It usually takes multiple violations before American Airlines will ban a passenger for refusing to wear a mask, but it’s a requirement now. This took moving heaven and earth, three months ago flight attendants were being threatened with discipline for daring to wear one.
We know a lot more now. British researchers recently found that everyone wearing 50% effective masks is enough to slow the spread of the virus (homemade masks are probably more than 50% effective). A German study found masks reduce the growth rate of infections by 40%. And use of quality masks by half the population does the same thing. Wearing masks also encourages social distancing based on a study out of Italy – seeing the masks reminds us to stay away.
My home state of Texas is seeing a surge of cases, including in the Dallas area. But American Airlines flight crew at DFW and Dallas-based ground staff were photographed not wearing masks. Employees may take off masks briefly from time to time, such as to make an announcement over the PA system, but that doesn’t appear to be what’s happening here.
Remember when I was wrongfully kicked off an @AmericanAir flight for asking a woman to put her mask on. They refused 2 refund me, but thanked me for my feedback. Here's some more feedback. photos of their Dallas ground crew from my return trip 6/25/20 . You're welcome pic.twitter.com/71hzEApJi3
— Lindsey Byrnes 🌺 (@LindseyByrnes) June 29, 2020
When airline employees don’t wear masks, they’re endangering passengers and scaring them away. That’s bad for business. And when employees don’t wear masks, passengers model them. It’s tough to get passengers to wear masks when pilots don’t. It sends mixed messages, masks are required but not really or not for everyone. Some readers will believe they should be ‘special’ (a.k.a. infectious), too. Here’s video of a passenger being kicked off a recent flight over masks. (HT: Tommy L.)
Guy in red shirt made our flight sit on the tarmac for an extra 2 hours as he refused to wear a mask. He finally put one on after they told him the police were on their way, but at that point the entire flight was forced to deplane and reboard later. Several people missed connections from r/PublicFreakout
If airlines are going to ban passengers who don’t wear masks – and they should – the requirement needs to be enforced for employees too.
American Airlines, for its part, shares that masks are absolutely a requirement for employees.
In May, we began requiring face coverings for all team members while at work as part of our ongoing commitment to the safety and well-being of our team and customers. Specifically, face coverings were required for all team members when six feet of social distance can’t be maintained at work, including in break areas and crew rooms.
As an update to our current policy, team members are now required to wear a face covering at all times while in customer areas and during customer interactions — regardless of whether six feet of social distance can be maintained. We continue to send reminders out to our team members regarding these requirements, and will review all cases when a customer flags that a team member is not wearing a face covering.
Wearing a mask really is not that hard. We don’t have to adjust our behavior forever. There’s a good chance we have solid therapies before the end of fall, such as antibody plasma therapy as well as repurposed drugs beyond just remdesivir. And I’m more hopeful for a vaccine in 2021 than I’ve ever been. Did you know that China is giving an inactivated virus-based vaccine to its military? This isn’t likely to be as effective as what’s coming from other drug companies, though it’s going to enter human trials in Canada.
We just hopefully need to stay safe for a little while longer, months aren’t that long for most of us in the grand scheme of things and those for whom months are eternities are at the greatest risk. Then travel can get back to normal though people won’t totally change their habits back overnight and fully return to the skies.