I Just Took A Flight, And Airplane Face Mask Enforcement Is A Mess

Filed Under: American, Travel

Yesterday I took a five hour American Airlines flight from Miami to Las Vegas, which was my first flight in 99 days.

I have so many thoughts about the current state of the air travel experience, but first wanted to dedicate a post specifically to some observations about face mask usage, because this is a big point of concern and confusion for many people considering traveling at the moment.

Long story short — absolutely don’t expect that everyone seated near you will be wearing their mask responsibly, even with airlines stepping up enforcement.

Airlines have face mask policies they can’t enforce

I recently wrote about the challenges with airline face mask policies:

  • While most airlines (with the exception of Allegiant Air) require passengers to wear face masks, until this week most US airlines have told crews to not actually enforce the policy
  • This is a problem because wearing a face mask is just as much about other peoples’ safety as it is about your own safety
  • Airlines have promoted that face masks are “required,” so reasonable people depend on that being the case, and then are frustrated when they find people near them not wearing masks
  • Passengers with health conditions don’t have to wear masks, and there’s no requirement to “prove” your condition; we’re seeing some people claim to have health conditions simply because they don’t feel like wearing masks
  • As of this week some airlines have stepped up enforcement of this policy, even threatening to ban passengers who don’t wear masks, but this is unfortunately (mostly) unenforceable

My observations about people wearing face masks

Based on my flight yesterday from Miami to Las Vegas, what did I notice at the airport and onboard our flight? I have a few different thoughts:

Most people were being reasonable and following rules

Most people are on the same page. That’s what I was hoping, though I also wondered if it would actually be the case. We want to travel safely, and we recognize that wearing masks is in everyone’s best interest. I’d say somewhere around 75% of people I saw were on the same page.

If anything, I was pleasantly surprised by the number of children I saw wearing face masks (since they’re not required to do so by most airlines), and also the number of people wearing both face masks and face shields.

Very different face mask experiences at two airports

At airports not nearly as many people were wearing masks as on planes. That’s not surprising since:

  • Face masks are required onboard most airlines, but are generally only encouraged at airports
  • There are more opportunities for physical distancing at airports than on planes

A few things stood out at the airport:

  • I was surprised by how many American Airlines mechanics and ramp workers I saw walking around the terminal not wearing masks; what a bad example that sets, especially in uniform
  • There was such a massive disparity in face mask usage in Miami and Las Vegas; at Miami Airport a vast majority of people were wearing face masks, while at Las Vegas Airport a vast majority of people weren’t

I have a lot more to say about face mask usage after we left the airport in Las Vegas, because I was shocked.

The real problem with onboard face mask rules

From my seat I saw two people getting onto the plane without face masks on. They both had them in their hands, so I’m guessing they wore them for the gate agent and then immediately took them off.

Personally what I found most disappointing was how many people weren’t wearing masks throughout the flight. I’d say at any given point at least a quarter of passengers either weren’t wearing masks at all, or weren’t wearing them correctly. This comes down to a couple of gray areas:

  • Passengers have to wear face coverings, but there’s limited guidance as to how they have to be worn; I saw a lot of people with masks only covering their mouth and not their nose, and I also saw a lot of people with their mask simply strapped around their chin, and one person even used it as an eyeshade
  • Passengers are told they can take their masks off when consuming food and drinks; some people took this to the extreme and had a bottle of water on their tray that they “enjoyed” for an hour without their mask on

Flight attendants have an impossible job

I overhead several passengers report other passengers to flight attendants:

  • Passengers are right to expect that others around them wear face masks
  • At the same time, the flight attendants are put in a very uncomfortable, and arguably impossible, enforcement position

I totally support them enforcing policies, but the problem was that these complaints primarily involved people not wearing masks while having a drink or snack on their tray for extended periods. I don’t envy the situation that flight attendants are in.

Should passengers take situations into their own hands?

Under normal circumstances I never recommend escalating anything at an airport or on an airplane. I’m still not really suggesting that. However, perhaps a bit of shaming polite nudging wouldn’t be out of place?

There are topics on which reasonable people can disagree. Face mask usage in crowded spaces like planes shouldn’t be one of those. If you don’t have an actual health condition that prevents you from wearing a face mask then you absolutely should wear one when physical distancing isn’t possible (and yes, this includes being crammed into a plane like sardines).

The sad part is that the irresponsible jerks who aren’t wearing masks aren’t necessarily endangering themselves, but much more importantly are selfishly endangering others.

And this leads me to a question for you guys — to what extent should we encourage other passengers to wear face masks? For example:

  • A guy near us in the security line wasn’t wearing a mask, and clearly wasn’t concerned about physical distancing. I was very close to asking him if he needed a mask, or something, but restrained myself.
  • A person seated across from us boarded with a mask but then once we leveled off, took it off for quite a while. Ford stared at her studiously for a few moments, and then she suddenly put her mask back on.

Is there a safe way that we can try to either encourage others to wear masks on planes, either through asking nicely or guilting?

  • Flight attendants in many cases aren’t fully allowed to enforce the rules
  • Is there value in asking people to please put on masks because you’re uncomfortable?

Bottom line

I’m not really sure what to make of the face mask usage I saw at the airport and on planes yesterday. Most people were being responsible, while some clearly weren’t. Airlines have created face mask policies that can’t reasonably be enforced, and some people will find any way to avoid wearing a mask, it seems.

Is there a way that we as passengers can encourage others to wear masks? Should we just politely ask them directly if they could put on a mask? Is there a better solution I’m missing?

Comments
  1. The answer unfortunately, is since wearing masks has become a political issue, and we are entering an even HEAVIER political season here in the USA…don’t fly unless you NEED to because you are taking your health in your hands. Its not how it SHOULD be, but reality says when the leader of the country refuses to wear a mask, many of the people who idolize him will as well.

  2. @Joelfreak
    Nice try buddy. Studies show masks are not effective. It’s a conspiracy by China to sell more masks.

  3. I’m absolutely shocked you chose to fly to Las Vegas. As I mentioned on another post, given a choice between connecting in SFO or Phoenix for an upcoming flight, SFO was a no-brainer.

    Demographics matter. Mask wearing has been turned into a political culture war, so it’s vital to stay away from the “fake news” crowd.

  4. Yeah try working in the ramp with the summer heat and humidity while wearing a mask, let me see how you handle it.
    Don’t judge them without putting yourself in their shoes.
    Not everyone is privileged to stay home during this pandemic

  5. @ All — This was in the terminal (and MIA’s terminal has the air conditioning cranked all the way up, always).

  6. @Mark
    Nice try buddy. Studies show masks are effective. It’s a conspiracy by Trumpers to distract from real issues like BLM, unemployment and recession and point fingers to someone else other than the person that is supposed to actually LEAD the nation.

  7. @Mark Agree. Also, COVID is overblown. Can be prevented with a tbsp of Clorox per day. Go try it.

  8. I’m pretty sure we have mask articles/blogs/posts everyday because the mouthbreathers on both sides of the debate flocks and generate clicks

  9. I am based in NYC and wear my mask when I am out. I also wore my mask throughout my entire round trip flight to and from KY last week. Most people are wearing masks on flights. So what’s the reporting for? If people are going to try and police others or shame them, don’t fly. Let people be exactly that, people with freedom to do whatever they want. If an FA wants to tell a customer to put their mask on, let them. Otherwise, worry about you or again, don’t fly/travel if it’s bothersome or concerning. It’s only going to get worse as the summer rolls on.

  10. This is discouraging for a couple of trips I have planned later in the summer. I have no tolerance for people not wearing masks on a plane. They should be arrested for not following crew instructions, banned from the airline, and plane diverted and offload them. That announcement of what will happen should be made at the boarding gate and by flight attendants on the plane before leaving the gate. And yes the airlines need to be able to ask for medical documentation if they say they can’t wear a mask.

  11. Ppl like Mark are a clear example of why the USA should at least offer free psychiatry and psychology to its citizens, along with anti psychotic drugs.

    @All

    Tell that to Singaporeans and pretty much every asian country around the Equator line, including India.

  12. The problem is that people think the surgical mask is to protect them. It’s not. It’s to protect other people from the atomized liquid that is sprayed out even when just talking. If you want to protect yourself you need to wear at least an N95 and ideally a surgical mask over that.

    Anyone not wearing a surgical mask in an enclosed space is endangering others. This is not in dispute. Since people can be contagious but asymptomatic anyone without a mask be a source of infection to those around them.

    The only way to reduce person to person infections is to keep everyone’s aerosol to an absolute minimum. The only way to do that is if everyone wears a mask.

  13. I have emphysema and I wear a mask. What “health conditions” prevent people from wearing them? Sitting on a plane should be no problem for anyone. Walking a lot could be an issue but if I’m near people my mask is covering my mouth AND nose.

  14. @Mark:
    Please share with us one of the studies that show masks aren’t effective.
    I’m waiting with masked breath.

  15. Would be curious if the experience would be same or different if going somewhere like up the West Coast (eg SFO-SEA) or Northeast (eg DCA-LGA)

    Anyone choosing to go to Vegas now, and pack into a crowded, germy casino likely doesn’t really care much about the pandemic going on.

    I’m torn whether to even make a comment about mask wearing because Americans have turned what should be common sense (WEAR IT) into a political issue. To purposely not wear one is apparently the MAGA hat of 2020.

    I do feel for the flight attendants. They are put in a very difficult position.

  16. It’s going to be nearly impossible to ever get 100% mask compliance. But even if only a majority of people wear them, it’s still going to provide much more protection than if no one wore them.

  17. @Ben
    You didn’t mention what I was most interested in hearing about. How full was the flight and close were passengers to each other in both F and Y

  18. Your destination was LAS. There’s your biggest mask distraction. What happens in Vegas(or on your way)…. Also, 5 hours. Masks yuck.
    Most other destinations would likely be above 75% usage.

  19. If you’re concerned that a single person near you is not wearing a mask, even on a plane, then you should most likely stay home and isolate. Is it really worth the stress, fear, and anxiety just to fly?

    A vaccine isn’t coming any time soon, and the young and healthy should get infected to develop herd immunity, while the at-risk should stay home. This is a major benefit of the protesting going on across the country – the virus will spread as it should. Avoiding the inevitable just drains our mental health and economy.

  20. @ Alonzo

    I can’t think of space in the US that is more controlled than an airplane. It is not true that people can do whatever they want, not by a long shot. This argument of “Don’t fly if you are uncomfortable” doesn’t make sense to me. The point is for the airline and TSA to make it safe so people will fly, and then the airline makes money and people get to their destination. It’s not an anything goes scenario and tough luck if there are people flouting the rules.

    People are already forced to follow a bunch of other rules in airports and on airplanes, why not have a new rule about mask wearing that is also enforced?

