in place of one. 

Details:JetBlue website

Southwest Airlines

Who must wear: All passengers ages 2 and older.

Medical exemptions: None. 

Prohibited face masks: Face coverings with holes, including exhaust valves; face coverings made solely of mesh or lace; bandannas and other face coverings that cannot be secured under the chin; face shields without a face covering underneath. Neck gaiters are allowed if they cover the nose and mouth and are secured under the chin.

Details: Southwest website

Spirit Airlines

Who must wear: All passengers ages 2 and older. 

Medical exemptions: None.

Prohibited face masks: Open-chin triangle bandannas, face coverings containing valves or mesh material, and face shields worn alone. All face coverings must fit snugly over the nose and mouth and be secure under the chin and have at least two layers of fabric.

Details: Spirit website

Sun Country Airlines

Who must wear: Passengers ages 6 and older, but all passengers are encouraged to wear them.

Medical exemptions: Passengers with a medical condition are permitted to wear a face shield, no mask required underneath.

Prohibited face coverings: None. 

Details:Sun Country website

United Airlines

Who must wear: Passengers ages 2 and older.

Medical exemptions: None.

Prohibited face coverings: The face mask or covering may not have any vents or openings. A face shield alone does not count as a face covering.

Details:United website