At a recent American Airlines employee question and answer event, a recording of which was reviewed by View From The Wing, a flight attendant asked CEO Doug Parker about frequent inflight incidents with passengers. Parker acknowledged, “much of it is due to the masks, I know.”
American Airlines lobbied the federal government for a mask mandate, and Parker explained “there is a federal mandate until September 13th. The masks are required for all customers. It is a mandate, it is a federal mandate, it has to be enforced.”
You are in the difficult position of enforcing it, but you have the backing of the federal government which requires us to enforce it. So please enforce it. Those who do not comply need to be dealt with accordingly. You all know how to do that and are doing it exceptionally well.
The CEO gave employees hope, though, that the mask mandate only has a few months left to it offering, “We’ll get to September 13th, but we’ve got to get there by enforcing the mandate.”
As to why this is important when “the CDC said if you’re vaccinated you don’t have to wear a mask” it’s because “we don’t know who is vaccinated or not” on a plane. Not that this really matters,
- If you’re vaccinated you’re at little risk, especially on a plane with HEPA air filtration and downward air flow.
- Nearly every teen and adult who is not vaccinated is exercising a choice and that shouldn’t impose a requirement on others.
- Those younger than 12 are at statistically even lower risk than older Americans who are vaccinated.
Parker predicts that the conflicts over masks “may get even harder between now and September 13th.”
His solution? “We just need to be much stronger on this message and make people understand. That’s why we want to enforce it. That’s why people want to see it enforced.”
So far that’s worked so well that 76% of passenger incidents reported to the FAA during the first five months of 2021 were over masks.
Brady Byrnes reported to flight attendants that they are going to starting seeing updates on the outcome when they write up passengers, which they think will help encourage flight attendants that writing up non-compliant customers matters.