Dr. Fauci: Masks On Planes Are Here Forever

Planes are safer indoor environments than restaurants, bars, and gyms but we have to wear masks on planes – and in most states, not in those other places – for political reasons and not science reasons. There’s a plausible legal argument for the federal government to require it on planes, and there’s no such authority in bars.

And the science on whether and how much the average mask helps against Covid-19 is… mixed. N95 masks are protective. Lesser masks offer some protection from others if you’re infectious, but don’t do as much to protect you from the virus.

Nonetheless, there is some benefit to masks. And many public health officials see mask requirements as an ultra-low (or no) cost step to take to require them. There’s been a push from Biden insiders to make masks on planes permanent, as I wrote this summer. Now Dr. Fauci appears to speak to it.

Anthony Fauci, on ABC’s This Week, was asked whether we would “get to the point where we won’t have to wear masks on airplanes?”

His answer: “I don’t think so.” And then he talks about why masks on planes are prudent.

I still believe the administration will want to declare victory on the pandemic before the midterm elections, and doing so will necessitate lifting the mask mandate. Just as the choice of target for mandating masks is a political and legal decision rather than a scientific one, the decision to lift mask mandates will be political as well.

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 InsideFlyer.com, 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. Masks forever on planes in the United States? Absolutely not. The 1st Republican to make it back into the White House (and it will happen, eventually) will immediately get rid of any executive overreach that mandates masks; Congress will also NEVER amend the constitution for such lunacy. Mask yourself if you want to but let others do whatever they want (your health is your responsibility, not that of anyone else and it never will be).

  2. @ Gary — Fauci should retire. Masks forever is absurd. If one WANTS to wear a mask (the immunocompromised should have been wearing them all along), they should be able to do so free of harassment, but making this compulsory forever is just stupid.

  3. The courts tend to be differential to questionable executive actions with short lives, even if they don’t pass constitutional or statutory muster (see for example the eviction ban) but once again we are seeing why they shouldn’t. There is simply no statutory authority for the CDC to mandate that people drape dirty scraps of cloth over their face despite clear evidence that they do nothing to stop the spread of COVID-19. It is time to follow both science and the law and allow travelers to make their own decisions.

  4. Sigh. I remember when this was a travel blog. Not a self-entitled, self-promotional internet troll peddling politics and bad heath advice.

  5. @Gene – totally agree. Dr. Fauci is way past his expiration date. What he says most of the time makes little or no sense. He’s on a power trip. Time to retire and relieve us from ever hearing him again.

  6. Fauci and Biden keep pissing off their base. Because it is not the Trump voter that takes weekly or monthly plane trips, it is the elitist liberal who lives on either coast who is forced to wear a mask. In fact, not just in the air, but now in blue state public places at well.
    In short, all those potential Dem voters keep getting pissed off by Daddy Biden and his governor minions. I am sure that will make them vote Dem again in 2022 or 2024.

    P.S. And puhleez, do not start a rant about “the unvaxxed” again. It a sign of being a fact denier, as many of the “unvaxxed” most likely have some form natural immunity. Same goes with “follow The Science”, as those who utter said mantra are mostly like neither scientific nor following it.

  7. Ahahahahaha. A government worker got a hard on for power and fame.
    And now he can’t give it up.

    How many people will he kill?
    I hope he is tried for the suffering of the kids to save the old.

    I don’t believe in hell, but if there is one, he is the exact type of person to rot there.

  8. This is why you don’t let physicians run anything but hospitals and the like.

    …the beatings will continue until moral improves.

  9. Fauci will be out (“retiring after years of rewarding Government Service”) if the Republicans win both the House and Senate. You can count on it.

  10. My god there is no bottom for this imbecile to reach. I have never wished bad things would happen to someone but Fauci is pushing that limit for me.

    ***FYI I flew QSuites R/T MIA-DXB a few weeks ago and took that mask off soon as I boarded. Except for the perfunctory boarding announcement over the PA there was never mention of masks again. I never wore it again for 14 hours and not a single crew member said a word. Needless to say it was the best flight of my life.
    Also full service with pre-departure champagne in real glasses. I’d pay full fare again tomorrow just for a taste of this “fweedom!” and a few hours in the Al Safwa lounge.