  21. Glad we are keeping the border closed from you all. Here to fly masks are mandated by regulation.

  22. “Ford stared at her studiously for a few moments, and then she suddenly put her mask back on.”

    When will we learn to act like adults – if there is an issue say something, don’t be passive aggressive which frankly leads to worse outcomes

    I think you are a great blogger very balanced but that particular description makes me shake my head!

  23. In times like these, I look up to respected elders for leadership and guidance. We know anyone like that?

  24. Wear a mask, it is good for everyone. In New York, it is required by law to wear a mask. Every store you go to has signs posted “mask required”

    Unless walking in the neighborhood where social distancing is possible, here in NY, people are very law abiding and wear masks diligently

  25. WHO already admitted (and then, of course, tried to walk it back) that asymptomatic spread is ‘very rare’.

    If that is so (and I believe it is), why are we bothering with all this nonsense? Worry about yourself and leave it at that. If you want to wear a mask, cool. If not, cool.

    The social shaming has got to stop. It’s worse than the virus itself, which isn’t going anywhere. We need to learn to live with it and move on. Assess the risk for yourself and make decisions, and let others do the same. Airlines have made their policies and will enforce them to the degree they see fit in accordance with law and ADA.

    Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/06/08/asymptomatic-coronavirus-patients-arent-spreading-new-infections-who-says.html

  26. I do minimal possible compliance for mask usage – this means for all the flights I took during May/June, simply wearing the mask while boarding and then taking it off as soon as the plane is wheels-up.

    My reasons are simple – your health should not be my own concern, for liability reasons. The second we start assuming that I am responsible somehow for your health, it opens me up for liability, and I do not want to encourage such mindset.

    If you feel that you or someone you live with are at risk, stay home. Do not drag me into your compromised immunity situation. My selfishness does not override concern for your health if you have chosen to enter the public sphere.

  27. @Mark and @NotMark

    You’re both right! It’s not a “conspiracy” to make us wear masks, and it’s not a “conspiracy” to convince us masks aren’t effective. The “conspiracy” is plan (and it’s working) to DIVIDE us for others benefit.

    Remember when we could all agree on important issues like flat beds and champagne brands?!

  28. I agree it’s impossible to enforce given how exceptions are made and if someone says they have a medical condition where they can’t wear a mask, they are not obliged to tell you or anyone what that is (due to HIPAA?)
    Just thinking more about it, how many people do not fasten their seatbelt when they’re supposed to? I know it’s not exactly the same thing but given how many people can’t even follow that simple rule, I doubt everyone would be wearing a mask correctly (or at all!)

  29. Eric, maybe you can share guidance that isn’t four months old?

    Lucky, congrats on traveling from Florida to the Southwest. One hot spot to another. Florida just announced the most new cases for a single day in their state. Really inspiring stuff. Hope you are planning to quarantine when you get home and get tested before you get back on a crowded flight.

  30. Maybe have a section with people who will absolutely not fly without mask and those around them.
    Another for those who are less concerned. Have curtains in between the 2 sections like those to separate different flying class.
    Those who don’t comply will have to join the no mask required section.

    Yes, I would feel reassured knowing that my seat mates will be wearing face covering the only way I could give flying a try…

  31. Lucky,

    Unfortunately I’m not surprised. I have flown a few times since March and each time, I have observed something different.

    In April from PIT-RSW on Southwest, there were literally 8 people on the flight. My husband and I both wore masks and so did everyone else.

    In May from SFB-PIT on Allegiant, I would say only 1/4 of the people were wearing masks. The flight was packed and we actually had someone sitting next to us. The lady sitting next to us was not wearing a mask, which is frustrating.

    From PIT-DTW-SLC on Delta last weekend, most people were wearing masks. However, I also observed many take theirs off once the snack service started.

    Unfortunately, it has become a political issue.

    In May, from

  32. @Eric M
    You are referencing old information. Earlier, the significant contagiousness of asymptomatic and presymptomatic people was not known or understood. Once it was understood that this is a significant risk for transmission of the virus the CDC changed their guidance, as far back as April 3.
    “CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain”
    https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cloth-face-cover.html

  33. “There are topics on which reasonable people can disagree. Face mask usage in crowded spaces like planes shouldn’t be one of those… The sad part is that the irresponsible jerks who aren’t wearing masks aren’t necessarily endangering themselves, but much more importantly are selfishly endangering others.”

    Please stop it with the virtue signaling, Lucky. Normally you tend to be fair, but that’s not the case here. AT BEST, research shows that face covering are of VERY limited effectiveness in preventing the spread of viruses. If you want to buy the propaganda and fear mongering of the media and leftist politicians, go right ahead. But insulting those who beg to differ (on the basis of a lot of evidence, including the views until quite recently of Dr. Fauci, the WHO, the CDC, etc) is totally out of line.

    Shutting down life as we know it and imposing draconian measures on the entire population because of a virus with a fatality rate of ca. 0.4% is insane. Welcome to the age of cowardice, folks.

    livescience(dot)com/are-face-masks-effective-reducing-coronavirus-spread.html

  34. Were you in F or Y? Was there drink and meal service in F?

    Flying prevaccine is about managing your expectations of the general public. Expect no one to wear a mask. Then when 70% do, you’ll be happy.

  35. People who find wearing masks difficult should experiment with other masks. I was originally using masks made of a heavy, almost terrycloth like fabric. They were hot and uncomfortable. The other day I received a new order of masks made from a lighter fabric and they are much more pleasant to wear.

  36. This is the country where people claim that their snake is an emotional support animal in order to carry it on board an aircraft.

    Why is this sort of selfishness any surprise to anyone?

  37. If you are concerned about the lack of masks at Vegas airport, just wait till you get around there in public, at restaurants or casinos. 5% compliance rate if you are lucky.

    Also in cade this comes in handy since I think you mentioned Zion / Bryce Canyon and some other sites. Many national parks are open to only those with annual passes, and due to crowding when Zion reopened, it has been filling up and closing to more admissions as early as 7am.

    Last week, we wanted to visit Death Valley (closed) and tent camp there (closed), and also at a camp site on the way to Utah from Vegas (closed).

  38. @Andre: Face masks have been recommended for months now. That’s not because Dr. Fauci and other medical professionals are or were lying. It’s because of the fact that masks only help against, but do not prevent, disease transmission. The idea was that people shouldn’t avoid social distancing just because they’re wearing a mask, so mask-wearing was discouraged while staying home and avoiding crowds were encouraged. Now that people have some understanding of social distancing being the primary means of prevention, and regions are opening up regardless of whether that’s recommended by epidemiologists, mask wearing is recommended as the least one should do if one can’t social distance.

    So, if you take the stance that mask wearing is useless because first it was recommended and then it wasn’t, you are simply playing into a particular political stance, not following evidence-based recommendations. In fact, people not wearing masks because they think they don’t work is only part of the problem. Most of the time when I see a group of people wearing masks (e.g., in Home Depot) at least 2 or 3 have their masks pulled down. I tend to think that’s not a political statement, but rather a “this is hot and uncomfortable” statement.

  39. Given the months of anguish you’ve expressed at this exact moment you’ve gone thru…are you saying it’s a mess because:
    75-80% compliance is not acceptable to you? The flight attendant aren’t being more militant about it?

    Having not lived under a rock for the past 20 years I would hope you’d understand that you’re not going to get 100% compliance in the USA unless you threaten removal from aircraft…
    Then of course you’ll blog about how brutal the airlines are when another Dr Dao happens. If you are that uncomfortable with “most” compliance, then stay home.

  40. If I had a respiratory condition that prevented me from wearing a mask, the last place I’d want to be right now is on a commercial airliner especially with others who may chose to claim they do while potentially spreading the virus to me. If you’re in a high risk group, stay home or drive. Why risk your life?

    As for enforcement, AA and the others can easily put teeth on the policy by taking names of those who refuse to wear their mask while onboard and banning them until the COVID crisis is over for the safety of the crews and other passengers. The word will get out and people will comply if they want to travel by air.

  41. @Mark
    It is 2020 now, shocked that some people still believed in those extremely stupid conspiracy theories. Is it difficult to spend five minutes reading a real medical paper?

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7191274/

    “The study suggests that community mask use by well people could be beneficial, particularly for COVID-19, where transmission may be pre-symptomatic. The studies of masks as source control also suggest a benefit, and may be important during the COVID-19 pandemic in universal community face mask use as well as in health care settings. ”

    https://www.businessinsider.com/fauci-mask-advice-was-because-doctors-shortages-from-the-start-2020-6

    “Dr. Anthony Fauci said Friday the reason the public was advised not to wear masks at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic was that there were too few to go around.”

  42. Considering a trip in a couple weeks from California to the east coast. I’ve already resigned myself to being surrounded by people not wearing masks. In LA some people wear masks some don’t. Even during the middle of April when things were scary, people were gathering in parks near my home without wearing masks. In the US, we don’t value public good, we don’t take care of each other. We haven’t for a long time and this is where our selfishness will be our undoing. Helping someone is seen as a personal sacrifice and not an investment in our future. I think this is why we’ve failed at handling this virus. Stay safe everyone.

  43. Lucky, I think this post exhibits why you should be traveling and why the hemming and hawing that you did for months about traveling was simply wrong, and you should apologize to your readers for it. Simply put, this is a travel blog. People deserve to know what you wrote in your blog post. If someone is thinking about traveling, they will want to see data points about exactly what you wrote here–how mask usage is actually playing out so they can gauge their own risks. You have a responsibility to do it, and you did it here–well done! Now, you need to keep it up. People want to know it and you should be providing it.

    Even if travel isn’t right for everyone, or isn’t safe for most people, YOU should be doing it in order to report on what is actually going on. If you’re discovering repeated unsafe situations, you could save lives by shedding light on them or discouraging people from traveling. You should be writing more articles like this, and I hope the past two months of this blog are now in the rear-view mirror.

  44. @Andre: If you read the first paragraph of the article you linked, the paper that says masks that are not effective has been retracted. That is, “the paper included mistakes so serious that the findings of the research cannot be trusted”. All of the latest research suggests that face masks are effective.

    @Eric M: just because something was believed to be true at one point does not mean that it’s true with the most updated information. People believed for hundreds of years that Earth was the center of the universe.

  45. Nothing like a ‘clearing your throat’ noise with a hand in front of your mask to remind the people that we are still in a pandemic.

  46. About 25 million Americans have Asthma. That doesn’t include people with many other issues like COPD, etc. I am one of those 25 million. I can and have worn a mask for limited periods like a quick run into a store for a few minutes but I cannot wear a mask for long periods. It makes my blood oxygen levels drop, aggravates my condition, and can even trigger an attack. You know an Asthma attack where people actually die. So it’s not such a simple thing to go around and just judge people on the surface. For these reasons, I have elected not to fly since March this year. I don’t want to get into the game of shaming people in public for anything really. However, eventually, I will need to fly again for work and hope it improves.

