Air­line re­minds Sen. Cruz about face mask rule

USA TODAY US Edition - - NEWS - Dawn Gilbertson

Add Sen. Ted Cruz to the list of air­line pas­sen­gers shamed for not wear­ing a mask on a flight.

The Texas Repub­li­can was spotted with­out a face cov­er­ing on a flight Sun­day, ac­cord­ing to a post on Twit­ter. In a photo of Cruz, hold­ing a cup of cof­fee in a first-class seat on a re­gional jet op­er­ated by an Amer­i­can Air­lines part­ner, a mask is not vis­i­ble.

The photo was posted by Hosseh Enad, a mar­ket­ing com­pli­ance as­so­ciate at the Demo­cratic Con­gres­sional Cam­paign Com­mit­tee. He said in a sub­se­quent tweet that he’d got­ten it from an ac­quain­tance. He also posted pho­tos of an un­masked Cruz sit­ting in the gate area be­fore the flight.

Cruz spokesper­son Lau­ren Aron­son said the sen­a­tor wears a mask when trav­el­ing and prac­tices so­cial dis­tanc­ing where pos­si­ble.

“Con­sis­tent with air­line pol­icy, he tem­po­rar­ily re­moves the mask while eat­ing or drink­ing,” she said in a state­ment. “Yes­ter­day, dur­ing his flight he re­moved his mask to drink and put it back on af­ter­ward. We should all prac­tice com­mon sense mea­sures to slow the spread of the virus.”

Amer­i­can Air­lines spokesman Ross Fe­in­stein said in a state­ment early Mon­day, “We are com­mit­ted to pro­tect­ing the health and safety of all those who fly with us, and we are re­view­ing the de­tails of this mat­ter.”

Late Mon­day, in the wake of calls on Twit­ter to #banTed and #banTedCruz from fly­ing on Amer­i­can, Fe­in­stein said, “As we do in all in­stances like these, we re­viewed the de­tails of the mat­ter, and while our pol­icy does not ap­ply while eat­ing or drink­ing, we have reached out to Sen. Cruz to af­firm the im­por­tance of this pol­icy as part of our com­mit­ment to pro­tect­ing the health and safety of the trav­el­ing pub­lic.”

In June, Amer­i­can banned a pas­sen­ger from fu­ture flights for re­fus­ing to wear a mask. United said it would re­voke travel priv­i­leges of mask­less trav­el­ers.

All U.S. air­lines re­quire pas­sen­gers to wear masks dur­ing flight ex­cept when eat­ing or drink­ing, but there is no fed­eral man­date that air­line crew mem­bers can cite when try­ing to en­force it. Air­line ex­ec­u­tives, unions and con­sumer ad­vo­cates urge the U.S. Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion to man­date mask use on planes and at air­ports.

Last week, the spokesman for the Al­lied Pilots As­so­ci­a­tion, which rep­re­sents Amer­i­can Air­lines pilots, ex­pressed con­cern about the “cre­ative ways” pas­sen­gers find to keep their masks off.

ALEX WONG/GETTY IM­AGES

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, wears a mask at the U.S. Capi­tol on May 7. Cruz was pho­tographed with­out a mask on a plane.

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