    It’s ironic that one of the most restrictive countries on earth has finally bucked this absurd charade and unshackled it’s passengers.

  11. Should require full vaccination too (including booster shots by spring when everyone wanting one will have gotten them) as well as masks. If airplane ventilation is so great, why do so many people end up with head colds after flying? The cabin is still a Petrie dish and you’re still a foot away from some strangers spewing breath! Just remember how ineffective aircraft ventilation was when smoking was permitted. After a flight everyone stank of nicotine no matter where they sat…that should give an idea of how virus will spread through a cabin today without masking.

    The US has the lowest level of COVID vaccination among G7 countries and the highest per capita cases and deaths (though the UK is moving up on the cases). It held back export of vaccines for over a half-year, making the rest of the world rely on two production plants in Europe for Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

  12. Fauci talks too much. He loves the limelight. He’s also contributing to the demise of democratic control of government, which is just fine with me.

  13. This lunacy will not end because that’s what happens in a democracy where the majority of voters are parasites. There is no path to freedom with the current demographics. Less freedom and more government power will always be amenable to them. Fauci’s mask demands are an example of that.
    Conservatives will always lose if their position is supporting a system that allows our enemies to tell us what to do and supporting enforcers (cops) of a system that harms us. Being civil and disavowing action will always lead us to failure. If conservatives leaders told us to oppose cops enforcing mask mandates, replace cops with people who defend conservatives from leftist laws, and say no, no mandate could be enforced. Instead, our fake conservative leaders told us to comply and this is the result.

  14. This blood no longer deserves to call itself “thought leader”; straight up trash content these days, more often than not.

  15. This is incredible stupidity. Yes, masks are effective if sick people wear them. But they don’t protect the mask wearer unless they are N95 with vents which many airlines prohibit. Also they don’t protect anyone when removed for drinking or eating.

    The better solution is for sick people to wear masks as they have been doing for decades in Japan, or just stay home. But most Americans are inconsiderate and would not wear a mask even when they are ill.

  16. @Boraxo, @Ed I’m with youboth–I’m a staunch elitist liberal, but the lunacy has gone on long enough. Yes: we all know confined spaces like aircraft can breed all sorts of nasty infectious diseases. So we wash our hands, wear a mask (if we feel the need or desire to) and get on with life. The odds of dying in an auto accident are greater than Covid–especially for the 3x vaxxed + breakthrough case.

    The Science says we all need a breakthrough case on top of the vaxxes (or vice versa). The only way to do that is through exposure.

    The media has nothing better to do than pump out the latest Covid news, which now is old news, really. It’s here to stay: accept it, develop good therapeutics, and move on.

  17. I thought Brandon had a plan. I thought he was going to “shut down” covid.

    It seems he’s just as adept at handling covid as he as at immigration, or inflation, or Afghanistan, or remembering his own name.

  18. Did you have Sucker Carlson write this piece for you? Only asking because you’ve put words in his mouth which he never said.

  19. @David Stone – that was my QSuites experience recently as well. The FAs had their masks on when they came to our seats but when I’d use the lav I noticed some of them were maskless while working/relaxing in the galley area. It was wonderful to feel like normal again on a plane!

  20. @Baron: you don’t see the irony in your comment “Mask yourself if you want to but let others do whatever they want (your health is your responsibility, not that of anyone else and it never will be)” We are talking masks and if you reference @Gary’s article as well as any other sane person, the mask is worn to protect others so masking myself isn’t protecting myself. I guess along your logic, if I shoot you I am not needing to be concerned about your health.

  21. More clickbait from Gary. He even cuts out the first part of the question where the interviewer states that some airline CEOs are suggesting facemasks are not needed right now. The question was terribly worded and now we have people like Gary jumping on it to suggest Fauci is saying that we will permanently have to wear masks. Obviously that answer makes zero sense and in the context of the ENTIRE question it is clear he is speaking about the situation right now with covid spreading the way it is. The full question that was asked is below:

    “Several of the CEOs of top airlines said that on an airplane you’re actually safer than you are in an ICU, the protection and the filtration system they have. They were suggesting there isn’t really much of a need for a mask on an airplane. Are we going to get to the point where we won’t have to wear masks on airplanes?”