  47. @Andre Try googling Nick Cordero to see why there is more than just the mortality rate to consider (tldr: he’s 41 and lost a leg due to coronavirus).

  48. Having flown a couple times in mid May (shortly after masks were required by airlines and at both the airports I went through), and then again yesterday, I definitely have found mask usage has increased significantly. However, my planes in May were at most 1/3 full, and yesterday was at capacity for Delta (with blocked seats), so it did not necessarily feel safer.

    Regarding mixed messages on board–I think it would help if the airlines would create more specific guidelines/expectations. For example, saying mask usage is mandatory when boarding/deplaning, moving about the cabin, and when flight attendants are in the aisle. When sitting at your seat, you can remove your masks for short periods of time to consume water/food, but this needs to be kept at a minimum. Saying that a mask is required, and then handing you water and snacks creates a system that is impossible to enforce, if they chose to.

  49. Any government that would allow US citizens in at this point into their country deserves a coup

  50. @dcs…..that was my point. The media, CDC and WHO are all over the place. One day it is one thing, the next it is not.

  51. People seem confused as to who is protected when a person wears a mask. It is not for the protection of the person wearing it, but rather for those not wearing a mask (as an asymptomatic person can spread the disease).

    If a person wearing a mask comes into contact with a person not wearing a mask — the person wearing the mask still has a 70% chance of being infected by the non-mask wearing individual. However, the non-mask wearing person only has a 5% chance of getting something from the person wearing the mask.

    if you refuse to wear a mask, it is because you care little to nothing for others.

  52. Either way people it sounds like flying in the time of COVID is just no fun. who wants to go through all that?

  53. That is the main reason the US is so screwed up with Corona crisis, learn from Japan, Korea and other countries, take responsibility and stop blaming China for causing the crisis in the US.

  54. @Ginger, there isn’t any condition that prevents people from wearing them,other than maybe anxiety. I work in primary care medicine and am amazed by the number of patients trying to get us to provide a letter of exemption. I have been refusing, but I have no doubt that some doctors are providing them. I will say that the constant back and forth with patients trying to manipulate us into doing what they want is tiring to say the least. Do you know how difficult it is trying to keep it together as a patient is trying to convince me that they don’t get enough oxygen with a mask?

  55. Andre – nice try, have you reviewed your source recently? From the top of the article:

    Editor’s Note (June 2 at 11:30 a.m.): One paper discussed in this article has been retracted by the journal the Annals of Internal Medicine, meaning that the paper included mistakes so serious that the findings of the research cannot be trusted. The authors wrote that their statistical methods could not determine whether the findings were reliable, making the results of the small study “uninterpretable.” The study had found that surgical and cotton masks do not effectively contain viral droplets containing SARS-CoV-2. Subsequent research has suggested that face masks are an effective method for containing the spread of the virus, used along with staying six feet apart from other people.

  56. Is this an AA problem, or a Miami-based crew problem?

    Where are those FAs who like to go on a power trip? This is their time to shine!

  57. Those who dont realise that masks are primarily to protect others need to STFU and are clearly tumptards. im travelling for the first time this weekend and will be wearing a mask as per LH regulations but primarily out of concern for my fellow passengers,

  58. This obsession with face mask compliance is a bizarre gambit with no grounding in science. No public health agency in the world is spending energy to get face mask compliance to 100-percent… why would you expect an airline to do so. Cambridge and concurrent ongoing studies have found that 50-percent regular face mask adoption reduces R values for SARS-CoV-2 below 1.0. That’s all. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-masks-study/widespread-mask-wearing-could-prevent-covid-19-second-waves-study-idUSKBN23G37V

  59. One concern I have about escalating with a mask-free passenger — either a flight attendant or a passenger — is that loud talking/yelling spreads the virus — the Japanese recommend not talking on trains — and so the escalation may lead to significant viral spread that otherwise wouldn’t have happened, if the mask-free passenger was just left alone. (That said, yes, everyone should wear masks!)

  60. Lucky, most of the people travelling right now are the anti-mask crowd. People who actually care about the virus and care about others for the most part are not flying non-essential trips, so you are going to be surrounded for the most part by people who are cavalier with their health and as a result people who have a higher chance of carrying the virus. I’d monitor yourself closely for symptoms because its not realistic to think you have not come across infected people when travelling with groups like this. There was that nurse in florida who went out to the bar for one night in Florida and her and her 15 friends got infected in that one night alone. Its russian roulette at this point.

  61. @Paulz The science says the exact opposite. Maybe you should look into getting educated on the subject instead of being part of the problem.

  62. All these mask wearing policies aren’t sustainable in the long-term. I’ve worn my share, begrudgingly, but only when required by policy or local mandate. I certainly wouldn’t attempt to skirt such a requirement on an airplane, though. If you’re not willing to follow the airline’s rules, regardless of whether you believe they make sense, don’t fly. Less flying will eventually lead to a decimation and slow death of the travel industry and before too many bankruptcies start taking effect, we’ll undoubtedly see new policy reversals established.

    But shaming complete strangers and other travelers is equally out of order. Many people legitimately believe they possess an underlying health condition that exempts them from having to wear one: namely, they aren’t carrying any sort of infectious disease. If being surrounded by individuals not wearing masks is something you find troublesome, just stay at home. Frankly, I wouldn’t have any problem sitting right next to someone on an airplane that wasn’t wearing a mask even if I definitively knew that person tested positive for COVID-19. I’m just not that afraid of a little virus. Getting sick and then building immunity to new threats is a natural and normal part of life.

    If I were in a high risk category, however, I absolutely would not simply cross my fingers and trust my well being to a bunch of weakly enforced policies and strangers intermittently wearing cloth masks. There are better ways to slow the spread and stay safe.

  63. @John – “mass masking in the community is one of the key measures that controls transmission during the outbreak in Hong Kong and China.” Another concluded that if 80 percent of a population were to wear masks, the number of Covid-19 infections would drop by one-twelfth, or about 8.3 percent, based on observations from several Asian countries where mask-wearing is common. https://www.vox.com/2020/6/6/21282108/masks-for-covid-19-world-health-organization-guidelines-cloth-n95
    Also, Taiwan “spent energy” and fined people to get face mask compliance near 100%. Look at how many cases they had and have now.

  64. @ Eric M.
    Actually no, it was always consistent. Before, it was wear a mask if you are feeling ill to prevent spread. Now, it is wear a mask even if you don’t feel ill to prevent spread because you might be asymptomatic. In both scenarios, wear a mask to prevent spread. Responsible professionals update their advice based on new proven findings. It is unfortunate that you are unable to grasp the concept of change.

  65. @M,

    Yeah, and people believed there was no fraud on the FISA court in 2016-2017, which we constantly heard about from the MSM for 3 years, which turned out to be false.

  66. @Roger. It is not about you catching the virus. It is about you catching it and then unwittingly spreading it to others, who may or may not be in the high risk category, it is this chain of events that we are trying to avoid. Unless you frequently get tested, you don’t know if you were exposed to the virus. There will always be risks in life, but we do everything we can to mitigate it. If wearing a mask will mitigate even one chain of event, why shouldn’t we try?

  67. I flew two weeks ago on an early (7am) Alaska Air flight that was roughly 50-60% full with all middle seats blocked and empty. During the safety demonstration we were encouraged to keep as much social distance as possible. About 90 minutes into the flight the woman on the aisle put her backpack in the empty middle seat to use as a pillow, putting her (masked) face inches from me. Ma’am this is not social distance!!! I said excuse me and asked her to leave the seat free to keep the distance and her response was “why didn’t a flight attendant say anything to me?” I shrugged and she ended up grabbing all her stuff and huffing off to another seat. Fine by me! But honestly, some people…

  68. Just delete all the anti-mask comments. At this point it’s not even about ignorance, it’s simply malicious. Let them discuss how unfair it is at infowar or whatever.

  69. Without a vaccine or a therapeutic, one is increasing the probability of being infected with COVID-19 and then potentially suffering potentially deleterious health effects, when increasing one’s exposure to the public. Traveling through airports, flying on an airplane only compounds the problem.

    Please do not fly on an airplane unless it is an emergency.

  70. Not wearing a mask is hazardous to you and those around you. But why are you flying anyway right now? Wearing a mask and flying is still more risky than not flying.

  71. I’m glad to hear that many people are not wearing masks on board. I’m flying next month and will do everything and anything not to wear it. We’re not in this together; you’re the enemy.

  72. Im fine wearing a mask, im also fine knowing that 99% of masks people wear dont do anything and can do more harm than good because people are touching their face every 30 seconds adjusting their uncomfortable mask. People also wash their hands less because they feel they are safer wearing a cute cloth mask that a friend made for everyone in the neighborhood.

  73. Welcome to wing nut central, aka the American Southwest. We don’t need no stinkin masks. Get your popcorn ready as the Repugnicant body count starts to stack up. Get on a packed flight with your emotional support peacock and head to the Trump rally in Okie town. The USA is so screwed. COVID doesn’t care about your feelings or your politics. Or your stupidity!

  74. Its often said that flight attendants are here for “your safety.” This seems like a safety issue so its time for them to get serious about it (and all airline, airport, security staff).

    The fact that airline employees are not wearing masks is really bad as in many areas employers have to have plans in place to protect their employees. There should be clear policies mandating masks with real risks of loss of employment for non compliance. I know at my midsized public company I would be fired if I didn’t follow mask rules (we are not back onsite yet.)

  75. Flight attendants should be given the power to knock people refusing to wear masks unconscious, and put one on them. Obviously make exceptions for people who are unable to wear one due to medical reasons (with a doctor’s note).

  76. In my everyday practice, I encourage my patients to wear a mask, but I’m not enforcing it. If the patient doesn’t want to wear one, I’m required to wear some kind of sunglasses (actually thy are neutral and without the UV-filter). By luck, it happened only 5 times during the last 4 months.
    With the mask, I’m not exporting it. With the glasses (and mask), I’m not importing it.

    Ben, during a flight, if someone around you is not wearing a mask and you don’t want to make a fuss about it, just wear some glasses. Although it is not comfy at all to wear some with a mask.

  77. Your experience is so unfortunate – not good for anyone, the traveler, the potential traveler with travel dollars to offer up, nor the struggling airlines. As much as I love to travel, I’ve felt like I need to stay away because safety on board is out of my control. Ben’s experience reinforces my perception of current reality. Can’t wait to be safely and effectively vaccinated, then I’ll be back in the game.

