The Transportation Security Administration (TSA), which requires face masks on planes and in airports, continues to insist that they be worn. However, Democratic governors all across the nation are lifting mandates for masks indoors where there is a higher risk of COVID-19 infection. The federal mandate expires on March 18 but flight attendant unions are requesting that the TSA extend it.
It isn’t surprising that this position has been supported by the unions since the mandate was first introduced over a year back. It is absurd considering the poor justification and the adverse effects on flight attendants.
Unions express concern about adults who may be particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. They also worry about travelers under 5 years old, who aren’t eligible for vaccinations. However, children are not at risk for COVID-19, which can lead to serious complications. Immunocompromised passengers who may not be able to receive vaccines should wear high-quality masks that fit well.
Because of the inhospitable conditions at airplanes, there was no compelling reason for the mandate to wear masks. Because commercial airplanes have ventilation systems, which combine outdoor air and air recycled through HEPA filters, it is easy to understand why commercial flight outbreaks are rare, even though vaccines are available.
“The risk of contracting COVID-19 during air travel is low,” an October 2020 article in The Journal of the American Medical Association noted. “Despite the large number of passengers, there are very few cases of confirmed or suspected in-flight COVID-19 transmissions between them.” Sebastian Hoehl from the Institute for Medical Virology, Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany agreed to an interview. Scientific AmericanThe following month, he stated that “an airplane cockpit is probably the most secure condition you can be in.”
This was the point that Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly repeated during December’s Senate hearing. He stated, “I believe the case against masks is strong.” It is safer and more comfortable than any indoor environment. American Airlines CEO Doug Parker agreed. According to Parker, an aircraft is “the safest place that you can be” “It’s true of all of our aircraft—they all have the same HEPA filters and air flow.”
TSA’s rule seems blatantly paternalistic, given the fact that vaccines dramatically decrease the chance of severe diseases and N95 Masks protect the wearers of them, Adults who refuse to vaccinate are most vulnerable to COVID-19. The risk to children is infinitesimal even if they are not vaccinated—smaller than the risk of dying in a car crash if their parents decide to avoid mask hassles by driving instead of flying.
This is not a problem for the flight attendant unions. While more people have access to life-saving vaccinations now, there is still a substantial portion of the population who does not. [is] vulnerable, including our youngest passengers,” says Paul Hartshorn, a spokesman for the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, which represents American employees. Taylor Garland (spokesman for AFA), who represents workers of many major and regional airlines, said that “our youngest passengers don’t yet have access to vaccine.” “The plane is an unique, but controlled environment to ensure everyone’s safety. Safety and security are layered, with masks included.
This passion for hygiene theatre is in line with AFA’s excitement for security theater. When the TSA started allowing passengers to take some of the most common tools with them, such as a screwdriver shorter than 7inches and a pair of scissors shorter than 4inches, it was utterly murderous.
“TSA must take a minute to consider why [the rules] were created in the first place—after the world had seen how ordinary household items could create such devastation,” an AFA spokeswoman said. Pilots who allow weapons back onto an aircraft will still be able land it safely. However, aisles will be filled with blood if they do.
Even though that didn’t happen, the AFA objected to the TSA’s decision to reverse its course. The TSA planned to allow passengers to carry smaller pocket knives with blades not more than 6cm (2.36inches), and no wider than 0.25 inches. According to the TSA, this decision was made in accordance with TSA’s risk-based security strategy and aligns TSA and International Civil Aviation Organization Standards as well as our European counterparts.
A TSA spokesman explained that the agency’s “risk-based security approach” allowed TSA officers “to better focus their efforts on finding higher-threat items such as explosives.” In addition to short knives, the TSA said it would allow miniature baseball bats, lacrosse and hockey sticks, pool cues, ski poles, and up to two golf clubs per passenger. After initially opposing the rules, TSA gave up and caved to members of Congress and the AFA. AFA campaigned to oppose the policy with the slogan “No Knives On Planes Ever Again” and celebrated the reverse.
The AFA demands are not in line with passenger interests, as these examples demonstrate. This is also true for its position regarding the mask mandate. Many travelers find it a source to discomfort, annoyance and anxiety, particularly when forced to put masks on toddlers who refuse. AFA members who have been tasked with enforce the rules in addition to other duties are also impacted by the AFA’s support of maintaining the mandate. The result has been predictable. The New York Times notes:
Disagreements about masks and passengers refusing them caused frequent fighting, shouting and other difficulties during the pandemic. From Jan. 1 to Feb. 15, the Federal Aviation Administration received nearly 400 reports of unruly passengers, including 255 reports of passengers refusing to comply with a federal mandate that they wear masks on planes.
Last month, a man on a Delta Air Lines flight from Dublin to New York who refused to wear his mask pulled down his pants and exposed his buttocks. Nearly two weeks later, an American Airlines flight to London from Miami turned around about an hour into its journey because of a passenger who refused to wear a mask.
Cases like those are why airline executives and the Association of Professional Flight Attendants have been urging the federal authorities to create a federal no-fly list for unruly passengers.
It is evident that the problem exists. It is notInsufficiently harsh enforcement of the Mask Mandate. It’s the mask mandate. Every obnoxious passenger, who berates or moons, is punished. assaultsThe rule’s enforcers are not the only ones who are upset by this narrowly justified imposition.
AFA states that it is crucial to maintain passengers’ confidence in safety when flying. What does it do to increase that confidence? If masks don’t “add much, if any” to the safety of air travel, how is that justification for sacrificing passenger comfort and turning an entire flight around because one man refuses to wear a mask?
Sara Nelson, President of AFA, strongly rejects the notion that passengers should have the right to choose what risk they will tolerate. “Flight attendants would never tell you that ‘whether you put on the oxygen mask is a matter of personal choice,'” she said in an NBC News opinion piece last year. We understand the dangers of air turbulence, which can cause you to be thrown against the ceiling at any time, and so we won’t tell you that seatbelts aren’t safe. It’s up to each individual to make that decision.
Nelson believes that the same argument holds true for the mask mandate, despite lack of evidence to support it. She wrote that “we’re also trained in order to stop the spread infectious diseases.” “We are not only enforcing long-overdue policies regarding masks because it is necessary: We recognize that masks can be a safety net for ourselves and others. We are grateful that policymakers support us.
However, it is uncertain if they will do so again. TSA extended the mask rule twice, and could do it again. A spokeswoman for the TSA told The Associated Press that the TSA will announce any changes to the requirement. Times. “As far as we are aware, there is nothing to add.”