One of the big reasons I haven’t flown since February, which is by far the longest I’ve been off a plane in my adult life (prior to that was just a few weeks), is not because I don’t think planes are safe; most are made with HEPA air filters as I learned on this Boeing conference call. It’s because I don’t trust people to keep their masks on in-flight. I also don’t trust people not to fly when they have COVID-19 or have been around someone who has tested positive. But the latter is a whole other subject that I’ll have to tackle another time.
Sadly, the big reason some passengers aren’t wearing masks is because they think wearing one infringes on their personal liberties, which is crazy. Never before in my lifetime have our personal liberties been so curtailed. In reality, not wearing a mask infringes on all of our freedoms and because coronavirus is so out of control in the USA, that practically every country has closed their borders to the US, including Australia, Canada, Mexico, Europe, most of Asia and even some U.S. states like Hawaii.
One way these misguided passengers were getting around not wearing a mask was pretending to have a personal condition that prevented them from wearing one and due to privacy laws, airport and airline workers can’t legally ask them why. I said back in February that this would be the new emotional support animal scam.
Well, kudos to Delta because they just figured out a way to prevent this from happening anymore. According to our friends at TPG, starting on Monday, July 20, “Delta will require any passenger who refuses to wear a mask to speak virtually with a medical professional before the flight.”
The Delta spokesperson told TPG that: “Medical research tells us that wearing a mask is one of the most effective ways to reduce the COVID-19 infection rate. That’s why Delta remains committed to requiring customers and employees to wear a mask or face covering as a consistent layer of protection across all Delta touchpoints. We encourage customers who are prevented from wearing a mask due to a health condition to reconsider travel. If they decide to travel, they will be welcome to fly upon completing a virtual consultation prior to departure at the airport to ensure everyone’s safety, because nothing is more important.”
For passengers who need a mask exemption, they’ll need to arrive at the airport an hour early so they don’t risk missing their flight. “The consultation is a private phone call with the dedicated medical personnel facilitated by Delta ground staff. It will be conducted out of earshot from others. Pending the outcome of the consultation, final determination to fly is made.”
I love the fact that Delta is doubling down on its mask requirement and I hope other airlines follow suit. Just last week, the CEO of United, Scott Kirby, created a video stating United requires masks for everyone over two. He also said that “wearing a mask is one of the most important things we can all do to halt the spread of coronavirus.”
If people want to be able to move around the country again and open up the economy, then it’s time to start heeding the advice of health experts, otherwise it’s going to be a long and depressing year, possibly two.
Have you flown recently where someone refused to wear a mask? Share your experience in the comments section below.