  78. @NotMark completely forgot that there are positions like Mayors and Governors from cities and states with heavy outbreaks, who are also supposed to lead their respective cities and states and not let violent gangs roam around without social distancing; instead they point fingers at someone who is easy to blame.

  79. I also had a trip planned to Las Vegas this weekend but canceled because masks are not required there and nobody is wearing them.

  80. @Alice

    Totally understand. All I mean is that there are billions of people on this planet and you’ll never convince them all to wear masks or to wear them properly. I witness countless flawed attempts every day (e.g., noses exposed, frequent touching and adjusting, pulled down while talking, old ones being reused repeatedly). It is futile to put excessive energy into trying to control the inherently uncontrollable. If people want to wear masks, fine. If they don’t, I can appreciate that too.

  81. God the US is a strange country.

    So politically divided that people are refusing to wear a mask during a pandemic even while trapped inside a small closed environment with limited social distancing and recycled air.

    “Risking getting and spreading a deadly illness just to own the libs”

    Pretty simple. You don’t get on board the plane without a mask and if you take it off during the flight, the crew takes note of your seat number and you get blacklisted.

    All airline crew, airport and on board, who deal with the general public, should be wearing mask and gloves

  82. Wouldn’t the word compliance be less aggressive than enforcement in the headline? It’s not a law.

  83. 75% compliance remains a hard no for me to fly. Thanks for the info so I can make an informed decision. #stillnotflying

  84. @ Eric M, I’m with ya, but that link from February you posted has info that’s a little outdated. In April, President Trump suggested injecting bleach to clean the blood of filthy diseases. Screw the masks, let’s evolve and follow the latest medical guidance!

  85. Lack of mask wearing is everywhere in Miami. No one here cares about anyone but themselves. Buildings have rules, no one follows, no one enforces. Wearing a mask? Be ready to be photo/video’d and mask shamed.

  86. 75% compliance is extremely discouraging. Yes, you should make every effort to shame non-mask passengers to wear their masks. Airlines should enact long-term (if not permanent) bans on passengers who refuse to comply. I don’t care about your politics or your theories. I read recently that United has such a ban as policy, and I will only plan travel with an airline that has a similar policy while COVID-19 remains a threat. If someone next to me refused to wear a mask I’d insist on changing seats or getting one of us off that plane.

  87. And this is why we won’t fly anymore…the carriers are begging the FAA to make inflight mask wearing compulsory. In the current political climate that is unlikely to happen. It’s always the self important a holes who ruin it for everyone else.

  88. Really Folks, how hard is it to wear a mask? How about some consideration for others who ARE scared and HAVE to fly. Is it going to kill you to wear one? I don’t speed through neighborhoods for fear of having you, your kid of your dog run out in front of me. I do that to protect you, your kid or your dog. You won’t leave anything but a greasy spot on the bumper if I hit you. BUT I do drive responsibility on the remote, off-chance that you , your kid or your dog might run out in front of me (or simply not look).

    Same concept, we all have to protect each other when we can. Our government, in more normal times enacts laws, rules and regulations to insure that the exercise of my rights don’t infringe on yours. With rule preventing the most damage being enforced.

    So put on your mask, protect others and get over it. We’re not asking you to ingest cyanide (or clorox, or lysol)…

  89. Too bad we can’t have all the people who don’t wear a mask sit together, and then let all the mask wearers sit together. Kind of like the smoking section from back in the day. Have a couple of empty rows and/or a bulkhead between. If you’re out of your seat, masks on, but once in your section, do you.

    That would help the anxiety of those who are worried. And allow the ones who can’t be bothered for the greater good to at least keep their own particles to themselves.

    Let’s go!

  90. @wse

    Public health officials really shot themselves in the foot by trying to downplay the risks of the virus in the early stages of the pandemic and then obviously politicizing the problem as time went on. Dr. Fauci said on February 29 that “you don’t need to change anything you’re doing.” This was poor advice. Why in the world would China have placed Wuhan on such a strict lockdown if the virus was not something to worry about? The CDC didn’t recommend that everyone wear masks until April 3. Asymptomatic spread of the virus was always known to be a possible risk. A first case was erroneously reported on January 31. An asymptomatic case with normal chest CT imaging was correctly reported on February 21. Officials clearly knew that asymptomatic spread was possible by the time Dr. Fauci made his statement on the Today show. Why did the CDC wait until April 3 to recommend everyone wear a mask? If it was because officials were worried about protecting supplies for health care workers, that is somewhat understandable, but was it necessary to outright lie about the efficacy of masks before then? If they recommended using homemade ones then, why couldn’t they have made the same recommendation weeks earlier? Then came the protests. Why were public health officials so adamantly opposed to them when they were for re-opening the economy but supportive of the much larger and more chaotic ones after George Floyd’s death? The same officials who made note of how minority populations were at much greater risk from the virus then said that not protesting against racism was a greater risk, knowing full well that the protests would have a high density of the very people they said were at greater risk.

    Take a look at the data below. These are US COVID-19 deaths as published by the CDC on June 17. The numbers are age-stratified and I’ve added the band percentage and the cumulative percentage at the right. You can see that people in Ben’s age group comprise just 0.68% of the total deaths. 80.73% of all deaths are of people 65 and older. 59.96% of deaths are of those 75 and older. At that age group, you are already bumping against average life expectancies. These data don’t even say anything about the fact that the vast majority of those dying have serious comorbidities. Divide the number of deaths below age 65 (19,913) by the population under 65 (I used 276,320,537) and you get 1 in 13,876. Just 1 in 13,876 people under age 65 have died, and these people were already unwell. I hope this has established just how age-specific the deadliness of this disease is and how unlikely it is the young and healthy will die from it. The tragedy of the pandemic is that the lockdowns didn’t do anything to protect those who were most vulnerable while destroying the livelihoods of tens of millions of people. Governors like Cuomo sent patients still sick with COVID-19 into nursing homes while claiming to protect every life. Lockdown hysterics screamed that we needed to “follow the science,” and yet those who should have known better did the exact opposite of what the science dictated.

    There is little reason to be afraid of your fellow passengers on a plane. There have been no reports of super-spreading events on any flights. The ventilation systems are quite robust. Just the fact that most people are wearing masks reduces any risk greatly. Total compliance is not necessary for increased safety. As for getting people convinced that it is okay to fly again, do you think that having to wear a mask indicates safety? People are overwhelmingly innumerate and negatively biased. They don’t comprehend the true risks. It is difficult to catch virus unless you spend an extended period of time in close proximity of someone who is sick and sending droplets or aerosol into the air in a space with poor ventilation. An airplane is not such a space. Also, people don’t talk all that much on planes and talking produces droplets. Unless you are directly adjacent to someone who is sick and constantly coughing without a mask, it is highly unlikely you will get COVID-19 from flying. You should be far, far more worried of dying in a car crash.

    Please, actually consider the data before you say anything about travelers putting others at risk. Lucky is not going to go from the slots at a casino straight to see his mother. Give him a little credit.

    Under 1 year 8 0.01% 0.01%
    1-4 years 5 0.00% 0.01%
    5-14 years 13 0.01% 0.03%
    15-24 years 125 0.12% 0.15%
    25-34 years 699 0.68% 0.82%
    35-44 years 1,780 1.72% 2.55%
    45-54 years 4,976 4.82% 7.36%
    55-64 years 12,307 11.91% 19.27%
    65-74 years 21,462 20.77% 40.04%
    75-84 years 27,529 26.64% 66.68%
    85 years and over 34,435 33.32% 100.00%
    Grand Total 103,339 100.00%

  91. There is something fundamentally wrong with REQUIRING others to take actions to protect others (even assuming it does any good).

    If you are worried about catching COVID, STAY HOME.

    If you want to travel anyway, protect yourself and wear a face shield. Knock off trying to shame others for your [purported] benefit.

  92. @cargocult So you think the only bad thing about coronavirus is death? It’s a serious illness that has sent plenty of people under 65 to the hospital. Read the many articles written by younger people who have experienced it. It’s much worse than the flu and it can last for weeks and even months. You can give it to older people around you and kill them. Sheesh, you people wear pants, don’t you? And somehow you can still celebrate the freedom of being an American. Wear a mask.

  93. Sorry to get serious for a moment but here’s a piece of intel that will keep you safe from the “follow the supreme leader” crowd who think it’s somehow Cool to flout wearing a mask in a pandemic:

    It is true that wearing a cloth mask simply protects those around you and not yourself. All they do is block (many) droplets and sneezes that come out of you and do little to nothing to protect you from others shedding around you.

    Pick up a N95 respirator mask or its KN95 cousin made in China (they are both the same specification). These products were originally reserved for Healthcare workers but now can be easily found on the web. These will protect you as well as those around you. Just make sure that what you buy is as follows:

    -FDA or NIOSH approved. Reputable sellers will post their certifications and put the FDA logo and registration number on the packaging.

    – Must be 4 ply including at least 1 ply of non-woven material (polypropylene)

    -Must meet FFP2 standard: 95% filtration of particles to 0.002 microns. There is an N99 model but that is overkill unless you are performing Surgery.

    Repeat: These masks will protect you from inhaling Covid19 and not just prevent you from shedding on others. They are technically disposable but can be cleaned by heating to 158 degrees F for half an hour, put under an ultraviolet light between using or let sit in a brown bag for a few days until any Covid19 collected on the outside of the mask is dead. Just google “clean my N95 mask” for exact instructions and DO NOT WASH..

    Travel safe, whether home or away !!

  94. At the moment situations like in NZ where Brits brought Covid-19 back in the country or Peking have a 2ndWave of infections etc. are proving people to be aware how potent this virus is. We should not let our guards down. Social distancing, compulsory wearing of masks on any public transportation and other health measures should be taken seriously. Being ignorant, selfish and antisocial are not helping and should be restrained by everyone. We can only survive this pandemic if everbody has a sense of obligation to itself and the others around him.

  95. Wow there are a bunch of idiotic comments here from the racist mask police crowd. FA are not the police and no they shouldn’t arrest someone for not doing so or divert the flight. What a bunch of drama. I choose to wear a mask on the plane and in other areas where I am close to a lot of people. That is my own damm choice and I am not going to impose my will on others like Justin and some of the others on this site.

  96. Sel D wrote “A vaccine isn’t coming any time soon, and the young and healthy should get infected to develop herd immunity, while the at-risk should stay home.”

    If a person takes this strategy, it’s no business of mine. That young, healthy people are having bad outcomes is well known, but everyone gets to decide what risk they are willing to take.

    The problem is when some decides what risks they want me to take. It’s not possible to entirely “stay home.” People need to go out to get food. Some people need to work. Because wearing a mask is primarily to protect other people from you, the only responsible thing is for everyone to wear a mask.

