WestJet will ban passengers who refuse to wear masks on board their aircraft for up to a year under a new zero tolerance policy announced Friday. Wearing a mask is mandatory for anyone older than two years on all airline flights under Transport Canada regulations but some passengers are resistant. Under WestJet’s toughened policy, those passengers will get one warning before being kicked off the plane. If necessary, the flight will turn around or go back to the gate if it’s already under way. The airline has also agreed to cooperate with the federal government on some new initiatives starting next week.
WestJet will be taking the names and phone numbers of passengers at check in to help with contact tracing if an infected person is found to be on the flight. All airlines were supplying passenger manifests for contact tracing but the manifests didn’t include convenient contact information for all passengers. WestJet and Air Canada will also conduct trials of testing passengers for COVID-19 at the airport. The testing is part of a broader program to calm fears about COVID transmission on airplanes and boost consumer confidence.