Parents face holiday flight nightmare if kids can’t keep masks on. But airlines take a hard line

For families with young children who have decided to fly for the holidays, the biggest challenge might not be packing gifts, finding COVID-19-safe airport transportation or herding the whole clan to the gate.

Rather, it could be coming up with ways to make sure fidgety toddlers wear their face masks in the terminal and during the flight.

As the coronavirus pandemic complicates family travel, parents are confronted with challenges they never could have expected to encounter. One is the widespread rules among airlines that even young children are required to keep masks on during flights.

Air carriers received more support for their rules when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offered “interim guidance”last month that echoed the policies of most airlines in sayingmasks mustbe worn by all passengers except those under age 2.

When it comes to packing up the kids for a year-end trip, how much trouble could parents expect to encounter when it comes to the mask rule? It depends, says Charles Leocha, president of Travelers United, a consumer advocacy group, since airlines may be inconsistent concerning how they enforce masks rules when it comes to kids.

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