Politicians Exposed To Coronavirus Fly Delta, Violate Rules

Filed Under: Delta

It would appear that several politicians don’t think that airline rules apply to them, and this goes beyond wearing masks.

Politicians violate 14-day exposure rule

There are a variety of methods airlines are using to mitigate risk for passengers. In addition to enhanced cleaning, they also require everyone to wear masks, and require people to confirm that they haven’t been in close contact with anyone who has tested positive for coronavirus in the past 14 days.

President Trump, Senator Mike Lee, Senator Thom Tillis, and others, have tested positive for coronavirus. Despite others having been in close contact with these people, it seems that they think the rules don’t apply to them.

The Star Tribune reports that three of Minnesota’s congressmen flew on Delta on Friday night, despite having been in close contact with President Trump on Wednesday. The representatives are Pete Stauber, Tom Emmer, and Jim Hagedorn. They all flew with President Trump on Air Force One to a rally in Duluth, Minnesota.

During check-in, Delta requires passengers to confirm that they haven’t been knowingly exposed to someone with COVID-19 in the past 14 days:

To protect the safety of all our customers, we cannot allow anyone to fly who knows they have been exposed to COVID-19 in the past two weeks. To travel with us, you must agree that you are not aware that you and, to your knowledge, those in your itinerary have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 in the past 14 days.

The three were traveling last night from Washington National Airport to Minneapolis St. Paul on DL1043:

  • A Delta spokesperson says the flight was less than 40% full
  • The flight ended up being delayed by about an hour — there are some reports that this is because some passengers felt uncomfortable with having these representatives onboard, while a Delta spokesperson notes that no one got off the plane

And then you have senators still not wearing masks…

Someone else snapped a photo of Senator Roger Wicker from Mississippi on a Delta flight yesterday evening, with his mask down. He’s clearly on his phone, and there’s no drink in sight.

One would think that if there’s a week for politicians to wear their masks correctly and follow rules, this would be it… but nope.

Bottom line

We’ve seen airlines ban literally hundreds of passengers over lack of mask compliance, though to my knowledge airlines haven’t banned passengers for lying about exposure to coronavirus.

Admittedly it’s easier to prove a lack of mask compliance than it is to prove someone was exposed to coronavirus, especially since the latter requires having “knowingly” been in contact with someone.

That being said, when you’re a politician, and you were with the president just a few days ago, this seems like a situation where it’s appropriate to take action.

  1. This is alarming. So Delta will ban any passenger refusing to wear a mask? Why wasn’t that policy enforced when these selfish morons checked-in and boarded the plane? Delta knew they were a risk.

  2. Where or where have all the anti-masker Trump supporters gone in the comments these past few days? Virus got your tongue?

  3. Throw out all the MAGA mouth breathing, Trump boot licking [email protected] VOTE!

    @Stuart – I have noticed the same thing. Where are all the usual suspects saying “it’s just a flu! 99.9% of people survive!” Clowns.

  4. LMAO…. @Stuart…. crickets from the anti mask crew

    Maybe they are starting to take it seriously finally.

    If we all did our part we would have been in a much better situation now.

    Anti Maskers – speak up!!!

  5. well a cotton mask doesn’t help anything at all 😉

    also, in the airplane there is a very good filtration system, top notch filters and the air flow is down wards. So pretty safe to fly.

  6. I know this is a travel blog and not a politics blog, and you want to speak to a broad audience. But the only mention of ALL these electeds’ party is in the embedded tweet towards the end. Repeatedly alling this the behavior of “politicians” is simply wrong. Only one party in the US is the one of COVID denialism and recklessness and it deserves calling out.

    You don’t have to worship Democrats to acknowledge that Republican elected officials are a threat to public health, on the ground and in the air. And as an MSP flyer I’m extra ashamed right now.

  7. Throw them all out. Every single politician in office, I don’t care what letter you put next to their name, across the entire world. Then throw them in a single jail on an isolated island, and throw away the key.

    Boom. We have a world that is infinitely better.

