Two weeks ago Congressman Mike McCaul, who is in a tight reelection race, reportedly refused to wear a mask while seated in first class on his United Express flight, Washington Dulles – Austin.
Republican Rep @McCaulforTexas @RepMcCaul REFUSING 2wear a MANDATED mask on our IAD-AUS flight despite being asked THREE TIMES by flight attendant b4 we have even left gate. Walking around w/o mask bc he thinks rules don’t apply 2him. VOTE HIM OUT! @SiegelForTexas @HouseMajPAC pic.twitter.com/IoDB9xO3f0
— AUSborn&bred (@AusbornBred) September 25, 2020
McCaul was on board United flight 6027 operated by Mesa Airlines. He wasn’t kicked off for reportedly refusing to wear a mask prior to pushback. I asked United to comment, including whether Congressman McCaul was still allowed to fly the airline during the pandemic, while masks are ostensibly required. I hoped they’d respond, as American had when Ted Cruz flew maskless, that they’d at least contacted his office. Instead United offered only,
Prior to traveling with United, customers are required to complete a ‘Ready to Fly’ checklist agreeing to our updated travel policies. The checklist states: “You must wear a face covering that fully covers both your nose and mouth in the airport and during your entire flight, unless you’re eating or drinking, for the safety of everyone… Travelers who aren’t wearing their face coverings in the airport or on board may be refused transport and could also lose their travel privileges on future United flights.”
United Airlines has a policy in place to ban passengers who refuse to wear masks, and that ban is supposed to last as long as the mask requirement is in place. United’s flight attendants can even be fired for not wearing a mask.
However members of Congress now call the shots at U.S. airlines, dispensing $25 billion at a time they’re the airline’s most important customer. That’s not really anything new, because for all the talk about airlines having been deregulated they’ve remained one of the most heavily regulated industries in the country. They even turn over management over 9-figure aircraft from the time of pushback to the time of arrival at their next destination. Airlines in the U.S. haven’t ever been responsive primarily to travelers, treating government as their master at least since the Post Office became their biggest customer in the mid-1920s. Politicians get special travel perks, too!
In response to this photo of Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker flying without a mask, under pressure to ‘investigate,’ Delta Air Lines concluded that everyone on the flight complied with the airlines mask rules. Uh huh.
I’ve seen enough Republican senators test positive to tweet this photo. @SenatorWicker — because you refused to wear a mask on our @Delta flight last night, please let your fellow passengers know your status once you’ve been tested. pic.twitter.com/j2TW6g1gwO
— Matt Harringer (@MattHarringer) October 3, 2020
The definitive work in the 1980s on the Chappaquiddick coverup was called Senatorial Privilege. The new privilege seems to be Covid rules for me but not for thee. Mel Brooks said it best in History of the World,
By the way, does anybody doubt that McCall, the fifth-wealthiest member of Congress, would have access to Regeneron’s antibody treatment if his lack of precaution led to his catching Covid-19, but that the rest of the passengers traveling on United 6027 wouldn’t be permitted to have this treatment that has shown both safety and effectiveness so far in clinical trials – and may even have saved the President’s life – but is not yet approved?