Masks For Thee But Not For Me, Airline & Airport CEO Edition

Delta held a ribbon-cutting for the terminal 2-3 headhouse at LAX today. It opens to passengers April 20.

A nice fresh look to be sure, and the departures board features a real-time indicator for how busy the Sky Club is. Here it shows ‘somewhat busy’. Maybe that’s meant to scare you away and keep the club from actually getting busy.

The club itself has an outdoor deck, like the United Club and Star Alliance lounge there.

But there was something striking about the event. The audience was well-masked, per federal regulations. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Delta CEO Ed Bastian? Not so much.


Credit: Delta

This wasn’t a momentary lapse for a photo, either. Here the airport itself tweets out the Mayor’s maskless speech inside the airport, where masks are required per federal requirements. Here the Mayor comments on other peoples’ masks:

And here’s the CEO of the airport itself speaking without a mask, and it’s tweeted out by the airport.

You might think ‘but he’s speaking’ but that’s literally when he’s emitting the most respiratory aerosols.

I’m writing this with a mask on, on board a flight, where the captain announced that the mask mandate is still in effect and that everyone had best comply. Everyone, however, doesn’t include the CEO of Delta, the Mayor of Los Angeles, or the head of Los Angeles World Airports.

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. Everyone realized masks do nothing, and have no effect on anything.
    It’s not like humans stock exhaling when they have a mask on…

    Two years of dumbness.
    You expect it to end quickly?

  2. I remember the first day that masks became mandatory for domestic flights in Ghana, nearly two years ago. One of the trending images from that day on local social media was a tweeted selfie of myself (as the COO of the airline) and the Minister of Aviation (as the politician responsible for imposing the mask mandate) sitting in adjacent seats on a flight, almost unrecognizable due to our face masks. Our airport staff told me later that they used to show this tweet to reluctant passengers for weeks afterward to demonstrate that the rules applied to everyone and that it invariably helped boost compliance with the mandates.

    If leaders cannot lead by example, they are not leaders.

    PS. The above anecdote doesn’t reflect my current views on the mask mandate by any means, but rather is intended to reinforce the hypocrisy of the situation that you highlighted.

  3. My last flight 2 weeks ago, driver showed up 30 minutes early thus getting me to the airport well before the club opened, so I sat at the gate across from it people watching. Amazing number of AA staff walking thru the concourse sans masks. Board the plane & all the flight crew, including the pilot who is chatting up the FAs, are maskless until they see us coming down the jet bridge. This hypocrisy is, in my opinion, part of the reason there are so many mask ‘incidents’ on planes-pax aren’t stupid & recognize hypocrisy when they see it. If the gov’t can implement the mask mandate on a few hours notice, they can rescind it just as quickly & it is far past the time to do so.

  4. Paraphrasing Casablanca: I’m shocked, absolutely shocked that an airline CEO and a politician would be hypocritical (whether they’re liberal or conservative…Cancun anyone?)

  5. I’m a proud mask wearer who needs protection. I mask on the move in the vaccinated/boosted office, wear masks inside, etc. but I have removed my mask when speaking to people in person and on Zoom/Teams. Just because I do that doesn’t mean that masks are pointless. I’m very happy to have the protection of my own mask and others generally masking on planes.

  6. It is sad that Gary and the commentary focuses on a lack of masks when everyone knows that the vast majority of America knows that masks didn’t make a difference and people are ready to move on. It is the Biden Administration that is stuck clinging to a policy that other countries have pulled back because they know it doesn’t make sense.

    THE REAL STORY is the incredible transformation that Delta is making in its facilities at LAX and the fact that it very well may succeed at becoming at least a dollar for dollar competitor to American’s position in LAX and may very well in time pass American on a consistent basis as the largest airline at the highest value airport in the US for local market revenue.

    Delta’s facilities so far are vast improvements even as Delta gains a whole lot more space.

    THAT is the story and not masks. or the lack thereof.

  7. Either they don’t have a clue, or they damn well know “we’re elites, so rules don’t apply to me, you peons!”

  8. Mayor Garcetti didn’t wear a mask at the Super Bowl either. He’s a hypocrite and terrible mayor. Hopefully he’s getting shipped of to India soon.

  9. @iolaire mcfadden

    I am completely, 100%, with you. I wear a condom throughout most of the day, some say it’s an irrational fear of STDs, but they just don’t understand science the way we do. There’s no down side! It’s comfortable for me & it reduces my risk.

    Of course, I often prefer to remove the condom before having sex since it interferes with my ability to “communicate”.

  10. The woman on the left in pink is rocking some weird looking sandals(?), clogs(?) as she stands in the line of hypocrisy…..

  11. Ryan: as long as you are standing 6 feet away from the person you are having sex with!

  12. @JorgeGeorge I’ve certainly tried that once or twice. Not so easy in my later years.

    @Terry At the table, yes, of course. But anytime I get up, slip that puppy back on. We all know STDs can’t get you while sitting at the table.

  13. It wasn’t an active passenger terminal (it’s still not open to the public) so not currently covered under the FAA mandate. And LA has dropped its indoor masking rule. So … not sure what the issue is here, other than a desire to snark.

