Congressman Claimed His Mask ‘Fell Off While He Was Asleep’. Inflight Video Shows That Wasn’t True.

Last week I wrote that airline rules don’t seem to apply to the rich and powerful after Mike McCaul, the fifth wealthiest member of Congress who is in a tight reelection race, flew Washington Dulles to Austin without a mask over his face.

He was on board United flight 6027 operated by Mesa Airlines. In one of his explanations he claimed it fell off when he was asleep and naturally put it back on once he woke up – even though a witness reported the mask was off even prior to departure. (The first video that surfaced appears to show him sleeping without a mask.)

I asked United to comment on the Congressman’s lack of mask wearing, including whether McCaul was still allowed to fly the airline during the pandemic, They offered a generic statement and suggested I speak to Mesa.

There’s now new video from the flight. Here he is mask dangling while he reads off his phone – definitely not asleep.

The same rules don’t apply to the rich and powerful that apply to you and me. And remember United is now partially government-owned (thanks to warrants the Treasury took in exchange for a bailout) and has been looking for even more government funds. The last thing they’d want to do is offend a member of the ruling class.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Ummm…..who cares. Really–what the hell is this blog about anymore? So tired of the COVID shaming/blaming and “safety theater”….have a feeling all this will end on Nov 4th….one way or another.

  2. The same rules apply to us….

    You just need to hold a bottle of water. Or as I call it “The Immunity Idol for not wearing a mask.”

  3. Reminder of how certain groups of politicians abuse their “privilege” and “power” in small things and of course big things too.

  4. @ Nate — As long as Orange Hitler loses, it will get better sooner than later. Not sure why you call it theater. I suppose you believe that OH got COVID from wearing a mask?

  5. I wonder what Nate would say if the mask “fell” off the face of an African American rapper.

  6. The masks are a joke and everyone knows it.
    Welcome to “Idiot Nation”
    Where half the nation believes everything the ‘gubment tells them to do.
    If the ‘gubment told you to jump off the Brooklyn bridge, would you do that too?

    I don’t give a crap if the Reblubbican or the Demoncrat doesn’t wear the damn mask.
    I’m done with the mask. Viruses have been around since the dawn of time. The human doesn’t build immunity from viruses by putting themselves in a sterile environment.
    But Idiot Nation doesn’t understand that. Do whatever you’re told, SHEEPLE!
    All we should have done is protect the most vulnerable. That could have been done without shutting down the planet.
    But Idiot Nation shuts down the entire nation, and the globe no less. Idiots.
    #(&(%#! idiots.

  7. Seriously Gary? Slow day in your Orange Man Bad TDS world? Who gives a shit? Face diapers don’t work anyway.

  8. The mask rules are stupid because those were enacted to show that we can do something and if all in this together we will win over covid-19. If you look at dynamics of the “second wave” of pandemic in Europe in March and now, the exponential growth and number of cases are both higher (just check the data for France and Spain). Why masking and hand sanitizing is not working and so are the 2 meter rules? But if putting Chinese-made junk over your face makes you happy, please go ahead.. Just not enforce this on everyone.

  9. Its amazing there are still people out there that claim masks don’t work. Hmm do I listen to the doctors who are experts on the subject and have devoted their entire career to the topic or do I listen to random internet posters who probably failed science in high school. Really tough decision.

  10. I’m going to tell you a little secret….if a Republican makes a comment, it is a lie. That’s just what the world has turned into.

  11. First off I’m a physician treating Covid patients so I’m all for everyone wearing masks. But these 10 sec clips don’t tell you anything. Maybe he really was napping and his mask fell half off. He wakes up and like many people reaches first for his phone without realizing the mask is half off his face. I have no idea. If his mask was off for no good reason then instead of filming him and trying to make a spectacle of it, maybe they have tried talking to him. Or talked to a flight attendant to enforce the rules.

  12. Please don’t tell me there are still people dumb/partisan enough to actually believe a mask will stop a virus. That people think a mask is keeping their exhale from getting out and mixing with the ambient air. Nobody can seriously this ignorant.
    You want to know how you can tell if your mask is stopping a virus? If you haven’t passed out from suffocation within a minute or two, you can be 100% sure your mask is not stopping a virus.
    Amazing how many people there still are who are afraid to say the emperor has no clothes.

  13. Well we’ll have to assume that he’s not eating or enjoying a beverage while checking his phone due to lack of service on airlines lately.

  14. Make lying wrong again. The election can, at the least, be a beacon for truth over lying. That this congressman intentionally removed his mask, read his book, then lied about it is the perfect example of our President.

  15. I guess he took his lead from Nancy in the barbershop, maybe you missed that story because they didn’t spoon feed it to you on CNN…. wake up.

  16. Meh – can’t tell from the angle if he had food or a drink that would exempt him from wearing a mask. You can make an assumption, but you can’t prove it. As for masks, I have used them for 30 years due to allergies and asthma. They don’t suffocate you as I used to be able to sleep with them on during San Antonio’s legendary Mountain Cedar season. Please be sure to wear then at the inaugural, because if Biden wins, takes office, then shortly dies of COVID-19, Harris will be POTUS and Pelosi VPOTUS. Forget Covid-19, the idea of that should make half the country deathly ill.