    Thing of it like driving drunk. We don’t make that illegal because a drunk person might kill themselves but because they might kill other people. Same for wearing a mask. You do so that if you are sick you don’t spread your sickness to someone else.

  97. @All in China and probably most other nations in Asia, it is a requirement that everyone wears a mask including even sweaty jobs in hot weather such as those construction workers. They are working everyday in the heat under the sun with masks on, so it is more about choice rather than condition.

  98. @Mark

    Did you actually read what I wrote? I never said COVID-19 wasn’t a serious illness. I also mentioned that the vulnerable should be protected. I don’t want to kill any grandmas, but try to smear me all you want. If you don’t want your grandma to die from COVID-19, tell her to stay at home. Simple! I’ve mentioned in other posts that I started wearing a mask in January. I’ve flown about 20 segments and 50,000 miles. I take proper precautions and practice good hygiene. I am merely stating the facts since so many people only pay attention to scary headline numbers and pointing out the failures of the so-called scientists. Ultimately, people should be allowed to make up their own minds about going out and traveling. Healthy people shouldn’t be treated the same as the vulnerable and the economy shouldn’t be destroyed on the basis of fear. As for the reports of extended illness in the young and damage to lungs in even asymptomatic people, these are also sensationalistic reports of rare, atypical incidents in the former case and subclinical ground-glass opacities in the latter. Do you actually read the papers being reported on or do you just read the headlines and credulous reporting? I’ve also looked at papers regarding prevalence of GGOs in other influenzas, namely H1N1, which infected between 700 million and 1.4 billion people globally. GGO prevalence seems to have been much higher than those reported in the recent Scripps paper. Were people on mask patrol and losing their minds over the swine flu? Common sense is sorely lacking and the sensationalizing and flip-flopping by the media and public health officials destroyed any trust the public had in them. People should have been wearing masks all along, but the experts and officials blew it.

  99. Ben, I have read this blog for 6+years. I’m a big fan of you and Tiffany. I have applied for several cards through your links over the years.

    That being said, this face mask madness is out of control. Who gives a fcuk who wears a mask. If your ok to ride a plane then just stop it. I’m so tired of the mask policy. I will wear it required but if I’m simply breathing what is the benefit to others if I’m wearing a mask? If I sneeze I will sneeze into my sleeve or my mask. But I don’t have the disease so this hole thing is stupid. I could care less who has a mask on around me.

  100. We shouldn’t even have to enforce wearing a face mask. Thats just something responsible people and non-knuckle heads should be doing anyway. There is a reason why all of the asian countries dealt with this pandemic far better than the usa. They don’t need to be told to wear masks. They’ve been doing it for years. They were wearing masks since before we call this pandemic a pandemic so they were already protected. There is no reason why cities that are far more densely populated than nyc like Seoul, tokyo, bangkok and manilla should have such a lower rate of incidents than most US cities. Thats just insanity. And for all those who decided to turn it into a political issue, I get why your life is so terrible because you make terrible life decisions like politicizing masks. I support your “constitutional” right to not wear a mask and when you get sick, feel free to stay home and ride it out like the tough guy that you are and don’t show up at the doorsteps of my hospital begging a doctor/nurse to risk their life for you.

  101. Yes, require masks at all times but people are given a 10 minute interval to eat and drink. After that, one minute per half hour is allowed to eat or drink with no mask.

    Everyone but toddlers must wear masks. May receive medical exemptions if you apply ahead of time like pregnant women.

    Stop idiots from killing others with Covid

  102. 1) Young and healthy people are having extremely few bad outcomes. People under 15 for example were 15-20x more likely to die from the flu than Covid-19 from 2/1-5/31.

    2) Antibody studies show the vast majority of people show no symptoms at all (eg: 10% of NC pop showed antibodies, NY was around 18% in late April). The cdc cross-tab shows this really attacks you the older you get and if you have two or more comorbidities. If you have those or are elderly, traveling makes no sense period and self isolating makes senses. You actually want healthy people to get mild cases to get herd immunity. Remember the entire point of the shut downs and bend the curve was to prevent the hospitals from being overwhelmed not to eliminate all transmission.

    3) So many Karen’s posting here. Masks are marginally better than nothing but people are acting like it’s the end all be all. Better to simply not allow sick people on the plane.

    4) I’ve never seen so much media driven hysteria in my entire life. Yes, it’s a bad virus but it’s not the end of the world. The US and Europe all cause mortality rates are barely higher than normal, meaning the vast majority of people who died were close to dying anyway.

    Feel free to hide in your home or be scared of your fellow humans. I am not

  103. Read through the comment section and you will instantly realize why our society is f*cked up. Childish behavior, condescending tone, and outright offensive.

  104. Get over yourself Joe. The reasons that everyone wears a mask in China and other countries is because if they don’t they go to jail!!! If you like this kind of draconian enforcement move to Beijing.

  105. Wearing a mask shouldn’t even be a political or controversial issue ,people should be wearing a mask without any complaints or issues ,but unfortunately this America where even the smallest of issues are controversial. Look at Asian countries like Japan,Thailand and Vietnam where people had zero issues wearing a mask and now look at how low there cases are, and then look at states like Arizona,Texas and Alabama where virtually nobody wears a mask and now there cases are soaring and out of control . Wearing a masks has been proven to slow down the spread of the coronavirus but of course there going to be dumb idiots out there who believe that this some kind of hoax when in reality it is a proven fact.

  106. I’m gonna start smoking again. And light up on planes. Seems like a good percentage of idiots out there would respect that this is my choice and I could get away with it. If others don’t like it, or are allergic or compromised by it, well, they can just stay at home.

    Woot, let’s bring back the 70’s!

  107. Long answer short: it’s ‘Merika!

    Extreme freedom view and a broken legal system combined with current political environment. And when was the last time US had an “official” epidemic? No media tell you year after year we are in flu pandemic right? Did you see Americans wearing mask?

    Health in the US is your personal responsibility. Get a hazmat suit, gloves, full face cover and N95s if you need to travel

  108. @cargocult: “Just 1 in 13,876 people under age 65 have died, and these people were already unwell.”

    Congrats on your x-ray vision that allowed you to circumvent HIPAA for the tens of thousands of people under age 65 who died and determine they were already unwell.

    Back to reality: I know seven people who had coronavirus. Two died. They were both under 40 and were not “already unwell”. But I’m sure you already knew that given your superpowers.

  109. Easy solution, wear a sign saying ‘free slaps if you don’t wear a mask, and then deliver on the promise. For those reluctant to be slapped, a punch in the face would suffice.

    🙂

  110. @Stuart: your analogy is spot on

    There is zero debate in the medical community that wearing masks helps stem the spread of disease. They are effective. Not perfect nor a total solution. But effective.

    A large chunk of our society seems to have little interest in science, data, and facts these days but continues to hunger for ways to politicize and polarize things. Yet, with the many, many topics that 2020 has gifted us with to fight about on the internet…people pick masks???

    People, we have not contained covid. So we wear masks now in public. Not out of fear, but out of wisdom and respect for disease.

  111. I’m not a medical professional, but if me wearing a mask protects others, and everyone else wears a mask, wouldn’t that help cut down on the transmission of the virus because we are all protecting each other?

  112. It’s just shocking that wearing face masks became a political thing… What’s next? Will washing hands or flushing toilets become political as well?

  113. I was personally surprised by the number of FAs walking around SLC airport not wearing masks when I flew on Saturday. My own Delta trip report (SLC-ATL-CLT) can be found here if you are curious, although it is not nearly as good as yours Lucky: https://beautahfulworld.com/what-is-it-like-to-fly-right-now/

    I fly home on American on Sunday (CLT-DFW-SLC) and I plan to update then and compare the two.

    For reference I am Diamond on Delta and EP on American.

  114. @All Try wearing a mask, gown, gloves, face shield and hat while operating all day under intense OR lights. Yes I judge anyone who won’t wear a mask to sit on a plane for a few hours.

  115. @Rob A study that came out last week showed that 56% of asymptomatic COVID+ patients had subclinical lung damage on imaging.

    We are a very long way from the 85% herd immunity needed, and there will
    be significant damage along the way. Sweden isn’t doing so well with death rates and antibody positivity.

  116. I’ve been flying the past several weeks. If you are pro mask fly Delta. No mask fly American.

  117. @KW,

    What have “intense OR lights” got to do with your comfort? Surely, your OR has been fitted out with LED lighting, which generates very little heat?

  118. 1. All the comments from informed and uninformed sources doesn’t change the basic truth concerning mask wearing:

    Cases /1m Death/1m
    USA 6,840 365
    Japan 140 7

    We are all trying to return to some degree of normality, whether it’s flying, vacations or just going to the malls. Anything that can aid that should be welcome, for the good of all. Just to say “stay at home” is not an answer.

    2. Flight attendants make announcements concerning no smoking regulations and seat belts. There is no reason why they should not include that mask wearing is compulsory on their flight. Even to the extent that, as in turbulence a special announcement can be made after a meal service that masks should now be replaced. And, as with seat belts, inspections carried out.

    It seems to me that anyone not caring enough about fellow citizens is just guilty of abject selfishness. Perhaps nothing new there, maybe.

    This “devil take the hindmost” attitude towards those vulnerable, as if they do not and never did matter by just leaving them at home is not a solution.

    Any precaution against the spread of any virus is welcome. Social distancing and masks can greatly help. No, they are not the ultimate, but they help.

  119. Just to make clear:

    USA
    Cases per 1m ———-6,840
    Deaths per 1m ———–365
    JAPAN
    Cases per 1m ————-140
    Deaths per 1m —————7
    Japan 100% wearing masks

  120. I’d like to see as much outrage at the riots/protests where there was no distancing, limited mask usage. Just cheap points scoring.

    If this worries you so much, than drive.

  121. Well… Since we’re getting rid of law enforcement altogether in this country, there should be a open carry law at the federal level, let everyone carry weapons, and see how it plays out. *rolling eyes emoji* Ridiculous! We just need a good dictatorship in this country, and let’s see how people talk about their so-called rights. We are spoiled brats in this country.

  122. @Stuart and @RandomMD

    Really? A comparison to smoking? I know where you’re coming from, but can’t you think of a better analogy?

    First, people are capable of developing an immunity to and antibodies against viruses. No such capability exists for smoke. Smoking is therefore 100% harmful to those around you, while breathing out a virus is not.

    Second, RandomMD, your science presumes that everyone breathing has COVID-19. Many people do not and, thus, their choice to not wear a mask introduces no danger to you whatsoever. A mask cannot help slow the spread of this virus when worn by someone who does not possess it.

  123. @Roger, ok, I will just eat a bowl of lentils before the flight and fart relentlessly next to you. Bet you wear a mask then with no problem!

