Oh, Come On. Mask Mandates Aren’t Needed But They’re Not Flight Attendants’ Fault

I don’t think the federal mask mandate is good policy. Airlines already required masks before it was put in place earlier this year, the masks allowed to satisfy the requirement provide little protection, and vaccinated travelers shouldn’t need to be masked (and those who have chosen not to get vaccinated I’m less worried about). Kids are at statistically lower risk than older Americans who have had a shot.

But there’s no reason to aim the ire at flight attendants who have been required by their employers, and now the federal government, to enforce these rules. And mask-wearing is not in any way ‘like what Nazis did.’

Tomi Lahren, apparently, feels differently and reaches the Godwin’s law ‘mask nazis’ stage of the pandemic.

Then again maybe this was a compliment? Two years ago another conservative commentator defended Nazis as just having gone a bit too far.

It is possible mask mandates could make sense in the future, though they do not make sense today. If vaccine effectiveness wanes against the virus but the government stands in the way of booster shots then we could face a real renewed threat. At that point good quality masks, properly worn, could make sense (cloth and paper masks still not so much).

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. If I was a flight attendant, I would push for permanent masks on board, permanent suspension of food service. Even permanent middle seat blocking so there are fewer passengers, fewer people to potentially stir trouble in the air. Why? It all makes my job easier. And let’s not forget the primary purpose of flying is transport, not dining or entertainment.

  2. I agree that the federal mask mandate is unnecessary. However, on a recent flight a person in my row kept sneezing with his mask down. He also asked FAs for extra napkins so he could keep blowing his nose.
    I welcome airlines and FAs enforcing mask mandates on planes.

  3. Perhaps you have not been on flights where the FAs are going over and above Federal requirements. I have been on several flights where the FAs say you must keep your mask on between bites of food or sips of water, which is not in the guidance. Then they come through the cabin specifically looking for ‘violators.’ I get it if the pax is obviously flaunting the rules, but when it gets to the point where even if slip of the mask while chewing your food gets you treated like a small child its gone too far. Perhaps Natzi is a little harsh, but some are clearly on a power trip. Kudos to the sensible FAs out there (the majority) that are handling the mask issue well.

  4. Cannot wait until Rand Paul pushes the end of the mask mandate through the Senate when it reconvenes. End this nonsense NOW. End these heavy handed, power tripping flight attendants NOW.

  5. I can recall a number of years ago when she went on the Daily Show. Some folks do alright there! Tomi… was not among them. She struggled to articulate anything at all, was nervous, but also incredibly defensive with no intellect to back it up. Truly, she’s more interested in a culture war and “owning the libs” than good policy or governance.

    There are folks with opinions worth considering on both sides of the aisle; she isn’t among them.

  6. @Greg, I did not see another article about John Kerry’s repeated mask violation. If the rules are same for everyone. He should be banned from flying commercial airlines for repeated violation.

    EPA orders Allied BioScience to stop selling and distributing SurfaceWise2, which American airlines was using since 2020

  7. Thinking of the generation divide, I would add that “Seinfeld” did a great disservice to society by introducing the “Soup Nazi” character. It absolutely normalized the term for the youngers, some of whom use it as a generic “rules enforcer” character description.

    This use of Nazi references generally occurs with millennials, in my experience.

  8. Unions got the rule established. Flight attendants are lazy Karens (there’s a reason they couldn’t find a decent husband to take care of them and then couldn’t get a decent job). The ladies just need to refill my bourbon glass and shut up!

  9. @Yoyo Ma, shame on you for co-opting a good name. Please cut off your penis.

  10. Meanwhile covid cases are up 165% in Los angeles over last week and covid cases across the country are increasing in over half the states. The UK which has a higher vaccination rate than the US and more restrictions is seeing their highest daily covid case counts since January and the UK often serves as a bellwether for the future of the US in terms of the pandemic. Vaccinated people are safe until the virus mutates and finds a way around the vaccine. We have seen constant mutations to this virus. I agree the mask mandate should require masks that actually provide protection, although the constant articles complaining about a mask mandate when extremely contagious variants continue to rapidly spread grows tiresome.

  11. @James, you think Rand Paul exists for any reason except to give other senators a chance to describe someone as worse to deal with than Ted Cruz. He’s referred to as the worst senator since reconstruction for a reason. He couldn’t get anything passed when his own party had a majority. He’s a chicane not a serous member of the government.