  17. @Gary,

    Wonder why you never covered Dianne Feinstein walking in the airport without mask. Your last article about COVID shaming was about Texas Republican and then now this.
    Is there a reason you cover only when it is a republican party congresspersons?

  18. Liberal Gary is all about shaming Republicans but won’t post anything when a Democrat does something similar. People come here for travel and not to get your liberal view point shoved in our face constantly.

  19. Gonna be a rude awakening in 22 days for the Trump Sycophants who populate this blog’s comments section…hope y’all are preparing yourselves for the end of the MAGA era! (not so) fun while it lasted.

  20. Reading these comments proves the lack of education and higher IQ of the anti madkers. They call others sheeple yet they belive anything their fascist leaders feeds them. Now he’s asking them to die for him. Jim Jones reincarnated.

  21. Reading these comments proves the lack of education and higher IQ of the anti maskers. They call others sheeple yet they belive anything their fascist leader feeds them. Now he’s asking them to die for him. Jim Jones reincarnated.

  22. @ AlohaDaveKennedy
    Biden will not get Covid. He’s already incompetent and will be declared so with the rest to follow as you say. Harris becomes president, and dear and beloved Pelosi would be the VP.
    The joke is us!

  23. Lying is what republicons do. It’s ALL that republicon senators have done for the last four years,

  24. The Trump cult is triggered again by masks… Die off then, no one will miss you…

  25. Only God has the solutions for all the problems around the world. The Bible say it in Apocalypse 21: 3 and 4. I speak for my self: I am not a perfect person but, I have to continue doing what is it good for others. Everyone deserves respect in all ways. God bless you all of you!

  26. Michael T. McCaul

    Keep your mask on when U R around people—including on a plane
    Follow the airline rules —IDIOT —
    Your lied— asTRUMP Always lies
    Why because you are a Republican — all Republicans have been lying to please Trump over the past 3 years
    Independents like myself are aware of the lies for 2 of the past 3 years.
    I will be happy when American Dump Trump in November

  27. I care – and glad to see you care and post articles like this. For some reason there is a group of people who only care about life before it is born, but are too selfish to protect those who are alive and elderly. My father is 88 and I take every precaution to make sure I don’t bring anything home. Congressman or not, party aside, someone should have caused a scene with that asshole not wearing his mask and held the airline accountable!

  28. I am proud that in my country, the USA, great patriots have fought and died to defend their liberty and to protect the lives of their fellow citizens. Multiple generations of my own family have served, going back to the Revolutionary war.

    Today, I am ashamed that legions of pathetic, so-called “patriots” will not wear a simple cloth mask in public to protect their fellow citizens. It is a true disgrace to our honor, and it is enabled by and represented by the Orange Fool in the White House.

  29. It is clear why the GOP is so comfortable cutting the Education budgets based on the idiots that post here that masks don’t help. If the GOP supporters are that dumb, there is no need for schools.

  30. Absolutely shocking that a politician would lie about such serious health issues. Wait. Never mind.

  31. Well, as President Trump said, he loves uneducated people. No surprise, since only the uneducated and those willing to overlook anything for the sake of their self-interest could possibly vote for him.

    As I’ve said before, Trump voters tend to be totally divorced from six things: (1) facts, (2) truth, (3) science, (4) logic, (5) reason, and (6) spouses with a 3-digit IQ or the slightest trace of human decency.

  32. Unbelievable dead weight story. I did not even have to read it to know they were liberals trying to trash a conservative. There is no privilege. Only comfortably sleeping or not … in a proven unlikely transmit environment.

  33. Who Cares!!
    Are you now mask shaming people?

    Focus on the travel topics that we all come here to read.

  34. Ed – Unbelievable dead-weight moron without a clue about the dangers of COVID transmission when being trapped in an enclosed space for hours with other people.

    This is what our devoted Public Servant chooses? Comfortable sleeping vs. potentially exposing people to a deadly disease? What a Patriot!!!

  35. So I was in Vegas last week and even though all the casinos require masks, if you smoke, you’re exempt. Here I am, wearing my hot, uncomfortable mask like a good little sheep and a guy a few slots from mine lights up and proceeds to smoke cigarette after cigarette after cigarette, never bothering to put a mask on. Heck, he didn’t even have one hanging from his ear or around his neck. So I ask the security guard what gives and he confirmed it. Smokers are exempt as long as they’re smoking! We’ve all fallen down the rabbit hole…

  36. what else is new? people are idiots when they don’t wear masks to protect themselves and others. it is all we have and it works……regardless of what idiots want to believe. it makes it worse when those who are in political power refuse to abide by the same rules as all of us when we fly. FINALLY, as one of the richest men in Congress…..why wouldn’t he just fly private, charter……or own a plane himself? that is what I would do if I had the money……which I do not and never will have.

  37. Mask wearers who don’t believe they are protected but wear a mask anyway are thoughtful of others. If this politician didn’t care about those around him in the plane he probably does what the rest of his comrades do-takes from the people he “represents” giving little in return. I don’t need to see the whole video. There are so many of these “I am special” incidents that the conclusion is obvious. He had no concern for those around him.

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