  14. When out of the view of the public, masks never were worn by celebrities, politicians, CEOs.

    When the mask mandates were implemented, my office switched over to flying GA (General Aviation) and charter flights. Out of ~150 flights in the past 2 years, I can count on one hand the number of times I was on a private flight with people wearing masks. No one ever asked us to do so.

    While flying this way, I met a lot of interesting people, including names probably familiar to many people..including some people who were pushing masks on TV. They certainly weren’t wearing them when I saw them. I also was invited to many gated communities during this time, with the same type of people. No masks anywhere, even in areas where there were government mandates. The country clubs were open for business like it was 2019. Even nearby stores weren’t requiring them.

    I’ve intentionally spent the past two years living in these 2019-style isolated bubbles and it was quite jarring to travel somewhere that wasn’t like that and see masked people, 6-foot stickers, plexiglass barriers, etc. It was like walking into a bad Sci-Fi film.

    FWIW, when the airlines do drop the mandates, I don’t know that we’re going back. Flying private is a whole other world. Yes, flying in a Piper Cherokee Six or Cirrus isn’t exactly luxurious, but the time (and cost!) savings are worth it. All-in, it’s about the same price or less as an airline ticket once you have more than person flying. For short-haul stuff it even can make sense as a solo traveler.

  15. Alex that is false. Which is why when not speaking masks were worn, and worn by others in the audience. These weren’t *airline offices* which are exempt from the mandate.

  16. Anyone realize that liberals are always fighting against something that may not exist

  17. As I type this, my dad is about to go onto a ventilator from catching Covid from a vaccinated, yet unmasked home health care worker. Yes, he’s older, but he’s quadruple vaxxed as is my mom who also has tested positive (as did another of their vaccinated aides and now her husband). To say masks don’t work or aren’t necessary is a lie you tell yourself because you’re tired of wearing one or have some delusion about you being the center of the universe. How about doing something for someone else?

  18. As I type this, my dad is about to go onto a ventilator from catching Covid from a vaccinated, yet unmasked home health care worker. Yes, he’s older, but he’s quadruple vaxxed as is my mom who also has tested positive (as did another of their vaccinated aides and now her husband). To say masks don’t work or aren’t necessary is a lie you tell yourself because you’re tired of wearing one or have some delusion about you being the center of the universe. How about doing something for someone else?

  19. @Joe – I’m terribly sorry to hear about your dad.

    I’m not sure, though, what makes you believe that a cloth mask would have prevented your father from catching the virus?

    And, mandate aside, you do not mention whether he chose to wear one? I know I plan to still wear masks in certain situations even when it is not required. And I never mind being asked to do so by others.

  20. I’m guessing because they obviously know the face diapers represent nothing more than theater. They were mandated in order to perpetuate fear and to make everyone believe that a dangerous virus was loose upon the world. In other words, a gigantic scam from the beginning. Unfortunately, there remains a core group of Covid cultists who still haven’t figured out the ruse.

  21. @TimDunn

    THE REAL STORY is also very disappointing.

    The ceilings were low before. They are still low — at both the security checkpoint and ticketing lobby.

    More was possible. See the T7 ticketing lobby or the renderings for the new AA east head house.

  22. The health care worker had stopped wearing a mask that day because the mask mandate had ended, and my dad did not have one on either (not sure why) which obviously could be a fatal mistake. If someone thinks that he would have gotten COVID just the same if they both were properly masked, then something is seriously messed up in your head. Does 900,000 dead Americans, mostly unvaxxed (with some exceptions) and unmasked, mean anything?? Or you still think it’s a hoax?

  23. “Does 900,000 dead Americans, mostly unvaxxed (with some exceptions) and unmasked, mean anything?”

    And here we have the leader of the Covid cultists. For gosh sakes, who honestly would believe those numbers?

  24. @James N
    The thing is who the hell would believe you? A spoiled narcisstic cockroach who has zero credibility. You can’t even get your numbers straight. Funny you never post about anything else but Covid. Wow, you must have several science degrees

  25. @james n said:
    “And here we have the leader of the Covid cultists. For gosh sakes, who honestly would believe those numbers?”

    Personal belief has nothing to do with facts.

    Absolutely: 900,000 dead is a stunning number, one that may be personally difficult to belive. So much easier to embrace denial.

    Unless you have lost someone close to covid, and have spent time watching them fail. And see the hospital staff exhausted and numb to the deaths that have overwhelmed them. Then it is very real.

    Yes. We have a momentary respite, but we choose to abandon protections instead of preparing for another wave.

    Time will tell how that plays out.

  26. It’s not “personal belief” that drives my position, it’s the fact that the evidence is clear that the numbers are greatly inflated. Anyone doing a modicum of research could determine the truth.

    The fact remains that we’ve been subjected to a blatant psyop program for the past two years and unfortunately, there are many still under the spell.

  27. Wow the fact free antivaxxers and anti mask a holes are still trolling the comment boards. Fortunately it’s just a small minority of utter morons still taking ivermectin. Many of them are dead.

  28. James N DOES RESEARCH!
    I wonder where? Joe Rogan?
    You be you James N!
    Sorry, couldn’t resist poking the tin foil hat guy in the eye.
    I wonder what insults are to come?

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