    Seriously, in the words of Sgt. Hulka, “Lighten up Francis.”

    It’s a silly mask. You anti-maskers are worse than whiny children at a candy store. In fact, a good cloth muzzle is just what you need so you will all sit down and shut the heck up with your 4-year old ranting.

  124. Panda – many countries are keeping up with comorbidities. For example, in Italy, 98% of those that died had at least one comorbidity and 70% has two or more

    KW – I cannot find the study you are referencing and I did look for it. I highly doubt that would be the case as hardly anyone is complaining about increased trouble breathing, which if nearly 60% getting it including assymptomatic a lot would.

    Sweden’s death rate is actually in the better half of Europe. Yes it’s a bit worse per capita than it’s immediate neighbors but 1) most of those came from nursing homes – which is where the primary focus should have always been (NY anyone?) 2) stockholm has far more international tourists than its neighbors and had far more seeds. 3) they purposefully didn’t bend the curve as much — as I mentioned earlier – the bend the curve was not irradiate the virus, it was to make sure the hospitals were not overwhelmed. And they aren’t. In fact many are empty and they had 1.5 million furloughs and layoffs in the industry in April and May in the US.

    Personally, masks on a plane makes more sense than in the store, as the data shows prolonged exposure greatly increases the risks, while brief area exposure does not transmit well.

  125. I am glad many Americans chose to die on this hill called face masks. You are making your parents and grand parents who fought in WW1, WW2, Vietnam, Korea, Gulf proud. It is also time for the government of America to stop chestthumping that they are the super power of the world. As honest Abe recognized, no country can withstand an enemy within. It is time to declare the Trump cult domestic terrorists and take care of them accordingly.

  126. This comment section is unbelievable.

    And Ben, I think you really go over the top with your mask militancy. You knew exactly what would await you so why act like a princess?

    The expectation that 99.9% of all people would wear a face covering is unrealistic and for those who pin their hopes on some mystical vaccine I guarantee you that max 60% of the population will go get it. If at all.

  127. @Ben – On a completely different note – how was the flight and service/amenities? Were you guys up front or sat in the back? Were middle seats blocked? Was first class full? Was anything offered? Drinks/snacks/meals/etc? Considering that’s a pretty long flight I’m curious to know what was offered in the various classes.

  128. @UpperDeckJohnny – great data point. Mask wearing in Japan = almost no cases (by U.S. standards) in a country with much higher population density and use of mass transit.
    @Gerard – really intriguing thought on self-separating people who do/do not wish to wear a mask.
    @Lucky – could you look at using your platform/voice/contacts to helping to see if what Gerard suggests could potentially be feasible? E.g., could we get something like —
    > Designate certain sections as only being for mask-wearers, others for non-mask-wearers. (e.g., left vs. right side, front vs. back)
    > Create a separation/barrier between the groups (e.g., curtain) that comes down during the flight. Ideally something that can be easily re-configured, to adjust for differences in a given flight’s composition of mask-wearers vs. non-wearers.
    > Designate certain flights as “masks encouraged but not required” and others as “masks required”. This would be trickier while there are fewer flights, but seems feasible if volumes pick up (e.g., on routes where there used to be multiple flights a day).

    There will likely be a lot of logistics that need to be solved, but something like this could significantly increase people’s comfort getting back to flying, myself included. So I would think the airlines would have incentive to explore these types of options.

  129. @Nick

    It’s telling that the fact that Fauci admitting to lying about the efficacy of masks doesn’t register in your mind. It doesn’t matter that he was trying to protect PPE supplies for health care workers. He discouraged people from even making and wearing homemade ones. What happened on April 3 to change his mind?

    @KW

    I already mentioned this study. Clearly you do not understand the meaning of the term “subclinical.”

    @Rob

    The paper came out of Scripps last week.

    https://www.acpjournals.org/doi/full/10.7326/M20-3012?journalCode=aim

    It mentions that 54% of 76 asymptomatic patients from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Yokohama, Japan, showed subclinical ground-glass opacities in their CT scans. I don’t think a group of cruise passengers is a representative sample, but I think other studies I read didn’t note differences in GGOs between young and old patients. I could be wrong, of course. Fearmongering news stories don’t mention that the paper uses the term “subclinical.” Also, reporters are too lazy or incompetent to do a bit of research and discover that prevalence of GGOs for H1N1 was often much higher than 54%. One study from Brazil noted 95%. Do you remember the global H1N1 pandemic and the panic and fear it induced? The worldwide lockdowns and travel bans? Hmmm?

    @Matt

    Do you know what those soldiers (supposedly) died for? Freedom. Being ordered to stay at home for a threat that is not existential is not freedom. Being ordered to wear a mask for a threat that is not existential is not freedom. This is not to say people shouldn’t be wearing masks. I started wearing one when traveling in January. I keep repeating that elected and public health officials failed in their duties, flip-flopped on their recommendations (and no, it is not because they later discovered the virus could spread asymptomatically; they knew that early on) and outright lying. It is not surprising that many people among an already independent-minded population would end up skeptical of the party line.

    @UpperDeckJohnny
    Japan was smart enough to recommend that everyone wear masks; why did Fauci recommend against it until April? PPE supplies for heath care workers could have been protected while regular folks could make homemade masks before April 3 just as easily as after. People can blame Trump and his deplorable followers all they want (not that you did), but it is public health officials who should have known better who fed misinformation and lies. Tedros politicized the pandemic from the very beginning and Fauci is on record admitting that he lied about masks. Do the “experts” have any credibility except among the credulous anymore?

    @panda
    It is unfortunate that Nick Cordero lost his leg, but that anecdote is hardly typical. As far as I can tell, his is the only case of an amputation due to COVID-19 infection. I’ve seen other cases of amputation with COVID-19, but not from (a distinction people too often forget to make).

    As for people being unwell, I would call 80+% of COVID-19 deaths having at least one comorbidity present a problem among an unwell group. I don’t need to violate HIPAA to know that diabetics, hypertensives and the fat are at much greater risk of dying from COVID-19. In Italy the comorbidity rate is as high as 96%. French data indicate that for those under 40 death is 134 times more likely for a patient with a relevant comorbidity than without. 134 TIMES.

    COVID-19 can be deadly, but it isn’t for most people and the lockdown is causing deaths by preventing treatment of patients with other very serious conditions. The response of public health officials has been an abject failure. They recommended against masks, which are the most effective way to deal with the virus, and then shamed deplorable protesters who wanted to reopen the economy while lionizing protesters for a protected class when that protected class is actually at greater risk from the virus. Fauci, Cuomo, et al. have blood on their hands.

  130. @Stuart

    You’re funny. Of course I would be wearing a mask on the airplane, as I stated initially. It is the current policy.

    I would not use one to counter your digestive challenges, however. As I’m sure you would discover upon researching the matter, odor molecules are nanometers in size, smaller by at least an order of magnitude than the COVID-19 virus. The fabric mesh of even a surgical mask cannot block particulates of this diameter.

    I think a better analogy for your argument is that of asking passengers to wear shirts and pants. We do this as a courtesy to avoid offending certain of our fellow passengers. If the majority of crew and passengers are uncomfortable being surrounded by a few individuals not wearing masks, then a socially-inspired mask policy based on this as the justification is worth enacting. This is a pro-mask defense that is much more difficult to refute.

  131. Wow, this blog entry has me wondering what has happened to America. The American people, have ALWAYS come together in times of crisis. We have more American deaths in less than 7 months than Pearl Harbor and 9/11. Yet, we lived through Gasoline, Food and Clothing rationing in World War Two. We now arrive that the airport sometimes hours early for TSA screenings because of 9/11. But we won’t wear a stupid mask on an airplane for a few hours to protect our fellow Americans. What has changed in our thought process? Have we really evolved to its all about me?

    When Pearl Harbor was bombed, approximately 2,400 people were killed on that day. America entered WWII and responded with many different sacrifices, including the rationing food, gasoline and even clothing. At the end of the war America had lost approximately 405,000 lives. But we banded together and sacrificed at the beginning of the war. I don’t mean to dismiss the deaths in other counties, but I want to focus on America.

    When 9/11/2001 occurred, first responders traveled across the country to New York City to help. We lost about 2,871 Americans in the immediate attack, FDNY lists another 204 deaths from the related illnesses, NYPD lists 241 officers, who knows how many others. America was outraged banded together then. America went to war and lost about 7,000 military personnel in the Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. This group in particular now puts up with long lines for TSA screenings, occasional pat downs, needing to arrive at the airport sometimes hours early, we pay for Clear or TSAPRE to cut wait times. All as a result of 2,871 deaths.

    In 2020, The Corona Virus invaded America, Per the CDC (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/cases-in-us.html ) , almost 2,156,000 cases, nearly 118,000 deaths. Per the CDC’s COVIDNet (https://gis.cdc.gov/grasp/COVIDNet/COVID19_3.html ), hospitalizations are still going up, as of June 6th, there have been 90 per 100,000 of population (Statistics based on 14 states reporting). Per Wikipedia. There are ONLY SIX countries in the world that have HIGHER death rates per million people than the United States per Statista.com (https://www.statista.com/statistics/1104709/coronavirus-deaths-worldwide-per-million-inhabitants/ ). There are ONLY FIVE countries in the world with HIGHER confirmed COVID cases per million than the United States per Statista.com (https://www.statista.com/chart/21176/covid-19-infection-density-in-countries-most-total-cases/ ). Per CNBC TV today, new cases of COVID-19 hit a 2 week high in the U.S., but the seven day average number of deaths is trending down. It affects young (17 and younger, 8.7 deaths from COVID per 100,000) and old (18 and older, 462 deaths per 100,000) alike (statistics from COVIDNet). Are we willing to sacrifice people simply because we refuse to take one simple action that may or does reduce the likelihood of transmitting the disease?

    We have always responded to help each other and the world, now we can’t even agree to wear a mask for a few hours on an airplane to protect ourselves and others, to fight this disease that invaded America. Even our President alluded to this being a war, by calling himself a War Time President.

    But we still can’t agree on wearing a mask. Yes the recommendations changed, smart people evolve in their thinking and thought process as conditions change and merit change. I bet you leave earlier for your flight when there is now on the ground, you changed your reaction based on evidence.

    Again, you still won’t wear a mask. Don’t be foolish, let’s all protect each other and protect ourselves in the process until we get a vaccination.

  132. @cargocult

    Very few hypertensives are “unwell”. Most are perfectly fine with blood pressure medication. Comorbidities does not automatically equal unwell.

  133. If you’re interested in comparing neighboring countries that have followed polar opposite policies regarding COVID-19, look at Brazil and Paraguay.

