The danger has long past, but the tyranny is just getting started.
Even faux-ci Fauci said masks were superfluous.
US airline passengers who figured face mask enforcements had more bark than bite could end up getting bit.
Major US airlines in Airlines for America, the carriers’ industry group, have announced they intended to more strictly enforce mask wearing aboard their planes, including potentially banning passengers who refuse to wear a mask.
The announcement comes in lieu of a federal regulation requiring all passengers to wear masks — the sort of enforceable measure that governs requirements to wear seatbelts and not smoke. (more)
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How Strict Are Airlines About Face Masks in Flight?
With little direction from the feds and pressure to fill seats as safely as possible as coronavirus continues, U.S. carriers offer significantly different policies
By: The Wall Street Journal, June 17, 2020:
Airlines are coming face to face with a problem that may crimp the nascent rebound in travel: who wears a mask and who doesn’t.
Some airlines are trying to strictly enforce face coverings during flights. Others have given it cursory attention. As with the question of blocking middle seats—some carriers are doing it and some aren’t—the inconsistency worries passengers concerned about virus exposure in tight confines.
Todd Silver of Beverly Hills, Calif., found himself in a group stuck at the door to an airplane. “There was no social distancing. There was limited ventilation. People were just jammed in there. One or two had their masks pulled down below the chin,” he says. The crowd took under 10 minutes to disperse but it “seemed like forever,” Mr. Silver says.
Air travel is full of opportunities for coronavirus transmission. Touchless check-in, plexiglass shields, temperature checks, back-to-front boarding and planes with empty middle seats are all now part of the flying experience, and the future may bring even more changes. Illustration: Alex Kuzoian
American, United and Delta, which have been enforcing face-covering requirements at boarding and not in-flight, say they will get tougher starting this week. Each airline says passengers who refuse to wear masks in-flight without a valid reason may be restricted from future flights on the airline. The length of time on the no-fly list will be determined by the incident. JetBlue and Hawaiian already have a process in place to put noncompliant passengers on their own airline no-fly list.
A survey by consulting firm Oliver Wyman found 85% of travelers said cleanliness at airports and on airplanes would affect their decision to travel—as high a factor as ticket price. Masks are key to perceptions of airline cleanliness. Seeing unmasked passengers raises red flags for many travelers or would-be travelers.
“I’ve been doing consumer surveys a long time, and I’ve never seen another factor show up as important as price in impacting a purchase decision,” says Oliver Wyman partner Jessica Stansbury.
In Southwest’s own weekly surveying of customers, the three most important things to passengers onboard now are clean surfaces, clean air and masks, says Andrew Watterson, Southwest’s chief commercial officer.
Airlines have branded stepped-up cleaning procedures to showcase them. Delta even created a global cleanliness division within the company. Airlines are feeling their way through an unprecedented situation. “You can’t really see too far into the future on customer sentiment,” Mr. Watterson says.
Airlines are toughening rules this week because once on planes, some passengers have been removing masks and flight attendants have been told not to confront customers in the air over masks.
Photo: Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images
While some state and local jurisdictions have imposed face-covering requirements trying to slow the spread of Covid-19, none apply to airlines, which are subject to federal regulation. And while the Transportation Department said last week it was distributing 86.8 million cloth coverings to airports for air passengers, it has issued no requirements that they be worn.
A DOT spokeswoman says the agency, which includes the Federal Aviation Administration, expects “the traveling public to follow airline crew directions and policies” and follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Some passengers now see not wearing masks as a political statement; others simply go about it haphazardly, not covering noses and mouths.
Some have figured out that airlines make exceptions for passengers with medical conditions. So, as with emotional-support dogs, passengers can declare their own medical inability to cover their faces and airlines can’t question them.
Jeff Moll of Orange County, Calif., has a newborn baby at home, so he suited up in a N95 respirator mask and construction goggles when he had to fly to Sacramento to see a client. “You’re just looking at everybody and you’re fearful,” he says.
Once in the air, quite a few people took masks off. “I was just hoping no one was sick,” Mr. Moll says.
Alex Lloyd of Memphis, Tenn., was on a recent flight when one passenger wasn’t wearing a mask and a nearby passenger asked him to put it on. “He put it on but yelled at the lady,” Mr. Lloyd says.
U.S. airlines, with the exception of Allegiant, all say they require passengers to wear masks during flights. (Allegiant strongly encourages but doesn’t require it.) You can take a mask off for eating and drinking.
At JetBlue, flight attendants are supposed to ask noncompliant passengers to put on their mask. If a passenger refuses, the seat number is radioed to the arrival airport and the offending passenger will be quizzed on the ground. If the passenger has no justification for this behavior, he or she will be placed on JetBlue’s no-fly list and banned from future flights. Hawaiian says it, too, will ban noncompliant passengers from future flights, but hasn’t had to do so yet.
The threat of a ban is probably enough to get passengers to comply in the air. So is removal. Chief Executive Barry Biffle says Frontier will divert flights and have noncompliant passengers removed.
Exposure danger doesn’t end with landing, by the way. No matter how hard airlines try, people crowd into the aisle to get off the plane, jamming themselves close to others.
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