  8. It’s a universal issue/ problem: those responsible for making the rules ( including the substantial financial penalties for breaches) are more often than not the ones seen to be breaching them…with impunity.
    As for the COVID deniers, perhaps now deciding that it’s better to shut up. Pity they didn’t adopt that approach 6 months ago when…from a position of absolute , total ignorance…they were insisting that it was nothing more than a minor flu. What was the rationale? A few hundred thousand dead is a reasonable price to pay so long as Wall Street holds up? Beneath contempt…

  9. I’m a masker and have been for several decades. Having asthma with three trips to ER and ICU I know masks can be effective, especially for allergy and asthma. When the pandemic struck, I already had an inventory of hundreds of three ply masks. That said, anyone who thinks masks make you bulletproof is dead wrong. In the summer and much of the year in the south, people sweat and the air is humid. Once a mask becomes saturated with moisture your “shield” is effectively down. Your BLM protestors wearing masks marching in that situation are barely, if at all, more protected than those without masks. The only shield that is close to 100% reliable is social distancing and not getting caught in viral killing fields – elevators, areas with poor air circulation or filtering, close social gatherings and the like. The longer you remain in a killing field, the larger the viral payload you may be exposed to elevating both the risk for catching COVID-19 and the risk for having more than a mild case of COVID-19. Political affiliation has nothing to do with common sense which seems to be in short supply, not just here in the states, but worldwide.

  10. @eric……..its safe until its not. Then quietly you get a million dollar treatment and leave others to struggle with the aftermath of disease if not die.

  11. And … don’t forget that liberal Democratic Sen. Diane Finestein was photographed at the airport in D.C. not wearing a mask … so, it’s not just a Republican or conservative thing. Of course, prior to that, Speaker Nancy Pelosi was filmed violating a mask ordinance in her hometown of San Francisco.

    It’s about power and not ideology.

    It’s fine to make rules and/or laws for others to follow, but that those in positions of power can disregard.

    Many will do whatever it takes to assume and keep positions of power. Tell a lie often enough, and a lot of people will believe it. (ie. Trump campaign colluding with Russia and Rep. Adam Schiff proclaiming for years that he has evidence but has yet to produce anything to support that claim)

  12. Why are Lufthansa frequent flyers (‘Senators’) flying on Delta and not on Lufthansa’s Star Alliance Partner United???

  13. Ben, PLEASE stick to travel and points. You’re so good at it and the travel industry needs your talents. When you post political items, you alienate and divide your readers, and you’re not very good at it. The substance of this post is lacking. What constitutes “exposure” under Delta’s policy? What are the CDC guidelines? (Isn’t it close contact (6ft) for longer than 10 minutes?) Riding on Airforce 1 with the president (a huge 747) doesn’t necessarily meet the definition of exposure, but if it does it’s not apparent from your article. Are there exceptions to the policy (for health care workers and other public servants, such as Senators)? I suspect you didn’t bother to look into this because your purpose wasn’t to inform but to condemn. PLEASE stick to travel and points.

  14. Lucky, how come you only generated <20 replies to this trivial report of someone not wearing masks? How is mask wearing in Germany? Are you a minority now in this first class European country? I was told of a few guys going to Germany was a month on business. They were told to quarantine for 14 days but nobody was checking so they ventured outside. Nobody was wearing masks either. So they had some good time because of no job related duties for 2 weeks and even spent some time in Zurich. And by the way, from mid March we went from 95% of mask wearing. If masks are even 50% effective, why the number of infected people (i.e., active cases) is still near the record high?

  15. @AlohaDave – quit trying to implicate BLM in all this. They aren’t the problem – it’s your Republican “leadership” who is the problem.

    Political affiliation, in least in the US, has EVERYTHING to do with common sense. One side has it, the other doesn’t/refuses to.

  16. Please see what the CDC defines as COVID exposure prior to making judgements about what these politicians or others may have done. I am a healthcare provider who comes in contact with COVID patients but would not meet the definition of “exposure” by CDC parameters due to the proximity and time limits. The CDC does not take into account the wearing of PPE in the “exposure”


  17. Lucky, politics are entirely appropriate when they involve travel. Don’t be silenced by Trump regime supporters who want to take away your freedom of speech.

