Alaska Airlines in a statement Tuesday (June 30) announced repeated offenders who fail to comply with the airline’s mandatory mask policy will be flagged from future travel starting July 1.

The airlines said in the statement the flight attendants will now issue a warning in the form of a yellow card to the passengers who fail or refuse to wear face masks during their travel. The yellow card indicated the passenger “could be suspended for a period" from any future travel with the airlines.

In the statement, the airlines emphasized, “It’s a decision that would not be made lightly.”

“Overwhelmingly, those who fly with us understand and appreciate the importance of wearing masks and face coverings during this time of COVID-19,” a statement on the airline’s blog said. “We also rely heavily on our guests to do the right thing for the greater good of everyone onboard our flights.

Even though the airlines had issued a notice May 11 requesting the passengers to wear masks or face coverings during travel, flight attendants were not given the authority to hand out warnings until now.

“Our flight crews encounter moments when some travelers disregard or disobey our mask requirement. It creates tension and anxiety for many of our passengers who do have their face coverings on. So, a change is needed,” the blog post read.

The attendants will now be able to use their own judgment in responding to such situations of non-compliance.

“Our flight attendants will approach guests who aren’t wearing a mask to learn more about their circumstances,” Tim Thompson, a spokesman for Alaska Airlines, said in an email to Anchorage Daily News.

Passengers flying with the airline “will be asked during check-in to sign off on a required health agreement to acknowledge and attest to their willingness to adhere to the mask policy,” the blog post read.

“For guests who might forget their own mask, we will have them available upon request. Starting in July, we’ll also provide individual hand-sanitizer wipes on board. ”

“We understand not everyone is able to wear a face-covering when traveling. A few exceptions include children under age 2; anyone with a medical issue that creates trouble breathing; anyone who cannot remove a mask without assistance; or anyone with a disability that prevents wearing a mask. (It’s okay if the mask is temporarily adjusted to eat and drink while in your seat.) ”

The airline stated using a piece of fabric across the nose and mouth is not considered an ideal way to travel. However, “if we all take that small step while flying, we’ll be better off in the long run.”

Alaska Airlines and its regional partners serve more than 115 destinations across the United States and North America.

a maskless Florida man fights his way into a Walmart store despite mandatory mask policy in the Sunshine State
Representative image of a man wearing a face mask. Orna Wachman - Pixabay