  12. Masks mandates aren’t needed? give me a break…..YES, They are! masks save lives:)

  13. I’m fine with mask mandates for everyone without a vaccine card. There needs to be consequences for stupidity and endangering the herd immunity and children.
    Tomi is just seeking ratings, which for her are more important than the consequences of her rantings.

  14. The only mask mandate should be for the President and that should be over his eyes.. After all, Biden should be forced to look like a masked thief after unleashing all this inflation and robbing the elderly, those on fixed incomes and low income minority folk..

  15. They are the fault of those who enforce them. Flight attendants have the ability to ignore enforcing stupid/foolish/excessive rules of twisted politicians and bureaucrats. It’s their choice to enforce them. It’s unenforceable without flight attendants complying. If one flight attendant says no, he or she may be reprimanded by a supervisor. If more and more flight attendants said no, nothing can be done.

    It’s the same concept of why cops are 100% responsible for all the laws they enforce. They leave their homes and decide to use guns to point at people because a politician or judge said so. It’s not the politicians or judges going to people’s homes or pulling people over by threats of violence. Cops do that. If cops said no, those laws would have no weight. Cops can just decide not to pull someone over for not wearing a seat belt, not stop someone because he thinks he or she has drugs, not arrest someone for speech in Europe, and not arrest Christians for going to church in the U.S. during Covid. Cops make the choice and they are 100% culpable. Jay walking, chewing gum while walking in some states/municipalities, adultery, sodomy, and etc. are all on the books all over the country as misdemeanors and felonies. Cops at one point decided to stop enforcing them. They can do the same with drug laws/speech laws/gun laws/ignore enforcing leftist court orders on forced integration. Flight attendants can be more lenient. They could ignore when people are eating without a mask. They can decide to ignore a 3 year old without a mask. They don’t and that’s why it is ok to call them out and have disgust for them.

  16. “Perhaps Nazi is a *bit* harsh but…” is the most Gary’s site commenter thing I’ve ever seen.

  17. @Tim j

    “Tomi is the dumbest thing on the planet”
    Calling Tomi dumb is an insult to all decent dumb things on the planet! =)

  18. @Jackson Waterson
    Of course, FA’s according to you are not supposed to do their job, just let people like yourself do anything they want on a plane.
    Naturally, you’re negative about everything. If it’s not FA’s, it’s cops or left wing liberals. Basically,
    you come across as the typical white unhinged racist flaunting your entitled self.
    New York, New York what a wonderful town. Jack, it’s time to move out of NYC and go to your European ancestors and spout your drivel! Just think how wonderful NYC would be without your
    mindless hate filled garbage around!

  19. @AlohaDaveKennedy
    Of course inflation has never occured during any President’s term in office. Only Sleepy Joe Biden.
    Since when did an orange loving “Chump Fool? care about low income minority folk?
    What recent family in the White House stole taxpayers money from those same low income minority folk? Actually I preface it to say the Orange Thief stole from all taxpayers, even you Davey!

  20. Frank what a ridiculous comment about Rand Paul. He is his own person and is not beholden to either party ! He is not a sheep like most politicians. The mask mandate is NO longer needed. Anyone who now wants to get vaccinated can. I got vaccinated in January. Why the hell should I or anyone else who is vaccinated have to wear a mask. It is NOT my responsibility to protect those who choose not to do so. Enough of this craziness. We are living in a nanny state and I am sick of it. The same holds true to having to get a Covid test when I return from overseas.

  21. Rog your foolishness has no bounds. This post has nothing to do with Trump! Believe it or not he is no longer the president. What is with your infatuation? If Biden is your hero why hasn’t he changed these policies in the name of good common sense.

  22. We would need Face Masks if the rest of you would get your Vaccination Shot.
    Come on Wake Up and get your Shot.

  23. I don’t believe even remotely that passengers should take having to wear mask out on flight attendants. Yet it is true the flight attendant unions are strong advocates even of making mask permanent and ending food and beverage service. I use to fly even when I could drive to my destination faster. I enjoyed an opportunity to relax or work, have a beverage and snack or even a meal. Now I find myself driving even if it takes twice as long as flying simply because it is not enjoyable to fly. I believe most business.travelers want more than basic transportation.
    Flight attendant unions should be aware there may not be a need for as many flight attendants if enough people resort to other transportation or continue Zoom meetings to avoid having to travel at all. The current surge in leisure travel is based on pent up desire to get out and live again plus really cheap fares booked earlier. As those fares disappear and people resume more normal life and travel routines the leisure market will drop off and then become static. Airlines and flight attendants need business travelers to return.

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