  18. Anti maskers turned into “Ben why do you have to post about politics?!?!?!?? You’re alienating your readers” That’s how you know there is nothing left in the tank and that their BS don’t wear a mask statements have been wrong the whole time.

  19. Delta has repeatedly shown that they’re completely amoral. This is just another example. If Delta even pretended to care about passengers, they would ban these people but they won’t because standing up to them to adhere to safety protocols might cause problems. In a choice between doing the right thing and keeping in the good graces of powerful people, Delta just doesn’t see that as a difficult choice.

  20. Anybody who is surprised to see politicians in the United States not following rules must be confusing the US government with systems of government in democratic countries where the people govern the people.

    The laws don’t apply to the members of the oligarchic system of government in place in the United States.

  21. I see that the Delta policy does not make any exemption for essential workers in their policy. I work in an ER and travel from home to one of my hospitals. I am exposed to covid on a nearly daily basis. Granted I am wearing protective equipment as is my patient. I am screened for symptoms and a fever daily. Are we suggesting that I must completely stop my life because of my employment? There are many locations who say if you’ve been exposed to someone with covid to not enter/participate.

    I would guess that congressmen/women would fall in the essential category.

    If everyone on the flight is asymptomatic, and everyone takes the necessary precautions regarding distancing and masks, the risk of transmission is very small.

  22. @Zach – you really are a snowflake. This post is absolutely relevant to this blog. It is a very legitimate concern. I have no doubt that Ben would call out any politician (regardless of party affiliation). It just so happens that your party is filled with anti-maskers, Covid -19 deniers, and blatant supporters of white nationalism. Don’t cry foul just because Ben reports the truth. I know it’s a hard pill to swallow but sometimes the truth hurts.

  23. Senator Feinstein was also photographed WITHOUT a mask a few days ago. No mention of that on any blogs including OMAAT. Oh wait- she is a Democrat so it’s ok. My bad.

  24. @Daniel B. You mean Former Senator Feinstein. She’s no longer in office. Therefore does not rise to the importance of a sitting senator doing this. She’s dumb for not wearing a mask, but’s she’s also a private citizen, making what she does not newsworthy.

  25. @Joshua – might want to check your facts on that one.

    @Daniel B – she deserves plenty of criticism undoubtedly – but don’t go pretending this is a “many (un)fine people on both sides” situation. One political party/followers has taken this fairly seriously for the most part – the other hasn’t, and just created a superspreader situation that has the possibility of somewhat incapacitating the government.

    But hey, karma (in the form of RBG, RIP) bit the Republicans in the butt on this one…won’t be so easy ram through a SCOTUS vote a week or two before the election now with all the Republican Senators out. Great job!

  26. Before you freak out and judge these people you should read what the CDC says. Honestly people, get informed. Here it is from the CDC website:

    Who needs to quarantine:

    People who have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19—excluding people who have had COVID-19 within the past 3 months.

    What counts as close contact?

    You were within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more
    You provided care at home to someone who is sick with COVID-19
    You had direct physical contact with the person (hugged or kissed them)
    You shared eating or drinking utensils
    They sneezed, coughed, or somehow got respiratory droplets on you.

    That’s directly from the CDC website.

    Air Force One is a huge 747. So simply being on Air Force One would not mean that someone has to self quarantine.

  27. Won’t be following your “One Mile at a Time” as you have chosen to inject leftist politics into the game. Gone.

  28. @ Mike Gore — Respectfully, this isn’t (or shouldn’t be) a political issue. But if basic scientific comprehension and adherence to expert guidance are being associated with one party and not the other, that is perhaps, a commentary on the times we live in.

  29. @Mike Gore — GO!!! Tillis and the other rightwingers — what a bunch of selfish, insensitive b*stards. I so hope you get COVID-19.

