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United Airlines CEO says most customers eligible for a refund if they are uncomfortable flying without masks
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United Airlines CEO says most customers eligible for a refund if they are uncomfortable flying without masks

United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby has announced that most airline customers who aren't comfortable flying without masks are eligible to receive refunds.

Earlier this week, the Transportation Security Administration stopped enforcing the mandate after a federal judge struck down the rule.

The U.S. Department of Justice appealed the decision on Wednesday.

What are the details?

Kirby told "Today" on Thursday that the company has instituted a flexible policy allowing for refunds or flight credits to customers who do not want to fly after a federal judge struck down the mask mandate for airliners and other public transit on Monday.

"All of our customers should feel free to wear a mask and many of them are," Kirby said during the Thursday broadcast. "For customers like that, that are immunocompromised or that have other concerns or issues, we are working with those customers if they really don't want to fly."

Kirby added that he does not anticipate that mask mandates will return to flights "any time in the foreseeable future," and that people will continue learning to live with COVID-19 on a daily basis.

"COVID is going to be with us, it's going to be endemic, and it's going to be here a long time, but we're learning to live with that, including in airports, in restaurants or at sporting events," Kirby said during the interview.

Exclusions and limitations apply — of course

A spokesperson for the airline told Insider that customers can call customer service at (800) 864-8331 for more information on how to receive a refund.

The spokesperson "did not specifically confirm a refund will be an option in all cases," but emphasized the importance of the company's "flexible change policy," adding that "most ticket types allow customers to apply their fare to travel through the end of 2023."

The outlet added that basic economy tickets do not allow changes, but can be "canceled for a fee with the remaining balance kept as flight credit."

A basic economy ticket can also be upgraded to standard economy for a fee and then be changed.

United Airlines CEO: ‘Very Unlikely’ Mask Mandates Return On Planeswww.youtube.com

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