  134. @DenverDean

    The fact that you bring up deaths of kids under 17 demonstrates you are an innumerate fearmonger. I posted the CDC data as of June 17. Do you know how many kids under 15 have died of COVID-19 in the US? 26. And people under 25? 151 (that includes the 26 under 15s). 151 young people in a country of almost 330 million. You want to lock everyone up and prevent an entire generation of young people from getting proper educations and socialization in the face of 151 young deaths? To compare the pandemic deaths to Pearl Harbor or 9/11 is disingenuous as a huge portion of the deaths are self-inflicted. Over 40% of the deaths are from nursing homes. Why is that? Why didn’t officials act to protect the vulnerable instead of sending sick people directly to them? Cuomo issued a directive that nursing homes had to take patients sick with COVID-19 that stood for over a month when the vulnerability of the elderly was already well known. Then he changed his tune from “just one life” to “people are going to die.” Yes, thanks to you, Governor. Before that Cuomo resisted placing restrictions on New York, allowing the virus to spread in the most densely populated transportation hub in the country. The credibility of our leaders and experts was squandered months ago. “You do it to yourself, you do, and that’s what really hurts.”

    @panda
    Are you joking? If you have to take medication, you are managing a condition, but are you really well? What are the main risk factors for hypertension besides old age, race and family history? Number one: BEING FAT. Also lack of exercise, smoking, poor diet, too much alcohol and stress. Do you call that being well? Americans are fat. This is a far worse health crisis than COVID-19. Metabolic syndrome kills millions and hospitals have to deal with patients suffering from conditions related to being FAT. How does one become fat? By consuming more calories than he uses. An individual action for which everyone has to pay the cost. But, yes, keep blaming healthy people for not wearing masks. Cuomo didn’t order viral bombs into nursing homes. Fauci didn’t tell the public that masks were unnecessary, even harmful. Deplorable Trump supporters were rioting across the country with the approval of public health officials. Yes, comrade, I see the truth now.

  135. @Cargo – yup – I know a guy in his mid 40s they had a blood clot, went into the hospital and they sent him home because of covid-19. Died of an aneurysm that night. Suicide rates are also going to be alarmingly high this year. CDC data says if you are under 50, the risk is about the same as the flu, and much lower if under 20. The key is to have the at risk stay home and isolate, not destroy the economy and scare the entire country of its neighbors.

  136. Rob – Sweden’s death rate is not in the better half of Europe. It is currently at 500/1M, with only Belgium (which counts deaths as COVID-related far more liberally than pretty much any other country), the UK (which has had serious issues in its own response to COVID), Spain, and Italy at higher rates. Spain and Italy have basically stabilized – I’d bet that Sweden passes them within the next month or so.

    And it’s not “a bit worse per capita” than its neighbors. Norway has 45 deaths/1M (more than 11 times less than Sweden), Denmark has 104/1M (about 5 times less), Finland has 59/1M (more than 8 times less), and Iceland has 29/1M (more than 17 times less).

  137. I’m exhausted by all of this and disappointed that this forum that I used to get so much enjoyment out of is now filled with face mask debates.
    On the flights I took compliance was very high. But there is always going to be somebody who is a jerk.

  138. @cargocult

    So much anger lol. Have you missed your daily dose of lysol and hydroxychloroquine that your glorious leader Dr T has prescribed?

  139. @CargoCult

    I merely stated facts and statistics, questioning why we are arguing about wearing a mask, when / if it might save someones life ( I don’t know if you do or don’t wear one, I didn’t research you comments, maybe you do)

    I am stating what has happened with Anerica where we have sacrificed for events with a lower loss of life we cannot all get on the same page, and do something so simple and painless to try and save lives?

    Regarding 9/11, Why do we put up with hours of our lives waiting for security screening at the airport. I am comparing the daily / cumulative impact on our lives for roughly 10,000 lost lives. Yet when we have about 118,000 deaths we argue about wearing a mask? I question our collective logic.

  140. David – Yes, I just went and re-looked up the data – it is a bit higher but .05% death rate is well below the average of Europe as the bigger countries have higher death rates (eg: france is also very close to Sweden). Smaller, less populated and less visited countries/states will have lower issues/capita (eg: Montana). Regardless, compared to most of the West, it’s death rate is not bad and they didn’t shut down. The death rate is closely correlated to 4 things – 1) Nursing homes that got hit hard (Italy, Sweden, UK, NY, etc) 2) Dense areas, especially with a lot of public transit and 3) areas with a lot of in-bound international trips 4) areas with obesity and other co-morbidities. Smaller countries and states that don’t have that have very low rates.

    Lastly, 5,000 people out of 10 million is a blip. A sad blip, but still a blip. It would barely register on all the all cause mortality statistics. Let’s not get carried away and keep things in perspective. People are no longer scared of dying of cancer at 70, a heart attack at 45, a car accident at 20, a suicide at 15, but dying at 80 of COVID in a nursing home has everyone peeing in their pants.

  141. And this is why the US travel industry won’t rebound for awhile. Of all the possible places you can be while crowded next to other people, a plane is probably the worst. (Does all the filtration work if the plane is sitting on the tarmac for an hour?). Businesses will be reluctant to insist on business travel if their employees are worried about flying (or could sue if they get sick traveling). Other countries won’t want American tourists as long as so many are covidiots and it will only get worse leading up to the November election and beyond. The ‘me me me me’ attitudes expressed here just adds to stereotypes of ugly Americans.

  142. @panda

    LOL!!! You think I voted for Trump? You have nothing substantive to say in response, so of course you turn to insults. I’ll just assume you’re a typical obese, innumerate American. You are most welcome to stay locked up at home while wearing a mask and cowering in fear of having your leg amputated. I’ll be enjoying myself in Italy.

    @DenverDean

    Are you really going to go with the “just one life” trope? Even Cuomo has given up on that. If you are going to respond to me, could you do me the courtesy of reading what I have written?

    I certainly wish the US were a higher-trust society. I hope Americans still have enough common sense so that they will do the right thing voluntarily. Leaders and public health officials failed them. The desire of people on the left to impose the measures they think are necessary on everyone else show that they are just as authoritarian as they imagine Trump to be. As with the demands of Black Lives Matter to abolish racism (BLM are Marxists who uphold people like Mao over Jefferson; opposing BLM does not mean supporting racism, just as opposing lockdowns was not supporting grandma killing), the cure for COVID-19 was worse than the cure. Lockdowns were imposed incompetently. Good intentions (I will give officials the benefit of the doubt) are not enough. People have become so coddled that they are willing to give up all their liberties at the first sniff of death.

    It’s funny that you bring up TSA security theater. I put up with it because I have to. TSA is a make-work program, not a security service. That you think it is an effective response to imagined threats to air travel is revealing. If anything should be abolished, it is the TSA, not the police.

  143. @Roger

    This is not “my” science. It is just science.

    You are correct that if somebody doesn’t have the disease, them wearing a mask won’t prevent them from already being unable to spread it. Not wearing a mask will certainly make them more susceptible, to a variable degree, to getting the disease however.

    But the pretext to your assertion is one of the biggest problems we’re grappling with…we have no way currently to say with confidence who does and doesn’t have the disease as they get on the plane. Given that wearing masks/face coverings is non-invasive, safe, cheap, and simple it’s among the best options we have to try to turn the economy back on in an otherwise crappy situation.

  144. I wouldn’t even want to begin trying to nudge/shame/coerce people into wearing masks. It just invites trouble.

    You’ll get people that honestly act like someone is murdering everyone on that plane by not wearing one, so in their head they are justified in taking matters into their own hands to the extreme. Then you’ll also have people on the other end that see masks as a political statement and infringement on their rights, and in turn react in an extreme way.

    Leave the enforcement to the business entities that put the policies in place. If they can’t enforce their own policies, perhaps they shouldn’t be making them. Or if they step up enforcement with real consequences then perhaps they’ll be taken more seriously.

  145. @cargocult
    I did not say shut down the world, where the heck did you get that in my post. I did ask why we are arguing about wearing a mask? I figure everyone on this board has an above average IQ, probably uses common sense, does the right things to protect others with car insurance, not driving drunk, etc.

    I am asking what in the world has you and others so confident that masks are don’t help and are so [ MAD | Frustrated | ???] at others you refuse to wear one on the off chance they might actually protect someone else?

    I’m wondering if I am a fool for caring and trying to help others throughout my life. I have volunteered at Children’s Hospital for more than 20 years, I was a founding member of an animal rescue that has been in existence for more than 25 years. Every trash day, I put out more recycling than trash, I drive an electric car. Not to make the world a better place for me or my kids, I don’t have any but to make the world a better place for others.

    It’s such a simple thing that might help. This whole conversation just has me wondering what has happened in our society that we no longer care for each other, and won’t try to help each other, even if we are not 100% certain it does help. Gee….

  146. @panda

    I will just assume you are in innumerate fatbody like so many Americans since you couldn’t say anything to refute what I said about comorbidities and instead turned to insults.

    @DenverDean

    Why should be you be concerned about young people catching COVID-19 when their deaths are exceedingly rare? Shouldn’t you worry more about the elderly who are at far greater risk? Officials didn’t bother to think through how best to protect them and instead subjected everyone to unnecessary misery. It is infuriating to know that the lockdowns resulted in so much personal and economic devastation but did virtually nothing to protect the most vulnerable.

    I never said I opposed wearing masks. If anything, I wish everyone had started wearing masks as soon as we saw what was happening in Wuhan. I was just explaining why so many Americans might be skeptical of them. Government officials have been quick to abrogate the rights of people who aren’t actually sick and are at very low risk of dying from the virus.

    It’s telling that you bring up TSA security theater in reference to wearing masks. I would defund the TSA before touching any police budget. Too much of what has been done for COVID-19 was pandemic theater. You aren’t helping your fellow man by so freely submitting to abrogations of your rights.

    You sound like a kind and considerate person, but not everyone will be so conscientious and we just have to accept that. Trying to force compliance from the top down doesn’t work well. Those who have common sense (or are just compliant) will do the right thing (people all around the world were starting to shelter-in-place before lockdown orders were even issued). Those who bristle at being told what to do will resist no matter what. Would you have police enforcing mask policies? Maybe the low-information sorts wouldn’t be as unwilling to wear masks if they hadn’t been lied to. In any case, I wouldn’t get worked up over a few non-compliant passengers. We’re not going to solve reduce anti-social behavior until we desegregate society racially, socio-economically and politically, and that won’t happen anytime soon.

  147. @cargocult

    There’s no use in continuing debate with someone who thinks they’re auditioning for a spot on Fox News. It’s clear you are more interested in propaganda than facts.

  148. There’s very little evidence of transmission between children or from children to adults, so pretty pointless kids wearing masks.