  30. UA-NYC – I totally agree. Take a look at the states that have fared the worst with regards to death rate, and it’s clear that only side has taken things even remotely seriously.

  31. @Colin – awesome troll job bro. How’s the MAGA worship going for you right now?

    Don’t pretend Texas or Florida would have actually handled it better than New York did.

  32. @Indopithecus – Wow, that is some serious hate. You would probably be happier if you wished others well instead of ill, but you have to live with yourself. Here’s one for you. Two of my family members already had it. I was around them for a week while they had it. Really mild cases. Now we all have the antibodies and are immune to it. Going out to dinner in few minutes. No worries, no concerns.

  33. @UA-NYC:

    Actually 98+% of those infected DO survive.

    And it is actually higher than that because of all the asymptomatic carriers who are not included in the total number of infected because they didn’t know they were infected and haven’t been tested.

  34. They should be treated like ordinary citizens and BANNED from all future Delta flights. Why should they have privileges and put the rest of the passengers in danger.

  35. UA-NYC are you blind???? deaf?? i think so according to your comments!!
    Ron you are right – on..Dianne F and Nancy can run all over without masks(and hug people in CHinatown)that is ok because they are liberal left-sided DEMS…..

  36. The Republican US Senator from Wisconsin — the one who sits in charge of the Homeland Security Committee — is a COVID-19 case too; and he’s a DL flyer too who has been hating on mask use as a pandemic response tool.

  37. @UA-NYC – Huh? I don’t have to pretend since that’s actually what happened. But keep living in whatever reality you choose lol.

    (Also, it wasn’t just NY, but nice try).

  38. Hey Lucky,

    Just curious. How do you know if they were in close contact? Close contact has a precise definition according to the CDC which you seem to be ignoring. I read the Star Tribune article that you referenced. Delta checked and said it was okay for them to fly. The airline appears to be following the same definition of close contact as the CDC which is as follows from the CDC website:

    “What counts as close contact?

    You were within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more
    You provided care at home to someone who is sick with COVID-19
    You had direct physical contact with the person (hugged or kissed them)
    You shared eating or drinking utensils
    They sneezed, coughed, or somehow got respiratory droplets on you.”

    If the above didn’t occur then you weren’t in close contact according to the CDC.

    Should they be following your rules rather than those from the CDC? If you are going to attack someone and try to get them banned from an airline you should be more responsible about your facts.

  39. @ UA-NYC Political affiliation, in least in the US, has EVERYTHING to do with common sense. One side has it, the other doesn’t/refuses to.

    I assume you must be referring to the side that started wars in Libya, Syria, Yemen, etc and their leader who received the Nobel Peace Prize. How many people have died a bloody death as a result of their common sense?

    How does my comment apply to travel? My goal has always been to try and visit every country. So yes those with what you call common sense ruined my quest.

  40. A true Basket of Deplorables on OMAAT today I see – taking it one at a time:

    @Alan – you seem to be raging at the wrong POTUS – the one you seem to like’s incompetence has driven up the US death count to 200K and counting, and gotten us banned from most of the types of countries you might like to visit

    @Colin – you don’t really seem to stand for anything, but I’m guessing you will be crying like a baby come Nov. 4th

    @dee (formerly known as dot) – I’m not sure if you are 14 or 84, but good lord, you need some schooling to improve your grammar & syntax…you just aren’t that smart, sorry

    @1KBrad – for a self proclaimed non-Trump voter…you sure sound like a Trump sycophant as usual with your defense. Let’s see if any of the Rose Garden Infected (including numero uno) do end up passing away from this, the optics already aren’t great.. And if you say 98% do end up surviving…you DO realize 1-2% mortality rate (or even a tick lower)…isn’t exactly good, right?

  41. UA-NYC – It’s a lot easier to have a discussion without the need for personal attacks and talking point regurgitation when the facts are actually on your side. Try it sometime!

  42. @Colin – come right out then and tell is what you actually DO stand for then. One time. Surprise us. Otherwise you are just more hot air.

