I feel like this shouldn’t have to be said, but don’t be a jerk to people who choose to wear masks at airports and on planes.
On April 18, 2022, the federal transportation mask mandate ended in the United States, after a ruling by a district judge in Florida. While the Biden administration is trying to appeal this ruling, for the time being you don’t have to wear masks on planes.
As you’d expect, this has drawn mixed reactions. Many people are excited about this development, while others are frustrated. One thing I’ve found to be rather alarming is that there have been several reports of people who choose to wear masks being harassed by both fellow passengers and crews.
One doctor claims that a Delta pilot walked by him in the terminal and told him to take his mask off and “breath free.”
Another Twitter user claims he was traveling from Orlando to Seattle on Alaska, and that “the pilot created an anti-mask party from the start, which encouraged the non-mask wearers to chide the mask-wearers.”
It’s claimed that passengers were calling them freaks, and “they awarded the most outspoken guy with free drinks.”
There’s even a video of a JetBlue flight attendant cheerily singing a “throw away your masks” song in the aisle, while holding a garbage bag for people to dispose of their masks. In this case I’m going to assume it was at least well intentioned and he was just excited, and perhaps wasn’t thinking about how it makes others feel.
I would hope that most people wouldn’t be so rude and cruel as to call out people for wearing masks. Fortunately we have masks that offer great personal protection nowadays, and those who want to wear masks can do so.
It doesn’t really matter what the reason is — whether they’re vulnerable, whether they have loved ones who are vulnerable, whether they don’t want to get sick, or whatever — but they deserve to be respected and not made to feel out of place. If we want freedom of choice when it comes to masks, that also means respecting those who choose to wear masks.
I also think airlines have a duty to train employees to not turn flights into a cheer fest for no longer having to mask up. This is uncomfortable for those who choose to wear masks, and makes them a target for fellow passengers.
The transportation mask mandate has ended in the United States (at least for now), and personally I’m happy to see that. However, I very much respect those who continue to wear masks, and in high risk situations I’ll continue to wear masks when traveling (because I have vulnerable family members, because I like not getting sick, and because getting coronavirus while traveling is really inconvenient, if nothing else).
It’s dismaying to hear that some airline employees and passengers are choosing to insult those who exercise their right to wear masks. I would imagine that this is a tiny minority of people, but still, please don’t be that mean to another human. For that matter, if you witness this kind of behavior, please stand up for that person and/or report the situation.
To those who have traveled in recent days, have you seen any sort of negative behavior directed toward those wearing masks?