  149. If you’re scared of other people, don’t go near other people. It’s that simple.

    Forcing people to wear masks is useless. Can you enforce wearing a piece of cloth around their face? Probably yes. Can you enforce wearing it properly? Not at all. For example, KLM states masks should be changed every 4 hours. How on earth do you enforce that? I have been using mine for 2 weeks now and I’m not gonna carry multipacks of face masks everytime I go out. Same goes for storing the mask. If you expect people to keep it in sanitary conditions, you are dreaming. Most people store them in their pockets, purses, etc.

    And do you seriously expect that people will wash their hands every time they touch their mask? LOL. Nope. Yesterday I saw a guy passing tickets to a train conductor with the same hand he kept using to adjust his mask before.

    Luckily, here in central Europe the mask craze seems to be over and mask requirements are gradually being withdrawn. Even in situations where they are required, mask rules are being increasingly ignored, including by staff members (waiters in restaurants, conductors on trains, etc.). No one cares anymore.

  150. @panda

    I am not a Fox News watcher, but studies have shown that it is the least biased of the major news outlets. Of course, you don’t care about data or “science.” Dress up your anecdotes as science; I am not fooled. You just threw “Fox News” out there as an epithet, revealing what your own political bias is. You remind me of a philosophy professor at Yale, Jason Stanley, who has written books on propaganda and fascism, but bullies and threatens other academics whose work he does not approve of and tries to ruin their careers. Mind you, it’s not the level of your discourse that reminds me of him, merely your unreflective hypocrisy.

    I have never said people shouldn’t wear masks. I am fairly certain I started wearing one before anyone else who reads this blog. I am pointing out why there is such resistance to the lockdown and wearing masks and how our elected leaders and public health officials have failed us. If you want people to trust you, maybe you should tell them the truth. A noble lie (as with masks) is still a lie.

    @kw

    Are you really a surgeon or do you play one on the internet? Your posts don’t indicate to me that you have medical training. Do you know what “subclinical” means?

  151. It is sad to see how political these blogs have become. I suspect that most of those supporting the wearing of masks on planes also support the Floyd protesters where we all know social distancing is not practiced at all, and mask wearing sure appears to be optional.
    Why the double standard??

  152. 1). Studies have shown that people who get their news from Fox know less factual info than people who watch no news at all
    2). People marching outdoors while wearing masks is not the same as sitting in a closed metal tube (like an airplane) for hours without a mask
    3). People who won’t follow sensible rules in a pandemic should not be entitled to medical care that risks the health of medical personnel – so just stay home if you get sick

  153. @LK

    You just proved my point.

    Those who protest somehow believe they are immune yet being in close proximity to an infected person who is yelling is a recipe for disaster.

  154. @Alan
    Interesting that you’re so sad that the blog becomes “political” and then you immediately bring up the George Floyd protests which really don’t have a thing to do with wearing masks on planes. But, since you asked, it’s entirely possible to support protesters without being one, or to go out to a protest with a mask and standing at a safe distance. It’s not usually possible to remove yourself to a safe distance if you’re on a plane. Also, most of the protesters I’ve seen have been wearing masks. However, being fairly COVID cautious, I chose not to join the protests.

    As for airlines, last time I checked about 75-80% of the people supported wearing masks. So if all these people follow the advice of mask-freedom people and stay home, the airlines will go broke because the small minority of mask-haters isn’t a big enough population to support the business. The answer is, for airlines, restaurants, theaters, and every other business, forget the politics and wear the mask.

  155. Wow. I get discouraged by the sheer amount of stupidity and lack of critical thinking on display in the world sometimes. How did we get to the point where wearing masks to prevent a pandemic has become a political issue?

  156. What do you people wondering why people don’t just wear the masks understand? There is a non-trivial number of people who just don’t like to be told what to do and this has been compounded by the mendacious and incompetent handling of the pandemic by people who should have known better. Does it surprise you that people who already distrust the government would not want to follow its diktats after finding out that they had been lied to (and not just about masks)? Those who claim that the pandemic hasn’t been politicized are delusional. Saying that protests for reopening the economy are grandma-killing but protests against racism are essential is blatantly political. From a safety perspective or otherwise, even if my fellow passengers were not wearing masks, I would much rather be sitting on a plane than standing amidst a chanting crowd of protesters. Anyone in either place should be willing to bear the tiny risk that he might contract COVID-19. If not, stay at home. For all of you TDS-afflicted scolds who think I don’t wear a mask, I repeat, I started wearing a mask in January. How about you?

  157. I understand people’s idea that they should get to choose to wear or not wear mask.

    However, the situation is such that I can’t protect myself 100% by wearing a mask. I’m reliant on others to protect me when they wear one. If I could protect myself I wouldn’t care what others did. So I simply reject any notion that “you worry about you, I worry about me”; it just doesn’t work in this situation. A simple analogy is if you don’t shower and smelled bad. I can’t really not worry about you because you’re affecting me. Imagine sitting next to someone on the plane like that.

    This isn’t a political opinion, it’s just scientific fact. If you want to argue against it then there’s really nothing more to say. If you want to believe the earth is flat I guess that’s your choice.

  158. I am a Pulmonary/Critical Care Physician from NYC, and definitely have had my fair share of COVID-19 experience taking care of scores of people all under 50, many of whom did not survive it, and those that did are still on tracheostomies and will likely be pulmonary cripples. I have had more patients die in the ICU the past 3 months than the last 6 years combined. I also had it myself, and thankfully I was barely symptomatic, only lost my sense of smell, but my colleague died from it. I have never felt this ineffective treating something. It is serious for a significant subset of people with approximately 10-20% of people hospitalized from it.

    My pet-peeve with the masks are those who wear the n-95 or n-99 masks with the plastic valve in the middle. They completely defeat the purpose of wearing masks in that sure, if properly fit tested and worn with a proper seal will protect you. But that plastic piece in the middle is a one-way valve that spews out your aerosols completely unfiltered, defeating the purpose of preventing aerosol spread. Most wearing these would be better off not wearing any mask.

  159. People not wearing face masks in the USA, are breaking no laws.
    If people are uncomfortable around others not wearing face masks on an airplane, then they can choose not to fly.
    Your health is your responsibility and no one elses, period.

  160. @cargocult

    You said it much better than me. I would only add that many of the protests against lockdowns were conducted by people in cars so at least they respected social distancing.

    If the airlines actually cared about their passengers they would focus on requiring travelers to test negative for covid or positive for antibodies rather than requiring masks. Even with a mask the infected person sitting next to you can still infect you. The only question that needs to be answered is how many days after becoming infected can you transmit the disease. I see other countries requiring a test within 72 hours of boarding and I would want to ensure that is not too long.

  161. @cargocult

    I sincerely hope you enjoy Italy and don’t waste time there trolling on the Internet.

  162. Good evening Lucky,

    I must say I enjoy reading your posts very much. I am a retired pilot with a major airline in Canada. My wife and sons are flying as well. In Canada it is the law to wear a mask in the terminal and on board. My wife is the purser who must ensure that it is enforced.

    Just saying this is how we are handling it in Canada, so far not very much pushback.

    Regards Dorothy and Brian

  163. @Alan

    You seem to have missed my point. Planes are “safe spaces.” There has not been a single super-spreader event on a plane.

    @panda

    I’ll slip an extra gamberone on the griglia for ya!

    G’Day! (We haven’t seen much of DCS lately…)

    Oh, and fellow readers, in case it wasn’t clear, any use of “LOL” on my part is sarcastic. I find it abhorrent.

  164. Thanks to @cargocult, I now fully understand the levels of selfishness and disregard for community that exists in this country for “freedoms” that infringe on others. (Also, your referencing Fox News as the “least biased” and using “TDS” belies your leanings)

    What still boggles my mind is even if 25% or more of the country will fight so hard to not wear a mask out of selfishness, that same 25% is also desperate to reopen the economy and get things back to normal.

    Well, guess what? The way you can help this economy (and especially travel, something we all love here), is to encourage and promote mask wearing so it 1) FEELS safer and 2) IS ACTUALLY safer to do normal things, like sitting for 2-5 hours in an small enclosed space, packed like sardines.

    All those saying things like “the death rate is not that bad” and “who cares if you’re near dying age anyway” are missing the point in another way. We lose something of value when someone dies, these are preventable deaths, not inevitable, and none of us can predict in advance if we will be the lucky ones that have no long term consequences or one of the many who have lung damage, organ damage, an aneurysm, or even “just” a 4-6 week illness that is the worst flu we’ve ever experienced.

    I’ve had the regular flu and at the time I thought I might be near death, for a week, and took several to really get back on my feet. Why would I want one that could be much worse?

    Oh and all this to say, there is something simple, easy, and cheap can make a big difference to preventing all that AND help restart the economy/travel? Nah, I’ll pass. And also advocate for everyone else to pass too.

    PS. Regarding planes being “safe spaces”, during the original SARS outbreak, a contagious passenger infected 14 people around him on the plane. Why not help make planes “safer spaces”, by wearing a mask?

  165. common sense says the mask should be worn on the plane. but why are airlines making these rules mandatory and “required” when they aren’t going to enforce it or just have a bunch of loopholes?

  166. @V
    The covid response in the US has been absolutely terrible be it Trump proclaiming cases would quickly drop to zero or Biden calling Trump a xenophobe when banned entry to Chinese. From there it has only gotten worse be it protesters with zero distancing or Trump supporters in a closed arena.
    Essentially we are all on our own at this point. You may wish everyone wore a mask, especially when flying but it is not going to happen. And when you get to your destination all bets are off.
    I’m currently in northern Mexico and I have a friend who just traveled overland to Austin. No temperature checks at the border. He tells me I would be scared in Texas as precautions are worse than in Mexico. And here there has never been a real shutdown.
    If you want to travel or just go outside in public the best you can do is try to protect yourself and refrain from visiting elderly family/ friends.
    Even the contact tracers in NYC are prohibited from asking if someone participated in a protest. No one within the govt is even remotely taking this seriously unless it complies with their agenda.
    Wear your mask, hope others do but do not count on it.
    Unfortunately your best hope is now herd immunity.

  167. I,ve looked on Delta web site, and it seems they are no longer selling Virgin, as a partner, are Virgin going ino restructure? chap 11? or are flights just down, my virgin flights are showing OK, but it sddems no new bookings, any ideas? hope all is good

  168. I,ve looked on Delta web site, and it seems they are no longer selling Virgin, as a partner, are Virgin going ino restructure? chap 11? or are flights just down, my virgin flights are showing OK, but it sddems no new bookings, any ideas? hope all is good

  169. I don’t wear a mask, just like I don’t wear underpants (or pants, on a plane). Don’t like having my penis in your face? Then cover up- like any sane person would do at this time…

    Do you wear pants or underpants? Then wear a mask.

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