  43. @UA-NYC

    The current pandemic can be blamed on the government’s incompetence across the board not just the current president. The mayor of NYC and the governor of New York are not shining examples of what should have been done. Most other nations outside of Asia and the Pacific are nearly as bad as well.
    I support neither party and until a true third party arises from the ashes of this mess, nothing will change.
    As for your obvious support for Biden, I can only assume it takes someone brain dead to actually vote for one.
    On nov 4th I’ll be content to know that I am not blame for the USA having elected an incompetent old man (Trump or Biden). If we all did the same maybe the system would truly change.

  44. @Alan
    “The current pandemic can be blamed on the government’s incompetence across the board not just the current president…”

    – And what would you do if you are a governor or a president? Lock everyone till a vaccine is ready? Meet with scientists? Run clockwise around your office? Lock yourself in 100% isolation? By the way the latter is what Mr. Putin is doing now but only for himself; Russia is mostly open. Based on your comment one of the most “competent” governments must be the Kingdom of Cambodia. They are proudly reporting only 278 Covid-19 cases, 0 Deaths, and 275 Recovered. This means that they have only 3 active cases now. I am sure 100% of citizens of Cambodia are all wearing masks, staying 6 ft or 2 meters apart, and wash hands with water that you cannot drink there. (And I have been to Cambodia). Based on the Covid-19 metrics the government there must be brilliant from top to bottom.
    By the way, in old Tsar Russia all natural disasters were considered to be faults of local governors. So because of a damaging tornado or a devastating drought the Russian Tsar could always send a seating governor to Siberia…

  45. @Alex_77W
    My comment was directed towards those who directly blame Trump and pretend the democrats somehow would have done something differently.
    As for competent governments one needs to look no further than China. This week is their autumn festival holiday and the whole country is traveling. And though they have the world’s largest population they are nearly corona free. China may have lots of other issues but knowing how to control a pandemic is not one of them. This is not to say their methodology would work in the West – the cultures are too different. And before you tell me to rush off to China, I have already inquired with Chinese friends. It is still not possible.

  46. @Alan

    A Democratic administration WOULD have done differently. You may recall that Trump decided to throw away the pandemic pkaybook that the Obama administration prepared for him.

  47. @Alan – we have a nice A/B test example just from this past week, at the debates in Cleveland:
    – One party took it seriously, all wore masks – no Covid, proceeding on full steam ahead
    – One party did not, 1/2 wore masks in the crowd (none of the Trumps though) – lots of Covid, government now weakened

    Extrapolate that at the public policy level, impacting 330MM Americans, and yes, there is a difference. SMH at you types who say there’s no difference between the two parties.

  48. @UA-NYC
    Gov Cuomo’s decision to return covid patients to nursing homes needlessly killed thousands of New Yorkers.
    There is also a direct correlation between the increase in cases this past summer and the BLM protests. Where were the outcries then about maintaining social distancing? Given the largest protests were in democratically controlled cities explain how that was any different from Trump’s idiotic campaign events. I am not questioning the reasons behind the protests but rather why social distancing guidelines were totally ignored.
    Both parties simply pander to their bases and could care less about public health unless it somehow benefits them. Contrast this with the Chinese govt that did care about everyone and took action which protected all.

  49. I guess nowadays many people are skirting these rules. Of course the senators were obviously enjoying a can of soda they brought onboard while checking their phone.

    I know of two mousy millennial that use various passports to skirt the EU regulations of quarantine because the rules don’t apply to them, One is using a German passport (because he has Botha. US and a German Passport) even though he lives in a state with a very HIGH RISK of Covid – buy he boards a plane pretending to be a German and avoids the EU quarantine putting countless thousands at risk in Europe.. I’d say skirting rules has become Au Courant!.

  50. @Alan – care to support your (incorrect) claim that BLM protests led to increased cases? Good luck finding something – you’re not likely to.

    Oh, here’s something that directly contradicts your claim, from Forbes (no friend to Dems & the Left) – https://www.forbes.com/sites/tommybeer/2020/07/01/research-determines-protests-did-not-cause-spike-in-coronavirus-cases/#248491517dac

    “The study’s lead author, Dhaval Dave of Bentley University, said, “In many cities, the protests actually seemed to lead to a net increase in social distancing, as more people who did not protest decided to stay off the streets.”