  22. CONSTANTLY shifting the overton window. NEVER giving up the power that the criminal class stole from us. When will people realize this is the greatest scam in a hundred years?

  23. Fauci and his buddies in the pharmaceutical industry have made million and billions respectively from COVID

    He’ll continue to protect the golden goose

  24. Who listens to this power-hungry flip-flopping fool? They keep this guy, who’s been consistently wrong … but ban Mr. Meany for fear of hurting someone’s feelings with a mean tweet?

  25. And so Fauci turned every idiot who shows up to a flight maskless, or wearing a thong for a mask, into an actual freedom-fighter.

    Retire, you power-hungry, life-sucking vampire.

  26. Fauci is in love with his moment in the spotlight and his current ability to shape public policy. Someday it will also be divulged that a lot of very wealthy people became even wealthier by keeping the fear narrative going. He, along, with the left infoTAINMENT alarmist are willing players in this covid theater. Sad part is so many people are following and believing everything Fauci says. The news I want to read is that Fauci has been fired and charges have been brought against him for fraud and the damage he has perpetrated on society as a whole and the economy.
    Mask mandates need to go. If you are afraid, wear a mask and leave the rest of us who want to get on with life alone.

  27. EVERYONE is over the masks now. I’ve been vaccinated 3 times, ready to get my 4th, have been drying out my hands with sanitizer, and wearing an approved mask for 2+ years now. IT HAS TO END SOMEWHERE. This is unacceptable. I will not pay MORE for flights, get LESS service, and be UNCOMFORTABLE for much longer. I’m DONE with this and SOON.

  28. Please,

    Can we just listen to Dr. Fauci and make some minor sacrifices for the
    good of Mankind? He is a real docter who cured AIDS and is helping to
    cure COVID. I will take his advise over the that of some anonymous Internet
    dude or dudette.

    Just saying . . .

  29. Bob is againsgt abortion because “kids”. But Bob disreagrds the 1000 american kidw who died of Covid, because fealty to Trump is important to him

  30. WTF is with all the hate-filled comments? Take your garbage elsewhere. I was about to close this window because I was so sick of reading all this vile shit but decided I had to comment myself. This is a fucking travel blog, not a political shouting match. JFC, give it a rest.

  31. Most of these comments critical of fauci miss the point that all other countries on the planet follow the same procedures. Fauci is not health spokesperson for any of these other countries. Don’t shoot the messenger.

  32. He said masks won’t be forever just for now. I heard him say that last month and the CDC. I can’t do masking forever.

  33. As soon as the right takes power in 22 or 24 this man is going to go to jail for the rest of his life. He should get his masked face on a plane now and leave the country, because he’s going to spend his final moments in a prison cell.

  34. Fauci is awesome. As a mom of two young kids (one of whom is under 5 and therefore can’t get the vaccine yet), the guidance he’s given since the very beginning of the pandemic has always stayed closed to the science. I have no problem wearing a mask. It doesn’t infringe on my liberty and it’s patriotic to do one’s civic duty to protect others, so I do. I do have a problem with ending up sick, in an ICU, or dead. So I wear masks and go about my life. People are such sissies about masks. If someone were asking to cut off your finger, then I would understand a public uproar. But a mask? Please. Stop being such sissies and get on with your life. Omicron is as contagious as measles, so eventually a large portion of the population will eventually get it anyways, so hopefully being vaccinated helps with getting more milder symptoms. Also, masks help only if you wear them correctly. In general, it’s embarrassing how little the general U.S. population understands science. This pandemic is not hard, it’s easy. Just follow the guidance with masking, social distancing, not hanging out indoors for long periods of time, if you can avoid it, and you’ll be fine with regards to your physical health.

  35. ANYONE who listens to that lying lump of pig shit quack Fauci is an a World-class IDIOT!
    This nonsense will continue forever if morons continue to comply!

    DO NOT COMPLY!!!!!!

    Grow a set, you cowardly little pansies!!!!

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