  51. @UA-NYC
    All you have to do is look at the correlation between the beginning of the BLM protests and the corresponding rapid increase in cases one to two weeks later. What other events were occuring at the same time which would explain such an increase? The reopening of the economy was gradual and with many restrictions unlike the protests. The MSM media has an agenda. Here’s an article claiming they led to an increase

  52. @Ernest Alleva – if you did not turn in your law-breaking friends, you are complicit and practically as guilty as them. Sen Wicker is shown in the photo as in a texting or reading mode, which provides NO pretext whatsover for not having his mask on. . .

  53. Unfortunately most people like simple solutions as they are not interested in thinking too hard.

    In cases of impaired driving 0.08% blood alcohol is called impaired driving. Studies have shown that this is arbitrary and has no basis for each individual driver. Some are impaired at 0.02% and many are totally fine at 0.16%. But it is a number that can be measured and can stand up in court. Studies have shown that the only true measure is the physical impairment test that requires judgement and may not stand up in court.

    The same with masks. @AlohaDaveKennedy has it right. A perfectly placed and fresh mask may be effective under certain prime conditions. But so often we see masks on/off/up/down/wet/touched/reused improperly that the odds are that they are ineffective. But an average person wearing the mask will think they are safe and will violate all sensible precautions such as social distancing and washing their hands. And feel superior because they are ‘wearing the cloth’.

    But everyone can see if you are wearing a mask or not. And that is simple enough that you can demonize impartially.

    When I see people “wearing a bit of cloth or paper over their mouth” (and probably not even over their nose) and acting irresponsibly I try to avoid them. I would much rather be ‘near’ someone without a mask acting in a safe and sensible manner (real 6 foot separation, no touching, hand washing) than someone wearing a cloth acting as if it was 2019 and all is well.

    Getting Americans to agree on anything is like herding cats. Every state is its own empire. To blame just the President for Covid deaths is like saying that only Hitler was responsible for the Holocaust.

    For those who travel they will remember that in Asia everyone has been wearing masks since SARS/MERS/Bird Flu and that did not protect this pandemic from starting and spreading like wildfire.

  54. if you’re worried, wear an N95 mask and tight fitting goggles…for the rest of your life. problem solved.

  55. Dear Delta, “Ban the Dumb Ars’ for life…..” 😉
    That will teach the little elitest smug mouthed politician a lesson.

  56. @Azamaraal. Criticism accepted. Ernest was a little too subtle for my weak antennae to sort out!

  57. @Ben, you wrote in a different post (Berlin Uber ride) that you report on these incidents to highlight the gap between what the travel companies are promising the public and what they are actually delivering. As a member of the public who may have to travel in the near future, I want to be informed of such things. I found this post to be quite helpful because it showed me that Delta makes some big exceptions to their strict rules if political favor is at stake. For the record, I’m still social distancing, wearing my mask, washing my hands, and not taking any trips.

  58. @Alan – lol – you realize you are quoting an article referencing Birmingham, UK, NOT Birmingham, AL, right? And one that references a “small spike” from the previous number of 25/day?

    And furthermore, directly quoting, ‘There is currently no evidence that links case rates in Birmingham with the Black Lives Matter protests. We will continue to work with Birmingham City Council to review the data and monitor the situation.’

    You are truly shameless. Enjoy QAnon Reddit or OANN vs. the so-called MSM.

  59. @UA-NYC


    In LA cases among the police did increase as a result of the protests. Almost every article published claiming there was no spike is from June.
    And nearly all are from left leaning news organizations.

    Yet the left is quick to blame Sturgis bikers for a huge increase

    Social distancing is clearly important and be it Sturgis or BLM protests, it was ignored. Both sides are equally to blame.

  60. Well Delta banned everyone that didnt wear mask, if they don’t for these politicians they will look like hypocrites.

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